This week, England heads into a period of restrictions akin to those witnessed in the Spring, following the devolved administrations which have put in their own versions of more severe restrictions.
Many are calling this a second lockdown, however there are key differences from last time. Restrictions vary across the UK’s four nations, with Scotland at the time of writing maintaining a tiered approach and Wales and Northern Ireland in the midst of their ‘firebreak’ and ‘circuit break’.
Unlike last time, manufacturing is being encouraged to continue. This is welcome, as our members have worked hard to maintain activity in a covid-secure environment. However, this is clearly a distressing time for industry with business confidence low and a political environment fostering great uncertainty.
This wave of new restrictions is accompanied by business support schemes that are by now familiar:
- The furlough scheme has been extended to the end of March 2021 and it will operate under the form it took in August. The Government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500, with employers paying National Insurance and pension contributions for the hours the employee does not work. Flexible furloughing will be allowed.
- This means that the Job Support Scheme, which had been due to come in from this week has been postponed until the furlough scheme ends.
- Applications to the Government backed loan schemes, which include the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, will be extended to 31 January 2021.
- For the self-employed, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been extended to April 2021. Two taxable grants will be paid in two single instalments, covering three months’ worth of average monthly trading profits.
ADS has included all this information in our COVID-19 Hub, along with guidance on working safely and broader guidance on navigating the issues thrown up by the pandemic.
We are constantly feeding into Government the impact being felt by members and any feedback on the support available. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your experiences so we can pass these on. Equally, please let us know if you have any questions about the support available.