Govt. to pay up to 80% of workers’ wages
23rd March 2020
The Government has announced a series of measures aimed to protect the jobs of those who are unable to work due to the coronavirus.
A coronavirus job retention scheme will pay the wages of employees unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the next three months, all employers can obtain grants from HMRC to cover up to 80% of wages for retained workers, up to £2,500 a month.
The scheme can be backdated to 1 March 2020 and Chancellor Rishi Sunak could extend this beyond the initial three months.
Initial provisions were also announced by the Chancellor for the UK's five million self-employed workers.
The next 2019/20 payments on account deadline, due on 31 July, has been pushed back to 31 January 2021.
Sole traders who are claiming standard universal credit have seen the minimum income floor raised by £20 a week.
For businesses, a three-month VAT holiday means registered firms will not need to pay VAT until the end of June.
However, those bills will still need to be repaid in full by 31 January 2021, subject to further change.
The interest-free period for the coronavirus business interruption loan, which is available for firms with annual turnover of up to £45 million, has been extended to 12 months.
Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general at the Confederation of British Industry, said:
"This is a landmark package of measures for business, people and jobs.
"The Chancellor's offer of substantial payroll support, fast access to cash and tax deferral will support the livelihoods of millions."
The Treasury is expected to confirm many of the support measure already announced today, 23 March 2020.
Further measures could be announced in the coming days after images emerged of people ignoring advice on social distancing and enjoying the spring sunshine over the weekend.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson stopped short of saying the word ‘lockdown' in yesterday's dailying briefing, but the PM is prepared to do "whatever it takes".