What you need to know this week

Our round-up of the key business updates and insights for you

January 8, 2021

Welcome to our weekly wrap. This week we’ve rounded up the latest news and insights, including the recent lockdown grants announced by the Government, upcoming CJRS deadlines and considerations, plus a round up of UK-wide funding and business news.

Chancellor announces new £4.6bn support package for UK businesses

Chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier this week announced a new £4.6bn package in lockdown grants to support businesses and protect jobs as a result of the latest coronavirus restrictions.

The further support measures follow Monday’s lockdown announcement, and will see one-off top up grants be made available for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring.

The cash is provided on a per-property basis and is expected to benefit over 600,000 business properties, worth £4 billion in total across all nations of the UK.

The Chancellor said:

This will help businesses to get through the months ahead – and crucially it will help sustain jobs, so workers can be ready to return when they are able to reopen

The top-ups will be granted to closed businesses as follows:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

The grants come in addition to existing business support, including grants worth up to £3,000 for closed businesses, and up to £2,100 per month for impacted businesses once they reopen.

A further £594m is also being made available for Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations to support other businesses not eligible for the grants, that might be affected by the restrictions.

CJRS December claims deadline

You must submit any December furlough claims no later than Thursday, January 14.

If you can, it’s best to make a claim once you’re sure of the exact number of hours employees worked so you don’t have to amend the claim at a later date.

As a reminder, the UK Government will pay 80% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, until the end of April 2021.

CJRS grants and holiday leave

If employers have furloughed employees because of the effect of coronavirus on their business, they can claim under the CJRS for periods of paid leave their employees take while on furlough, including for bank holidays such as Christmas Day or Boxing Day.

Employers should not place employees on furlough just because they are going to be on leave.

If an employee is flexibly furloughed, any time taken as holiday can be counted as furloughed hours rather than working hours. This means you clients can claim 80% of employees’ usual wages for these hours.

If a furloughed employee takes holiday, their employer should top up their pay to their normal rate in line with the Working Time Regulations.

Can I include a Christmas bonus in my calculation for the grant?

You can claim for regular payments that you are contractually obliged to pay employees, including compulsory commission, fees and overtime. However, you cannot claim for discretionary commission, non-contractual bonuses (including tips) and non-cash payments.

SME lending in the first three quarters of 2020 more than double 2019 total

UK Finance data published yesterday reveals that gross lending to SMEs in the first three quarters of 2020 amounted to more than double the annual total for 2019, reaching £54bn.

The data, released as part of the quarterly Business Finance Review, shows that the UK banking and finance industry has delivered an unprecedented level of support to SMEs throughout 2020. The value of lending in the second and third quarters was £36 billion higher than during the same period of 2019 – driven by continued uptake of government-backed support.

Due to the fast moving nature of the current Covid-19 pandemic, we are endeavoring to cover as much of the critical news as possible. If you are self-employed or run a business and need assistance and advice on how the recent announcements could make a difference to you or your business, feel free to get in touch with the experts at Morgan Reach. Our business growth experts at Morgan Reach will guide you through what support is available for you or your business as well as the latest news that may affect you.