11 Mar 2021 10:52 AM

The latest, and hopefully last, lockdown is not due to be completely lifted until at least 21 June, so it was no surprise to see Covid-19 relief measures extended in the Budget on 3 March. The furlough scheme will now run until 30 September and there will be two more self-employed grants, plus various other measures.

Furlough (CJRS)

Furloughed employees can continue to receive 80% of their wages for hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, until 30 September. By continuing for a few months after restrictions end, the scheme will help businesses slowly recover from the disruption they have faced.

The current level of support will continue until 30 June. In July, the scheme will then only cover 70% of wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,187.50. This will reduce to 60% for August and September, with a cap of £1,875. Employers will need to pay national insurance contributions and pension contributions throughout.

Self-employed grants (SEISS)

There are to be two more grants; a fourth grant in late April, and a fifth grant in late July. However, extra conditions will apply for the fifth grant.

  • The fourth grant will again be worth 80% of three months’ average profits (now including results reported for 2019/20 but capped at £7,500.
  • The fifth grant will be similar if a business’ turnover has dropped by 30% or more. However, if less, the grant will only be worth 30% of average profits (capped at £2,850).

Other measures

A range of additional loans and grants were also extended to provide ongoing relief ahead of the gradual easing of lockdown measures:

  • VAT: The temporary reduced rate of 5% for businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors has been extended until 30 September 2021, with a rate of 12.5% then applying until 31 March 2022.
  • Recovery loan scheme: The government will guarantee 80% of loans between £25,000 and £10 million.
  • Restart grant: Hospitality and leisure businesses in England will receive a grant of up to £18,000 per premise; up to £6,000 for non-essential retail businesses.
  • Business rates relief: The 100% relief for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England will continue to 30 June 2021, followed by 66% relief until 31 March 2022.

Details of the levels of CJRS support can be found here or get in touch with us for further guidance.