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Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the Winter Economy Plan. Learn more about the updated support for businesses, employers and workers affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Understand what support is available for your business with our at-a-glance guide to the Winter Economy Plan.

What COVID financial help has been announced for businesses and employers?

The government have confirmed extensions and adaptations to some existing schemes. The government’s Winter Economy Plan also includes a new Job Support Scheme, as a follow-up post-furlough.

Measures to support coronavirus-stricken businesses and workers include the following reliefs and schemes.

6 month Jobs Support Scheme announced

The newly announced Jobs Support Scheme has been offered as a follow-up to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The new scheme was expected to become available starting from 1st November, but this has now been deferred, and the CJRS has been extended.

The JSS is still expected to follow-on from CJRS once it closes in early December 2020.

Under the Job Support Scheme, the government will subsidise pay for employees in small- and medium-sized businesses who are working less hours as a result of the virus.

The grant is split into two:

  • The Job Support Scheme (JSS) Open is for businesses who are not required to close, but who are experiencing less demand as a result of coronavirus.
  • Job Support Scheme (JSS) Closed is for businesses who are required to close because of legal coronavirus restrictions temporarily coming into force.

The rules vary slightly for each version of the scheme. Read our article which explains the Job Support Scheme for employers.

Employers will still be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus whilst using the Job Support Scheme.

Self-Employed Income Support Scheme updated

An updated version of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is also available on ‘similar terms to the Job Support Scheme’.

The scheme offers support to self-employed workers whose income has suffered as a result of the virus. The Winter Economy Plan extends the scheme until 30th April 2021.

Understanding the deferral of VAT payments

VAT registered businesses also receive support in the form of an extended deferral period to pay their VAT bill.

Under an earlier announcement, VAT payments due between 20th March 2020 and 30th June 2020 could be deferred. This originally gave businesses until the end of March 2021 to pay the VAT they had deferred.

As part of the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan, VAT can now be deferred using a 12 month interest-free payment plan. This gives VAT-registered businesses who deferred paying their VAT bill, until March 2022 to pay. It means that businesses can make smaller VAT payments over a longer period of time, without being charged interest.

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Income tax deferral

Self-employed tax payers who owe up to £30,000 in income tax have also been given more time to pay. The arrangement enables workers to pay their tax bill over a 12 month repayment plan, running until January 2022.

Temporary VAT reduction rates extended

An existing temporary reduction to the rate of VAT to 5% for businesses operating in the hospitality and tourism sectors have been extended until 31st March 2021. Eligible businesses won’t need to apply, and the extension will be applied automatically.

Learn more about the temporary reduction for some VAT-registered businesses.

‘Pay as you grow’ repayments for coronavirus bounce back loans

A change to the repayment terms for bounce back loans was included as part of the winter economy recovery package.

The ‘pay as you grow’ scheme gives businesses with a bounce back loan to extend the repayment period from 6 years to 10.

The application window for a bounce back loan has also been extended until 30th November.

Learn more about bounce back loans for businesses.

Government CBILS guarantee extended

The government guarantee on Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans has been extended to 10 years as part of the Winter Economy Plan.

To be eligible for CBILS:

  • The business must be based in the UK
  • Annual turnover can be no more than £45 million
  • Your business must meet the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria

Learn more about Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans

Visit our COVID-19 hub for details of support available for businesses, employers, and self-employed people. To talk to one of the team about our online accountancy services call 020 3355 4047, or request a call back.

About The Author

Elizabeth Hughes

A content writer specialising in business, finance, software, and beyond. I'm a wordsmith with a penchant for puns and making complex subjects accessible. Learn more about Elizabeth.

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