It’s certainly turning out to be a Christmas like no other. A new strain of the COVID-19 virus is spreading rapidly, particularly in London and the South East of England. Much of the country has been put under strict Tier 4 restrictions, meaning households in those areas won’t be allowed to mingle on Christmas Day. Flights to European countries have been grounded, while freight has been blocked from leaving our ports for France. Now, to cap it all, Sainsbury’s has just announced there’s likely to be a shortage of certain fresh vegetables unless transport routes are opened up again. Luckily there have also been a few positive developments for us to report in this Christmas Coronavirus update!
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Scheme) change
If you are an employer or employee, you need to know that the Furlough Scheme has been extended by a further month. It was due to come to an end on 31st March 2021. Now it will end on 30th April.
Throughout this period, Government will still meet 80% of furloughed employees’ salaries, although employers will still have to cover relevant National Insurance and pension costs. Flexible furlough is allowed. This means employees can be brought back part time at their employer’s expense, with government covering 80% of wages for the days they don’t work.
Business loan schemes extended
Access to Bounce Back Loans and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) was due to come to an end on 31st January 2021. This has now changed and you will be able to apply for either type of loan until 31st March 2021.
To recap, Bounce Back Loans allow SMEs to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The government guarantees 100% of the loan. There are no fees or interest for the first year. After then, interest is applied at 2.5%. Full details of the scheme are available here.
CBILS allows SMEs to access finance worth up to £5 million. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and fees for the first 12 months. 117 lenders are currently participating in the scheme and you can find out how to apply here.
The Chancellor will unveil his Budget on Wednesday 3rd March. It might be a good idea to make a note of the date as he is very likely to announce further COVID-19 support measures then. We will post a summary of the Budget measures on the same day.
Wishing you a Happy Christmas
We hope this Christmas Coronavirus Update is the last one we ever need to write. It’s been a tough year for everyone, but 2021 looks much more promising. Hopefully the approved vaccines will be rolled out quickly, be effective and allow us to regain some semblance of normality. We’d like to thank all THP clients for their custom over this year. We have been proud to help so many of you. We hope all of our clients and the readers of this blog have as happy a Christmas as possible and that 2021 will be so much better for us all.
About Jon Pryse-Jones
Since joining THP in 1978, Jon Pryse-Jones has been hands on with every area of the business. Now specialising in strategy, business planning, and marketing, Jon remains at the forefront of the growth and development at THP.
An ideas man, Jon enjoys getting the most out of all situations, “I act as a catalyst for creative people and encourage them to think outside the box,” he says, “and I’m not afraid of being confrontational. It often leads to a better result for THP and its clients.”
Jon’s appreciation for THP extends to his fellow team members and the board. “They really know how to run a successful business,” he says. He’s keen on IT and systems development as critical to success, and he continues to guide THP to be at the cutting edge and effective.