20th - Coronavirus updates

March 20, 2020

The Prime Minister announced that social venues (cafes, nightclubs, theatres and leisure centres) are due to close from tomorrow. Takeaways will still be allowed. The more effectively we follow the advice, the faster this closure will end. 

 

The Chancellor announced further financial support: 

 

Protecting people's jobs
The Government is setting up a new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Any employer will be eligible for the scheme and can contact HMRC for a grant for most of the wages of people who are not working, but are kept in payroll rather than being laid off. 

 

Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2500 a month. Employers can top up salaries further if they choose to. 

 

The scheme will cover wages backdated to 1st March and be open for initially 3 months. The scheme will be extended for longer if necessary and there is no limit on funding it. 

 

Supporting businesses

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme will now be interest free for 12 months, rather than 6 months. These loans will be available from Monday. Further measures to be announced next week for larger and medium-sized businesses. 

 

There will be further cash flow support through the tax system. The next quarter of VAT payments will be deferred until the end of the financial year. This means there will be £30 billion back in businesses to help pay bills and wages. 

 

We are asking businesses to do everything in their power to keep people on the payroll The Job Retention grants will be available from HMRC in the coming weeks.

 

Support for vulnerable households

Universal Credit standard allowance will be increased by £1000 per year and Working Tax Credits will increase by the same amount.

 

Self-employed

Anyone who is self-employed can access Universal Credit in full, with no incomes thresholds. 

Net self-assessment payments will be deferred to January 2021. 

 

You can sign up to Universal Credit here

 

Renters

Housing Benefit will be extended by £1 billion to help cover more of the rent payments during this period. 

 

This is the biggest intervention to protect jobs and wages ever in our history. We are asking businesses to look after their employees by accessing the full range of grants and loans as needed in order to keep people on the payroll and continue to pay them through downturns and closures. We are increasing benefits payments and deferring tax bills to keep money in everyone's pockets and picking up more of the tab for rent. 

 

More details about how to access all of this will be available in the coming days and I will share it on my Facebook page the minute I have it. 

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