The UK government has announced an extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ahead of lockdown restrictions coming into place in England this Thursday 5 November.
Members of parliament are set to vote on the new measures on Wednesday 4 November, which will apply nationally for four weeks up to Wednesday 2 December, and will require non-essential businesses to close.
Job Retention Scheme
During the month of November, the Job Retention Scheme will therefore remain open, with the UK government continuing to pay 80% of wages for the hours an employee does not work, up to a maximum of £2,500.
Eligible businesses will have flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work part-time or furlough them full-time, and will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions. Additional guidance on this will be set out shortly.
The Job Support Scheme, which was due to start on 1 November, will now be introduced after the CJRS ends.
Businesses required to close in England, due to local or national restrictions, will be also eligible for the following grants:
- For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month or £667 per two weeks
- For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k, grants to be £2,000 per month or £1,000 per two weeks
- For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over, grants to be £3,000 per month or £1,500 per two weeks.
Mortgage payment holidays
Mortgage payment holidays will also continue. Borrowers who have been impacted by the coronavirus and haven’t yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six-month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file. Further information on this will be announced shortly.
In Scotland, a new five-tiered system for coronavirus restrictions, ranging from lowest lockdown level of 0 to the highest of 4, was implemented on Monday 2 November. Each of the country’s 32 local authorities are currently graded between levels 1 and 3, with people under level 3 restrictions told to make only essential journeys outside their area.
In Wales, a national two-week ‘firebreaker’ lockdown was implemented from 23 October to hem stem the spread of coronavirus, with schools and non-essential businesses told to shut, and residents told to stay at home. The Welsh government will outline what restrictions will be in place when the lockdown ends on the 9 November.
In Northern Ireland, the current four-week lockdown restrictions are set to end on 13 November – retail shops remained opened, and people were urged to work from home where possible and not make unnecessary journeys.