3rd November 2020
1. EXTENSION OF THE FURLOUGH SCHEME
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) i.e. the original furlough scheme, and a suspension of the Job Retention Scheme which was to begin this month.
The extended CJRS will operate in a similar way as before with the level of the grant the same as that available under the CJRS in August. That means that the Government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 and employers will pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions only for the hours the employee does not work.
An eligible employee is one who is on PAYE payroll by 23:59 on 30th October 2020 and on any type of contract and working arrangements, and employers claiming for a grant for furlough hours will need to report and claim for a minimum period of 7 consecutive calendar days. Flexible furloughing will be allowed in addition to full-time furloughing.
The Job Support Scheme, which was scheduled to come in on Sunday 1st November, has been postponed until the furlough scheme ends.
Further guidance is expected to issue but in the meantime, some further information is available on the HM Treasury website https://www.gov.uk/government/news/furlough-scheme-extended-and-further-economic-support-announced
2. GRANT SCHEMES
The NI Executive have recently launched two different grant schemes to help businesses affected by the recent lockdown restrictions introduced across the region.
Localised Restrictions Support Scheme
This scheme is operated by the Department of Finance. To qualify, businesses must meet 3 eligibility criteria:
• The business must occupy a property within Northern Ireland
• The business must fall into at least one of the following categories:
– It operates as one of the following: cafe, restaurant, hotel, guesthouse, registered bed & breakfast or pub. This will be validated through various local government and other official information sources.
– It operates as a close contact services (as detailed in the Health Protection Regulations) and occupies commercial premises such as hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons, day spas, nail bars, tattoo parlours, sports and massage therapy, wellbeing and holistic therapies, tanning, dress fitting, tailoring and fashion design, electrolysis and body piercing.
– It operates as a campsite or caravan park for touring caravans, cinema, a museum, a gallery, a bingo hall, a funfair, an indoor amusement arcade, an indoor visitor attraction, a trampoline park, an inflatable park, an escape room, a bowling alley, or an ice rink.
– It is a business which has been required to close or severely limit operations at their premises under the Health Protection Regulations.
• The business must have been open to the public and trading at the start of the restriction period set by the Health Protection Regulations (unless the applicant business is a wet pub which serves drink only)
There are three levels of support available to businesses who fall into the eligible categories listed above and whose application is successful. The level of support that successful applicants will receive is based on the Total Net Annual Value (NAV) of the property from which the business operates:
• Lower rate: £800 for each week that the restrictions apply for:
– a business that is the sole occupant operating from a property with an NAV of £15,000 or less,
– a guesthouse or bed & breakfast with a capital value (which means it is valued as a domestic property for rates); or
– a business that is the occupier of a part of a property which is restricted with any NAV.
• Standard rate: £1,200 for each week that the restrictions apply for a business that is the sole occupant of a property with an NAV between £15,001 and £51,000.
• Higher rate: £1,600 for each week that restrictions apply for a business that is the sole occupant of a property with an NAV of £51,001 or more.
Guidance has been issued by the Department of Finance and can be found here https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/downloads/localised-restrictions-support-scheme-guidance.pdf
To make an application for this scheme , please follow this link https://www.nibusinesscovidfinancialsupport.finance-ni.gov.uk/
Covid Restrictions Business Support Scheme
This scheme is administered by Invest NI on behalf of the Department for the Economy and comes in 3 parts
• Part A – Businesses that are required to close or cease trading as result of the Health Protection Regulations and are not eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Scheme (LRSS) will be eligible for a flat grant payment of £600 per week.
• Part B – Businesses that are not required to close or cease trading as result of the Health Protection Regulations but are within the supply chain of those that are and are significantly impacted and do not pay business rates will now all receive a payment of £300 per week.