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Government support

During the Coronavirus pandemic, the UK government put in place various financial support packages for the UK but, we understand that sometimes these can be daunting and hard to navigate.

We have pulled together a summary of all the key support packages available in a bid to keep things simple and easy to digest.

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 until the end of October 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 employees wage will be subject to usual income tax and other deductions.

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

The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July but then introduce some changes from the start of August in a bid to get more employees back to work.  More details around these changes are expected to be released at the end of June.

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 £95.85 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.

£95.85 is the minimum amount available although you could be entitled to more if your company has a sick pay scheme (its worth checking out your contract!).

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 (you can also apply if you cannot work whilst you are self-isolating).

Each claim will be individually assessed, and the amount you receive will depend on what stage your application is at and other factors.

Further information can be found here.

Tenancies / Rental Payments

Renters in England and Wales will now have another 2 months respite as the government has announced the ban on evictions which was set to finish on 25 June has now been extended to 23 August. This applies to both social and privately rented accommodation.

If a landlord does want to evict a tenant in England or Wales, they will still need to give at least three months’ notice before commencing proceedings.

The Government have advised that they are working with the courts to construct a set of rules to ensure those who have been affected by coronavirus are protected once eviction proceedings do start.

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.

Further information can be found here.

Mortgage Payments

On 2 June, the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) confirmed the proposals to extend mortgage holidays.  The extension has 4 main areas;

  • Mortgage holders already on a payment holiday should be able to extend it for a further three months.
  • Mortgage holders who haven’t yet applied for a payment holiday can do so until 31 October
  • Mortgage holders will be able to take partial payment holidays (if you are able to make some payment not full)
  • Lenders will be unable to repossess properties until after 31 October 2020.
  •  If you are already on a holiday which is due to end soon, then your lender will contact you to discuss the next steps

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.

Further information can also be found here

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 announced that self-employed individuals are also be able to claim a grant covering 80% of their profits, up to £2,500 per month.

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

The first grant opened on 13 May, which covers March, April and May.  You can still apply for the first grant until 13 July.

This scheme has now been extended and eligible people will be able to claim a second (and final) grant in August and will be worth 70% of average monthly trading profits.

The eligibility criteria are the same for both grants, and you don’t need to have claimed the first grant to receive the second.

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

Further information can also be found here

VAT and Corporation Tax payments

All VAT and Corporation Tax payments are deferred for this quarter – between 20 March and 30 June. 

You will still need to submit your VAT returns but there is no need to apply.  The payments must be made by the end of the tax year in 2021.

HMRC advised that if you normally pay your tax bill by Direct Debit you should contact your bank to cancel your Direct Debt or cancel online at HMRC.

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.

Independent legal advice

If you need free impartial debt advice, here are the details of some organisations who could help:

StepChange

  • Tel: 0800 138 1111
  • Click here for the website

National Debtline

  • Tel: 0808 808 4000
  • Click here for the website

Citizens Advice

  • Tel: 03444 111 444
  • Click here for the website

Money Advice Service

  • Tel: 0800 138 7777
  • Click here for the website

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Talk to us

Alternatively you can give us a call or drop us an email. Waiting times may vary

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