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Government support

In these uncertain times the UK, government has put in place various financial support packages for the UK. The great news is that there is an unprecedented amount of support to match the unprecedented times we are in. But we appreciate that this can sometimes be hard to understand and navigate; it can be confusing and overwhelming.

We have pulled together all the key support packages to save you time and in a bid to keep things simple and easy to digest. So, get a cup of tea and find a quiet corner whilst we take you through some of the key options.

Options for Individuals

Job Retention Scheme / Furlough Leave

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (or Furlough Leave) is a temporary scheme open to all UK employees for at least three months starting from 1 March 2020. It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) and is open to every employee, providing you were on the companies PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020.

Individuals who commenced their employment after this date will NOT be eligible for the scheme, however employees who have been made redundant since 28th February 2020 can be included if a company rehires them, as the scheme can be backdated. The scheme covers employees who are on any type of contract, including zero-hours contracts. The employers wage will be subject to usual income tax and other deductions.

This scheme should be up and running for at least three months from 1st March 2020, hopefully starting by the end of April. You can access the scheme at any point during the three months.

Whilst on furlough leave, employees cannot undertake any type of work, although you can undertake volunteering work on the basis that it does not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of your organisation.

Employers will be able to use a portal to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ usual monthly wage cost, up to £2,500 a month.

Further information can be found here.

Statutory sick pay

If, for whatever reason, you are too ill to work then you are entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) which is £94.25 per week. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks. You’re also entitled to SSP if you’re self-isolating because of Covid-19, you should speak to your employer as soon as possible to make them aware.

£94.25 is the minimum amount available although your company may be able to offer you more if they have a sick pay or occupational scheme.

Further information can be found here.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

You can apply for an ESA if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.

Each claim will be individually assessed, and the amount you receive will depend on what stage your application is at and other factors including age and whether you’re able to get back into work.

Further information can be found here.

Tenancies / Rental Payments

The government has implemented emergency legislation protecting tenants from being evicted by their landlord for 3 months during the coronavirus period. This applies to both social and privately rented accommodation. We would always advise you to keep up with your rent payments where possible but if you do find that you are unable to pay your rent you should speak to your landlord as soon as you become aware.

Landlords are also being helped with a 3-month mortgage holiday with Buy to Let mortgages and it is important that you work together to find a solution.

Mortgage Payments

Mortgage customers can ask for a payment holiday for an initial period of three months, if they are experiencing payment difficulties as a result of coronavirus.

Lenders must ensure there is no additional fee or charge – other than additional interest – as a result of the payment holiday.

The payment holiday applies also to customers who are in arrears, and they should not be treated differently from people who are up to date with payments. The guidance sets out that the payment holiday should not have a negative impact on the customer’s credit score.

Local Government Support

Many councils are offering support to their constituents. To find out which council you live within and to find out more about the support in your area click here.

Advice for self-employed individuals

Cash grants

In line with the support packages available for individuals, the government has announced that self-employed individuals will also be able to claim a grant covering 80% of their profits, up to £2,500 per month. This will be available for the next 3 months, and it has been suggested may be extended further.

It is worth noting that these cash grants do come with certain provisions.

You must have:
• submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
• traded in the tax year 2019-20
• are trading when you apply, (or would be except for COVID-19)
• intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
• have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

HRMC will have contacted you if you are eligible for this scheme (by either letter, text or email) but if you think you are eligible but haven’t heard from them then you can complete the eligibility tool here.

The scheme is now open, with payments being received at the end of the month. Further information can be found here.

VAT and Corporation Tax payments

The government and HMRC are deferring all VAT and Corporation Tax payments for this quarter. You will still need to submit your VAT returns but as this is an automatic offer by the government, there is no need to apply. All businesses in the UK will have their VAT and income tax payments deferred between 20 March and 30 June 2020. The payments must be made by the end of the tax year in 2021.

HMRC advise that if you normally pay your tax bill by Direct Debit you should contact your bank to cancel your Direct Debit as soon as you can, or you can cancel online with HMRC if you’re registered for online banking.

Further information can be found here.

Please note cancelling a direct debit will only be suitable to some payments. Certain lenders, including Oodle, will require you to keep these in place (even if this is suspended for a period of time, such as during a payment holiday).

Self-assessment Tax

Anyone who operates under the self-assessment scheme will have all payments that are typically due by the 31st July 2020 deferred until 31 January 2021. This is an automatic offer by the government, and you do not need to apply. No penalties or interest on late payments will be charged during the deferral period.

Further information can be found here.

Small Business Grant Scheme

The government has provided a Small Business Grant Scheme to enable local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates through small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. Councils will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Further information can be found here.

Request financial support

If you’re concerned about your financial position we will need to ask you for information and details of how your circumstances have changed. In order for us to efficiently work thorough each case, we would ask that before you contact us you understand the Government support schemes available. These far reaching and unprecedented measures are designed to provide peace of mind for as many people as possible during these challenging times.

Request financial support

Please be aware we are experiencing very high call volumes related to COVID-19, we are working very hard to get back to you with an appropriate response. Alternatively you can use the Customer Portal to manage your loan.

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