National Lockdown - Furlough Scheme extension and other business support

Shaun Davison

Following the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s, statement on Saturday (31 October) it was announced that England is to enter a further National Lockdown from 5 November 2020, ending on 2 December 2020 at the earliest.

Under the lockdown, further restrictions will be imposed on businesses with non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues having to close their doors, along with pubs, bars and restaurants (except for takeaway services). 

With many businesses already enduring hardship this year, the Prime Minster was under no illusion about how difficult this will be for businesses and has therefore announced further financial support to help prevent job losses. This included the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), also known as the Furlough Scheme.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

It was announced that the CJRS, which was due to end on 31 October 2020, will remain open to all employers until April 2021, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. Employers can choose to top up salary if they wish to do so.

Employers will still be required to pay employer’s National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions for the hours the employee does not work, mirroring the grant available back in August.

For employee’s to be eligible under the scheme extension, they must be on an employer’s payroll on or before 30 October 2020 with the respective Real Time Information (RTI) submission being made by this date. This allows for new employees who have not previously been furloughed, to be kept on under the scheme.

The Job Support Scheme (JSS), which was due to come in on 1 November 2020, has been delayed indefinitely.

Further details on the scheme can be found here.

Business Grants

It was also confirmed that business premises that have been forced to close in England will receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month, based on their rateable value, under the Local Restrictions Support Grant.

The business grants available are as follows:

Rateable value


£15,000 or under

£1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks

£15,001 to £51,000

£2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks

Over £51,000

£3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks

Businesses who are not within the business rate system will not be eligible for the grant, however, the government has provided a further £1.1 billion to Local Authorities to enable them to support local businesses.

Mortgage Holidays

Mortgage payments holidays, that were due to end on 31 October, will also be extended for another six months.

Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not 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 details have since been announced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Self-Employment Support

On 2 November 2020, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced the grant available under the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), will be increased from 40% to 80% for November 2020 only bringing this in line with the support available under the Furlough Scheme.

This means that traders will be able to claim a grant of 55% (capped at £5,160) for the period 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021 if their business is eligible under the scheme.

Grant payments will also be fast tracked, with the claim window being brought forward from 14 December to 30 November, to ensure those who need support get it as soon as possible.

For further details on this scheme can be found here.

​Future Fund and other business support

More businesses will be able to access additional support as deadlines for applications for government-backed loan schemes and the Future Fund have been further extended until 31 January 2021.

Although the financial support will aid businesses who are forced to close, many have already spent a significant investment ensuring their premises are COVID secure with the aim of bouncing back in the run up to Christmas. But now many of these businesses face a tough winter ahead.

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