Back in April we reported on how we’d been working hard on behalf of our clients, claiming funds to help them keep operating throughout the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, we had helped to claim around £225,000 in Job Retention Scheme support. We are pleased to say that this has now escalated to over £765,000, all vital funds that made it possible for our clients to see their way through these challenging times.
Thanks to the Government support courtesy of the Job Retention Scheme, many of our clients have now been able to return to business as usual. And, with the flexibility introduced to the scheme earlier this month, others will be able to continue with part time furloughs that allow the choice to decide on hours and shift patterns to suit individual needs. Employers cover the wages for the time staff are in work, with the Job Retention Scheme covering the rest.
What’s more, today, 8th July 2020, the Chancellor announced further plans to support employers in the form of the Job Retention Bonus.
What is the Job Retention Bonus?
The Job Retention Bonus consists of a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers that have used the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until 31 January 2021. The bonus will provide additional support to retain employees.
To qualify, employees must:
- Earn at least £520 per month (above the Lower Earnings Limit) on average for November, December and January
- Have been furloughed by you and legitimately claimed for under the Job Retention Scheme
- Have been continuously employed by you up until at least 31 January 2021.
Employers are allowed to claim the bonus from February 2021 as soon as accurate RTI data has been received to 31 January.
More details on this scheme will be available by 31 July and full guidance will be published in the autumn. As soon as we have more information we will relay it to our clients.
VAT Reduction and Stamp Duty Holiday
The Chancellor also announced other measures today, including a VAT reduction and a Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday.
Starting from 15 July and running until 12 January 2021, there will be a reduction in VAT from 20% to 5% on any eat-in or hot takeaway food and drinks from restaurants, cafes and pubs, excluding alcohol. This VAT reduction also applies to all holiday accommodation in hotels, bed and breakfasts, campsites and caravan sites, together with attractions like cinemas, theme parks and zoos.
In addition, the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) threshold in England and Northern Ireland will increase on the purchase of a main home from £125,000 to £500,000, starting immediately and running till 31 March 2021.
Reminder of changes to the Job Retention Scheme
Just a reminder that as of 1 August, you will no longer be able to use a JRS grant to cover National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions for furloughed employees. August claims can however be submitted in advance from 20 July.
Also a note that HMRC is contacting selected employers to discuss their claims. The calls are aimed at checking that no mistakes have been made and to help ensure the correct amount is being claimed.
Live webinars on changes to the JRS are available to book online. Simply search ‘help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus’ on GOV.UK.
A warning about scams
HMRC is warning everyone to stay vigilant about scams which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Search ‘scams’ on GOV.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to email@example.com and texts to 60599.
Need assistance with Job Retention Scheme claims?
We’re here to help in all respects. Support for businesses during coronavirus continues. If you need advice on any aspect of financial assistance during this time, we welcome you to get in touch.