The last few months have been so confusing & unsettling and with so much news coming at us all the time, sometimes it can be hard to remember where we are. So for this month’s blog, we thought a summary of the current situation with regard to Coronavirus support schemes would be useful.

Job Retention Scheme (Furlough)

This is now up and running and as many as 8.4 million employees have had 80% of their salary (up to £2,500) paid by the government. Although the scheme will run until October, it is expected that some employees will be able to start returning to work as businesses reopen in the coming weeks and The Chancellor has indicated that, from August, he would like businesses to start paying more of their employees’ salaries and the scheme will soon close for new applications.

Self-employed Income Support Scheme

This is now open for the self-employed to claim 80% of their average monthly profits over the last 3 years and 2.3 million people have claimed so far. To be eligible, a tax return for 2018/9 has to have been submitted and the majority of income must have been derived from self-employed work. The grant is paid in a lump sum and although there has been some discussion about the scheme being extended, there is no firm information yet.

Business support

There are 3 key schemes currently in operation to support businesses of all sizes through the crisis.

Two grant schemes are administered by local authorities and are aimed at small to medium sized businesses. The Business Grant is for businesses that pay Business Rates and here in Cornwall, the Council has written to all businesses who are eligible and invited them to apply. The Small Business Support Grant is for businesses that haven’t already received support but still need help. This page on the Cornwall Council website has some useful information and link on these schemes.

Larger businesses can apply for a Large Business Interruption Loan through their bank or other approved lender. Very large businesses – those turning over more than £250 million -can apply for up to £200 million. Those turning over more than £45 million but less that £250 million can apply for up to £25 million. These are clearly huge sums, are loans rather than grants, and are a specialist support vehicle for large businesses and employers. More information on the loan scheme can be found here.

Getting back to normal

Whilst getting completely back to normal may take some time, if ever, there are signs that something like normal life might be returning. In England, we can now travel further for exercise and we can meet up with people outside our household in the open air. It is expected that there will be a further relaxation of these rules soon. Some schools will be reopening for some year groups from 1st June and that day will also see open air markets and car showrooms reopen. All other non-essential retailers can reopen from 15th June providing social distancing measures are in place.

All of this means people will be returning to work which will impact on the management of the businesses’ payroll scheme so if you are an employer who is planning to reopen, get in touch and we can help you through the process.

Sadly, it might be the case that not all businesses are able to reopen and not employees will have kept their jobs. We can also help businesses manage the redundancy process in the most efficient way possible to minimise the stress for all concerned.