We keep this article to date with the latest updates on government support or issues that affect the self-employed as a result of the Coronavirus crisis.
For more detailed information on the support schemes available over the course of the COVID pandemic, please see our dedicated articles:
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
- Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
- COVID-19 Recovery Loan Scheme
COVID support webinar
Not sure what COVID-19 support is still available for small businesses and the self-employed? Fear not – Crunch’s Jake Smith and Michael Awuye explain it all in this jargon-free webinar. The PDF slides are available here.
HMRC advice about scams
With the wide range of support available from the government, HMRC is asking everyone to be vigilant about potential scams. HMRC is aware many scams can appear to be authentic.
If you’re unsure whether any contact you receive from HMRC is genuine, please go to the government’s website GOV.UK and search ‘scams’. You’ll find information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to firstname.lastname@example.org and texts to 60599.
Summary of government support available
You can use the government’s online coronavirus business support finder tool to find all the support available to your business. We’ve also produced the table below to summarise the support available.
3rd March 2021 extension of government support schemes
Furlough scheme extended to the end of September 2021
In advance of the budget, the Chancellor announced the extension of the furlough scheme (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or ‘CJRS’) until the end of September 2021. Workers will continue to receive 80% of their current salary for hours they don’t work because they’ve been furloughed.
The support will be provided by a grant to their employers. Employers will need to make a contribution of 10% of the worker’s salary for unworked hours in July, and a 20% contribution in August and September. The £2,500 monthly limit for the grant remains in place.
Check our CJRS article about claiming furlough relief for more information.
New measures to help the newly self-employed though the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and existing scheme extended to a fourth and fifth round
The scope of the SEISS grant has been extended and the fourth grant under the scheme will now be available to individuals who began self-employment in the 2019/20 tax year, as well as those who have previously claimed.
Individuals who continue to be eligible will be able to claim the fourth round of SEISS at 80% of average trading profits capped at £7,500 for three months. The fourth grant will be available in April. There will be a fifth grant to cover May, June, and July, likely to be available over the summer. If your turnover has fallen by 30% or more, you’ll receive the full 80% grant. If turnover has fallen by less than 30%, then the grant is reduced to 30%.
Check our article about claiming under the SEISS for more information.
To be eligible for the fourth grant, and for new entrants to the scheme, you must have filed a Self Assessment tax return for the 2019/20 tax year by midnight on 2nd March 2021. All other eligibility criteria will remain the same as the third grant. Further details will be published in due course.
Previous grants (applications for the third instalment closed on 29th January 2021) have involved a taxable grant worth 80% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.
27th January 2021 – Northern Irish Minister for the Economy announces Limited Company Director’s Support Scheme
A Limited Company Director’s Support Scheme (LCDSS) has been introduced to support company directors in Northern Ireland who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 . The scheme is not available anywhere else in the UK. The scheme opened on Thursday 21st January 2021 and will be closing on Thursday 18th February 2021 at 6pm, paying an initial one-off taxable grant of £3,500 to company directors in Northern Ireland that meet the eligibility criteria. If you hold more than one directorship, you can only make one application.
You will not be eligible for the LCDSSscheme if you are already eligible for the Northern Ireland Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme (NSESS). Full details on eligibility for the LCDSS scheme, including a link to apply, are available on the NIBusinessInfo website.
The LCDSS scheme is only open to limited company directors who are resident in Northern Ireland and the company/companies are based and operating from Northern Ireland.
5th January 2021 – New lockdown grants for many businesses announced
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced new lockdown grants for many businesses. The details are available on Gov.uk, Highlights are:
- Chancellor announces one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring
- £594 million discretionary fund also made available to support other impacted businesses
- comes in addition to £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for Local Authorities, Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month and extension of furlough scheme
This follows the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4th January 2021 that these businesses will be closed until at least February half-term in order to help control the virus, and, together with the wide range of existing support, provides them with certainty through the Spring period.
The cash is provided on a per-property basis to support businesses through the latest restrictions, and is expected to benefit over 600,000 business properties, worth £4 billion in total across all nations of the UK.
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