Winter Economy Plan
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made available billions of pounds worth of financial support to help keep people in work and better support those out of work. To assist individuals and businesses over winter, the Government has announced further support as part of the Winter Economy Plan.
To easily determine what financial support is available to you can use the Government’s new ‘support finder’ tool.
Support for workers:
Job Support Scheme
The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months.
The company will continue to pay its employee for time worked, but the cost of hours not worked will be split between the employer, the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), and the employee will keep their job.
The Government will pay a third of hours not worked up to a cap, with the employer also contributing a third. This will ensure employees earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages, where the Government contribution has not been capped.
Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.
See guidance for employees, employers and businesses. This includes advice on Statutory Sick Pay and those on zero hours contracts.
Support for the self-employed
The Government launched the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, to make sure people who work for themselves are getting the financial support they need. Through the scheme, the Government has paid self-employed people across the whole of the UK who have been adversely affected by coronavirus a taxable grants.
The scheme has been extended for individuals who are currently eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and are actively continuing to trade, but are facing reduced demand due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
To be eligible for the grant extension self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:
- currently be eligible for the the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
- declare that they are currently actively trading and intend to continue to trade
- declare that they are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus in the qualifying period (the qualifying period for the grant extension is between 1 November and the date of claim)
The extension will provide two grants and will last for six months, from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period.
The first grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January. HMRC will provide a taxable grant covering 20 per cent of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £1,875 in total.
HMRC are providing broadly the same level of support for the self-employed as is being provided for employees through the Job Support scheme.
The second grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February until the end of April. HMRC will review the level of the second grant and set this in due course. The grants are subject to Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions.
Support for businesses:
'Bounce Back' Business Loans
To provide further support to businesses, businesses can apply through a short, standardised online application for a new ‘Bounce Back Loan’ up to a maximum of £50,000, or 25% of turnover, with the government paying the interest for the first 12 months. The Government will support lenders by guaranteeing 100% of the loan.
The length of the loan is 6 years, but you can repay early without paying a fee. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.
See further information.
Local Restrictions Business Support Grant
This scheme is for businesses which are forced to close due to local lockdown measures in England. Businesses can receive grants up to £3,000 per month:
- For properties with an RV of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
- For properties with an RV of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2000 per month, or £1000 per two weeks; and
- For properties with an RV of £51k or over grants to be £3000 per month, or £1500 per two weeks.
Grants will be administered by Thurrock Council and eligible businesses will be contacted by their Local Authority to access this support.
Support for the unemployed:
No Government could protect every job in the wake of the financial challenges coronavirus presents us with. However, in order to minimise the hardship the Government has made benefits temporarily more generous.
If you have sadly lost your job you can:
- apply online for Universal Credit to get financial support.
You might also be able to:
- apply online for New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance
- apply for New Style Employment and Support Allowance, if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.
You might also be able to get New Style Employment and Support Allowance if one of the following applies to you or your child, now or some time in the past:
- you’re at high risk because you have an underlying health condition (shielding)
- you’re self-isolating because you have symptoms of coronavirus
- you’re self-isolating because you came into contact with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, or you were told to self-isolate by a test and trace service
Interviews and assessments will be done by telephone. You should not go to a Jobcentre Plus unless asked to do so for an exceptional purpose, for example to collect your Payment Exception Service vouchers.
If you do not have enough money to live on while you wait for your first Universal Credit payment you can ask for an advance payment.