Prime minister Boris Johnson announcing business furlough scheme extension

Hard choices: prime minister Boris Johnson announcing the national lockdown in England from Downing Street

The government has extended the furlough scheme for UK small business employees at 80 per cent of wages for days not worked.

The extended UK-wide furlough scheme will run until Wednesday, December 2 covering 80 per cent of the salary for hours not worked due to compulsory lockdown, up to a maximum of £2,500.

Businesses will only be asked to cover national insurance and employer pension contributions which, for the average claim, accounts for just 5 per cent of total employment costs.

Employees can either be furloughed full-time or on a part-time basis.

>See also: Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, business rates return in April

Business grants

Small businesses forced to shut during the month-long lockdown in England will also be able to claim grants worth up to £3,000 per month per premises per month.

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks
    For properties with a rateable value of between £15,000-£51,000 grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.

In addition, another £1.1bn is being distributed to local authorities for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses in need.

Full details about how the business furlough scheme has been extended can be found here.

Prime minister Boris Johnson made the surprise national lockdown in England announcement on Saturday evening, having had his hand forced by news of the imminent shutdown being leaked to the press.

And Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has already said the that the English national lockdown could be extended beyond December 2.

The government was forced to act having been presented with evidence from the Sage advisory group that the pandemic had breached the “reasonable worst-case scenario” accepted by the Cabinet Office. This assumed 85,000 deaths over the winter.

The England national lockdown will be a body blow to many small businesses repeatedly punched in the face by regional tier restrictions.

>See also: Nearly half a million self-employed face having universal credit cut

Which businesses will be forced to close?

All non-essential shops, hospitality and leisure businesses will be shut from Thursday, November 5.

  • Non-essential retail
  • Hairdressers, barbers, nail salons, tanning salons
  • Pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels
  • Cinemas, theatres and other entertainment venues
  • Gyms

Which businesses can stay open?

  • Garden centres
  • Hardware stores
  • Chemists
  • Film and television production shoots

Further reading

Government makes further changes to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme






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