Updated: Mar 4
Today’s Budget announcement
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced further government support to help businesses over the next few months as restrictions are gradually eased. This includes:
• Furlough extension: the furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September 2021 with employees continuing to receive 80% of their wages. Employers will have to contribute 10% in July and 20% in August and September as the scheme is phased out.
• The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been extended. The fourth grant will cover February to April, worth 80% of average trading profits up to £7,500. A fifth grant will be available from July covering the period May to September 2021. The amount allocated in the fifth grant will depend on the following criteria: if your turnover has fallen by more than 30% you will continue to receive the full 80%. However, if it is less than 30% your grant will be reduced to 30%. The scheme will be expanded to allow those who became self-employed in the 2019-2020 financial year to claim provided they filed a tax return by midnight last night.
• £5bn in government ‘Restart Grants’ from April 2021 with up to £18,000 for individual businesses in England including those in the personal care sector who will have to continue to work under restrictions. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive £794m in extra funding to distribute to businesses.
• Local authorities in England will get £425m to support businesses who are not eligible for restart grants.
• 100% business rate holiday in England until the end of June 2021 followed by discounts of up to two thirds for the rest of the year.
• Later this year, the contactless payment limit will rise from £45 to £100 to help support high street spending.
• Incentive payments for businesses in England that take on apprentices will double to £3,000 and an additional £126 million will be provided for traineeships in England.
• Small and medium-sized employers in the UK will continue to be able to reclaim up to two weeks of eligible Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) costs per employee from the government.
• Recovery loans of between £25,000 and £10m will be available with a government guarantee to lenders of 80%.
• For two years, businesses will be able to reduce their tax bill by 25p for every pound they invest in new equipment under a ‘super-deduction’ scheme’.
• UK-wide ‘Help to Grow’ scheme to help small and medium-sized businesses across the UK learn new skills, reach new customers and boost profits. This includes a 12-week management programme and free technology advice plus discounted software. Register now at gov.uk/helptogrow
• In April 2023, limited companies with profits of over £50,000 will see an increase in corporation tax. The increase will be tapered from 19% up to 25% for those earning over £250,000 profit.
Lockdown dates across the four nations
• England: The government published a ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown on 22 February 2021.
‘Personal care premises’ including hairdressers, salons and close contact services will be allowed to open in step two of the roadmap. Step two will begin at least five weeks after 8 March 2021 (when step one begins) and no earlier than 12 April 2021.
Saunas and steam rooms cannot open until step 3 of the roadmap which is due to start no earlier than 17 May, and at least five weeks after step 2. Find out more on the government website.Download a pdf of the full roadmap.
• Wales: Wales is currently under lockdown. The measures are reviewed every three weeks. On 19 February 2021, the Welsh government announced that the reopening of close contact services would be considered at the next three-week review. Find out more on the Welsh Government website.
• Scotland: Mainland Scotland is currently under lockdown until at least the beginning of March.* Find out more on the Scottish Government website.
• Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland is under lockdown. The current regulations are now in place until 1 April 2021 but will be reviewed on 16 March 2021. Find out more on the Northern Ireland Executive website.
*The only exceptions to the lockdown in Scotland are:
• The following islands within Argyll and Bute: Coll, Colonsay, Erraid, Gometra, Iona, Islay, Jura, Mull, Oronsay, Tiree, and Ulva.
• All islands in Highland, with the exception of Skye.
In these areas:
• Salons and barbershops can open.
• Mobile hairdressing and barbering can operate.
• Close contact services delivered from a salon, shop or other static site such as a home treatment room can operate.
• All other types of mobile close contact services including beauty are not permitted.