Latest information on COVID-19

Previous COVID-19 Announcements - Financial Support
Previous COVID-19 Announcements - Financial Support

Previous COVID-19 Announcements - Financial Support

  • Self-Assessment customers are being warned about scammers posing as HMRC - criminals take advantage of the Self-Assessment deadline to panic customers into sharing their personal or financial details and even paying bogus ‘tax due’. The annual tax return deadline is on 31 January 2021. (18 November)
  • The Secretary of State for BEIS, Alok Sharma, confirmed that the Government will be distributing £2.2 billion to local authorities in England today, to allow them to make grant payments to businesses which have been affected. (13 November)
  • Following on from Alok Sharma’s announcement, Durham County Council has updated its COVID-19 Support Grants page with available grants and how businesses apply. There are three grants areas and if businesses are eligible for more than one grant, they need only complete one application:
  • Details around the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) have been updated. (11 November)
  • The appeal in the Supreme Court regarding the Business Interruption insurance test case presented by the Financial Conduct Authority will be heard from Monday 16 November and is expected to last for 4 days. You can sign up to receive email updates on the test case. (11 November)
  • New options are available to the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. Businesses in the UK can now top up existing loans, extend the loan period, make interest-only repayments or pause repayments. Read guidance on applying for a bounce back loan. (11 November)
  • The Chancellor has announced additional financial support for businesses and individuals with the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of March 2021, and an increase to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. (5 November)
  • New guidance is available for local authorities on paying grants to support business during the November to December 2020 national lockdown and periods of local restrictions. (5 November)
  • The guidance for people who were employed and have lost their job due to coronavirus has been updated to clarify eligibility conditions for universal credit and new style jobseeker’s allowance, and to add pension credit as a benefit that can be claimed if you’ve lost your job. (4 November)
  • The government is increasing its support to the self-employed over the coming months and ensuring people get paid faster than previously planned. (3 November)
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will be extended through November. Workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary up to £2500 a month. The flexibility of the CJRS will be retained to allow employees to continue to work where they can. Employers small or large, charitable or non-profit are eligible and because more businesses will need to close, they will now be asked to pay just National Insurance and Pensions contributions for their staff during November. (2 November)
  • The Job Support Scheme will not be introduced until after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends. (2 November)
  • If you are ill or have a health condition or disability that limits your ability to work you may be able to get New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). You can also apply for New Style ESA if you cannot work while you are self-isolating because of coronavirus (COVID-19). The New Style ESA is a fortnightly payment that can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit (UC). New Style ESA is a contributory benefit. Normally, this means you may be able to get it if you’ve paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions in the 2 full tax years before the year you’re claiming in. (2 November)
  • Job Support Scheme - The employer contribution to employees’ wages for hours not worked is being reduced from a third to 5%, and the minimum hours required for employees to be working from 33% to 20%, so that those working one day a week will be eligible. That means that if someone was being paid £587 for their unworked hours, the Government would be contributing £543 and their employer only £44. This change will come into effect on 1 November. The Job Support Scheme for businesses legally required to close remains unchanged. (23 October)
  • Job Retention Bonus - Employers will continue to receive the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus. (23 October)
  • Self-Employed Grant - The amount of profits covered by the two forthcoming self-employed grants will increase from 20% to 40%, meaning the maximum grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750. (23 October)
  • Business Grants - Additional funding has also been announced to support cash grants of up to £2,100 per month primarily for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector who may be adversely impacted by the restrictions in Local Alert Level High-Alert level areas (Tier 2). These grants will be available retrospectively for areas who have already been subject to restrictions, and come on top of higher levels of additional business support for Local Authorities moving into Local Alert Level ‘Very High (Tier 3).  (23 October)
  • The government has today announced it will be increasing support through the existing business grant and income support schemes, ensuring livelihoods and jobs across the UK continue to be protected in the difficult months ahead.  (22 October)
  • Check what you need to do after 31 July 2020 if you chose to defer your Self-Assessment second payment on account for the 2019 to 2020 tax year. (14 October)
  • The Chancellor has laid out the next stage of the Winter Economy Plan: Expanding the Job Support Scheme for businesses and jobs that may be legally required to close over the coming weeks and months. Key points:
    • Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses across the UK required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions
    • government will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries to protect jobs over the coming months
    • cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdowns also increased to up to £3,000 per month (9 October)
  • Updated guidance has been published on how different circumstances affect the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, particularly information about how to ask HMRC to verify you had a child which affected your eligibility for the scheme. (6 October)
  • The step by step guide for the Job Retention Scheme has been updated with changes that came into force from 1 October. You can also calculate how much you have to pay your furloughed employees for hours on furlough, how much you can claim for employer NICs and pension contributions and how much you can claim back – 30 November 2020 is the last day you can submit claims for the periods ending on or before 31 October 2020. (5 October)
  • Further information has been published today on how businesses claim the government’s Job Retention Bonus. You can also find out if you’re eligible to claim the Job Retention Bonus and what you need to do to claim – you will be able to claim between 15  February 2021 and 31 March 2021. (5 October)
  • New proposals have been outlined by government to ensure small businesses in the UK are paid on time. Currently £23.4 billion worth of late invoices are owed to small firms across Britain, impacting on businesses’ cash flow and ultimate survival. (2 October)
  • The YouTube video for Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has be updated with information on how to claim the second grant. (1 October)
  • Updated information has been issued about the option to pay smaller VAT payments – businesses who deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June, have the option to pay in smaller payments over a longer period. Instead of paying the full amount by end of March 2021, business can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022 interest free. (28 September)
  • The Local Restrictions Support Grant supports businesses that have been required to close due to temporary COVID-19 local lockdown restrictions imposed by government. Check to see if you’re eligible for this support grant. (25 September)
  • Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, today unveiled the government’s Winter Economy Plan to protect jobs and support businesses including Job Support Scheme, extension to the repayment period for loans and an extension of the VAT cut for hospitality and tourism businesses. (24 September)
  • From 26 August 2020 employers can claim Statutory Sick Pay for employees who have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery. (17 September)
  • The Government has announced that it will extend the moratorium on forfeitures until 31 December 2020. This means that landlords of commercial properties will not be able to evict tenants for not paying the rent that was due. The moratorium was previously extended from 30 June until 30 September as it was clear at the time that the protective measures were required for businesses struggling to pay rent. The Government is also extending the Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery provisions, to ensure that these measures extend until 31 December 2020, in line with the moratorium’s new expiry date. (17 September)
  • Ruling on a test case presented by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the High Court has ruled that business interruption policies with pandemic or notifiable disease clauses should be read as to cover COVID-19, and that claims should be met “in most cases.” The test case has clarified that the COVID-19 pandemic and the government and public response are considered a single cause of the covered loss, which is a key requirement for claims to be paid. The ruling also notes that each policy needs to be considered against the detailed judgment to work out what it means for that policy. (16 September)
  • The SME Restart and Recovery Package delivered by The North East Growth Hub will be open for Expressions of Interest from 10:30 on Tuesday 15 September. Businesses are encouraged to read the eligibility criteria before applying. (9 September)
  • The North East Growth Hub will be accepting Expressions of Interest for the second round of the Kick-starting Tourism Package from 10:30am Wednesday 9 September and for the SME Restart and Recovery Grants from 10:30am Tuesday 15 September. Business are encouraged to read the eligibility criteria before applying and to submit your application early on the relevant dates. (4 September)
  • The video for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – Universal Credit and Child Benefit has been updated. (3 September)
  • The £2bn Kickstart scheme launches today. You can use the Kickstart Scheme to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. Employers will receive funding for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions. (2 September)
  • The Eat Out to Help Scheme has now ended. You can claim money back on discounts using the claims service up to 30th September when the service will close. (1 September)
  • Changes to Coronavirus Job Retention take effect from 1st September - the government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% (up to £2500). The caps are proportional to the hours worked. (1 September)
  • The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued a statement that a consumer will generally be entitled to a refund when they have paid money in advance for services or goods that cannot be delivered due to the coronavirus pandemic. (1 September)
  • Round 2 of the Culture Recovery Fund Grants administered by Arts Council England opens today at 4pm and closes at 12pm Friday 4th September. You can apply for this fund if you are a cultural organisation (both profit and not for profit) based in England who is at imminent risk of failure. (28 August)
  • The Culture Recovery Fund Repayable Finance also administered by Arts Council England, is now open to commercial and charitable organisations in cultural, heritage and museums sectors and closes at 12pm Wednesday 9th September. (28 August)
  • Updated guidance has been published for claiming wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, in particular that employers using the template for 100 or more employees that their claim may be rejected if the information provided in not given in the right format. (25 August)
  • Coronavirus (COVID 19) support is available to employers and the self-employed, including sole traders and limited company directors. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants, whether your business is open or closed. Use this Business Support Finder to see what support is available for you and your business. (19 August)
  • Millions of self-employed people whose livelihoods have been affected by coronavirus will be able to claim a second payment of up to £6,570 from today – as the government continues to help drive the UK’s recovery. Check if you can make a grant through the self-employment scheme. If you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) find out if you can use this scheme to claim a grant (17 August). 
  • Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job retention Scheme Use the updated information to calculate how much you have to pay your furloughed employees for hours on furlough, how much you can claim for employer NICs and pension contributions and how much you can claim back (14 August).
  • Due to overwhelming demand, Expressions of Interest for the first phase of the Kick-starting Tourism Package and SME restart and recovery grants have now closed. Applications will now be put on hold, with the second round of Expressions of Interest opening in early September. In the meantime, please follow the North East Growth Hub on Twitter/Facebook /LinkedIn for further updates (10 August). 
  • The Government recently announced the Kick Starting Tourism and SME Restart and Recovery – Wider Economy Business Grants packages. Applications will initially be through ‘expressions of interest’ via the North East Grow Hub from week commencing 10 August 2020, next week. (6 August)
  • Updated guidance has been issued to support those who are self-employed around how different circumstances affect the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. The scheme has been extended for businesses to make a claim for a second and final grant from 17 August 2020. (3 August)
  • Updated guidance has been issued for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, principally around eligibility information on hospitality and golf packages, and hotel and restaurant services. Business participating in the scheme can start to claim back reimbursements for 7 August.
  • From 1st August, the level of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant will be reduced each month. In August, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 and employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions, both for the hours the employee is on furlough. (31 July)
  • Thousands of smaller businesses in England are set to benefit from £20 million of new government funding to help them recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government has today announced. Small and medium sized businesses will have access to grants of between £1,000 - £5,000 to help them access new technology and other equipment as well as professional, legal, financial or other advice to help them get back on track. The support will be fully funded by the government from the England European Regional Development Fund and distributed through Local Growth Hubs. (30 July)
  • More small businesses can benefit from loans under Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Previously businesses which were classed as ‘undertakings in difficulty’ were unable to access CBILS because of EU rules. From today, businesses in this category and which have fewer than 50 employees and a turnover of less than £9 million can apply to CBILS. (30 July)
  • The Culture Secretary has announced that applications will open soon for £880 million in grants as part of the government’s £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund.
  • The Arts Council is managing £500m of the £880m in grants announced as part of the government’s £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund. Applicants can apply for grants of £50k to £3m from Monday 10th August to Friday 4th September. Information is now available via the Arts Council website and includes news about the £270m Culture Recovery Fund Repayable Finance loans and the £2.25m emergency fund for grassroots music venues.  (29 July)
  • The government has issued further guidance on making the most of the Eat Out to Help Scheme, with specific examples of how to calculate the total amount of discount during the claim period. (28 July)
  • If you need to find out more about the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, HMRC has produced a YouTube video to help you understand how the scheme works for your business and customers. (24 July)
  • Arts Council England (ACE) has launched their new Arts Council National Lottery: Project Grants open-access programme offering grants of between £1,000 – £100,000 for arts, museums and libraries projects. (23 July)
  • If you have any detailed questions about the reduced rate of VAT you can telephone HMRC on 0300 200 3700 or email VATtourismandhospitality@hmrc.gov.uk (21 July)
  • Because of coronavirus (COVID-19) the VAT Flat Rate Scheme has been temporarily amended. The flat rate has been reduced between 15th July to 12Th January 2021 for catering (including restaurants and takeaways) from 12.5% to 4.5%; accommodation from 10.5% to 0%; and pubs from 6.5% to 1%. (15 July)
  • The VAT cut on most tourism and hospitality-related activities from 20% to 5% comes into effect today and ends 12th January 2021. (14 July)
  • From today, you can register for the Eat Out to Help Scheme to offer discount to diners and encourage them to eat at your establishment. The scheme allows you to offer a 50% discount up to a maximum of £10 per person for food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in. You can use the scheme all day every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday from 3 August to 31 August 2020. There is no limit to the number of times customers can use the offer during the period of the scheme. Registration closes on 31 August. Download the promotional materials. (13 July)
  • The government has announced a temporary reduction in VAT from 20% to 5% on certain supplies relating to hospitality, hotel and holiday accommodation and admissions to certain attractions. The temporary reduced rate will apply to supplies that are made between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021. (10 July)
  • You can use the Eat Out to Help Scheme to offer discount to diners and encourage them to eat at your restaurant. You can register for the scheme from 13th July 2020. (10 July)
  • In his summer economic statement, the Chancellor set out a Plan for Jobs to continue the UK’s recovery from the coronavirus outbreak. Four key points were announced to help tourism:
    • The rate of VAT applied on most tourism and hospitality-related activities will be cut from 20% to 5%
    • To encourage people to safely return to eating out at restaurants the Government has set up a new 'Eat Out to Help Out' discount scheme. It will provide a 50% reduction for sit-down meals in cafes, restaurants and pubs across the UK from Monday to Wednesday every week throughout August 2020.
    • A bonus scheme worth up to £9 billion for firms has been announced to re-employ furloughed workers. An employer who brings someone back off furlough, and keeps them in a job until January, will get a £1,000 bonus. To get the bonus, firms must pay at least £520 each month.
    • A new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme will also be launched to create fully subsidised jobs. Businesses will be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment already provided for new 16-18 year old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan. (8 July)
  • Updated video YouTube Video about ‘Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Flexible Furloughing’ has been published. (8 July)
  • The government has announced a £1.57 billion support package of emergency grants and loans for museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, music venues and heritage sites to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. (5 July)
  • Government announces £10m for small businesses to kickstart tourism. The package will give small businesses in tourist destinations grants of up to £5,000 to help them adapt their businesses following the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses can use the funding to pay for specialist professional advice such as human resources, legal or financial expertise, to adopt new technology and online systems or to purchase new equipment. 100% of the money will come from government with no obligation for businesses to contribute financially. (3 July)
  • The VAT payments deferral scheme ended on 30 June 2020 as previously set out. If you’re a UK VAT-registered business that deferred VAT payments between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, you now need to: set-up cancelled Direct Debits in enough time for HMRC to take payment; continue to submit VAT returns as normal, and on time; pay the VAT in full on payments due after 30 June. Any VAT payments you have deferred between 20 March and 30 June should be paid in full on or before 31 March 2021. (1 July)
  • The flexible furlough scheme started on 1st July. Businesses now have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work part-time. (1 July)
  • A new YouTube video has been added about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, including flexible furloughing. (30 June)
  • A new £200 million package to help innovative businesses bounce back has been launched. The Sustainable Innovation Fund will help companies recovering from the impact of coronavirus keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive. Businesses can apply for support through the fund from today, Monday 29 June. (27 June)
  • A new template is available for download for employers who will be claiming for 100 or more employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The new form is for claims on or after 1 July. (21 June)
  • Updated guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme including details on how the scheme will change from 1st July. (12 June)
  • HMRC are running webinars on Thursday 18th and Friday 19th June on the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. (12 June)
  • Updated guidance on extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. (12 June)
  • Updated guidance on activities that can be supported through the Reopening High Streets safely Fund, how it will be administered, and key European Regional Development Fund contractual requirements. (12 June)
  • TODAY is the final day an employer can furlough an employee for the first time through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. (9 June)
  • FAQ page has been added to guidance to help local authorities and partners deliver activities supported through the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund. (8 June)
  • Government to provide guarantees of up to £10 billion to Trade Credit Insurance schemes for business-to-business transactions. (4 July)
  • HMRC has produced updated information on how to treat certain expenses and benefits provided to employees during coronavirus.under Training/Events (3 June)
  • The Local Authority Discretionary Fund is now open for applications and gives financial support to specific types of small businesses who were not eligible to apply for funding from the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Fund. (2 June)
  • The Chancellor announced that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be extended, with eligible individuals able to claim a second and final grant in August – the grant will be worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits capped at £6,570 in total. Further guidance on the second grant will be published later this month. The first SEISS grant will close to new applications on 13 July. (29 May)
  • The Chancellor further announced changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back part-time – this is a month earlier than previously announced. From August 2020, the level of the grant will be slowly tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work. The scheme will close to new entrants on 30 June, with the last three-week furloughs before that point commencing on 10 June for new entrants. (29 May)
  • Small businesses and employers across the UK who have paid statutory sick pay to staff taking coronavirus-related leave will be able to claim back the money from today under the Coronavirus Sick Pay Scheme.(26 May)
  • Changes have been made to guidance for local authorities on the Local Authority Discretionary Fund – businesses who are eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme are now eligible to apply for this grant. (24 May)
  • The government has announced a new £50 million fund for councils to prepare for the safe reopening of high streets and other retail spaces. (24 May)
  • A new page has been published pointing businesses to the main links for making a claim to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. (15 May)
  • The Government will temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance, ensuring the majority of insurance coverage will be maintained across the market. (13 May)
  • Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is now open for applications. Check if you are eligible and find out how to make a claim. (13 May)
  • The government’s £500 million Future Fund opens for applications today. UK-based companies can now apply for a convertible loan of between £125,000 and £5 million, to support continued growth and innovation in sectors such including technology and the creative industries. (May 21)
  • An additional £20million has been committed to the Fast Start Competition for innovative businesses and start-ups driving forward new technological advances. (May 21)
  • Update on temporary changes to the VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 (7 May)
  • HMRC will begin contacting customers who may be eligible for the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). The claims service will open on 13 May (4 May)
  • A new top-up to local business grant funds scheme has been announced to help small businesses including bed and breakfasts (2 May)