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November 26, 2020
The regional tiers post-national lockdown have been announced – with Somerset (Mendip, Sedgemoor, South Somerset and Somerset West and Taunton) placed in Tier 2 and North Somerset in Tier 3.
Full details of the rules and restrictions which apply to each tier can be found here.
November 23, 2020
The Prime Minister confirmed the national lockdown would end on December 2 as planned and be replaced with “tougher” regional tiers, which will be announced on Thursday. Gyms, shops and personal care providers can also re-open, while the 10pm pub curfew has been replaced with last orders at 10pm and doors closed by 11pm. The Government’s full COVID-19 winter plan is available to read online here.
November 5, 2020
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed he will extend the furlough scheme until the end of March. The Government will review the policy in January. However, the Job Rentention Bonus will not now be paid in February. This is the £1,000 payment firms would have received for keeping employees on once furlough ended.
The announcement comes as the Bank of England said it was pumping an extra £150bn into the economy. The Bank warned the resurgence of COVID-19 would lead to a slower, bumpier recovery. Interest rates were also kept on hold at a record low of 0.1%.
October 31, 2020
The Prime Minister announced plans for a new four-week lockdown across England – MPs will vote on the proposals on Wednesday (November 4). If approved, the measures will be introduced at 00:01 GMT on Thursday, November 5, and remain in place until Wednesday, December 2.
After December 2, different regions will return to the tiers one to three, depending on the rates of infection.
Under the lockdown rules, people must work from home if they can, although workplaces will be asked to stay open if people cannot work from home – including construction and manufacturing.
Households will not be allowed to mix with others indoors, or in private gardens, although individuals can meet one person from outside their household in an outside public space.
Business which can remain open include:
Business which will have to close during the lockdown include:
Furlough payments under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended at 80% for the duration of England’s second lockdown. Workers will be paid at least 80% of their salary up to £2,500 a month, with employers being asked to pay National Insurance and pensions contributions for their staff during November.
The proposed new Job Support Scheme will now not be introduced until after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends.
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended to cover the new lockdown period. Two grants will be available, each for three-month periods, covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021. Funding will also increase from 40% to 80% of average trading profits in November. People will be able to apply from the end of November rather than the middle of December, with support provided faster. The max grant increases to £5,160.
In addition, business premises forced to close in England will receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant. An additional £1.1bn is being given to local authorities for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses locally.
Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:
Quick links to Government help and advice
October 22, 2020
The Chancellor has unveiled increased support for jobs and workers hit by COVID-19 restrictions for all businesses and the self-employed who can show their revenue has been adversely affected.
Under the revised scheme, employers will pay less and staff can work fewer hours before they qualify.
More information about the changes to the grants and schemes is available online here.
A Government factsheet about the updated Job Support Scheme can be found here.
October 12, 2020
New three tier system of local lockdowns announced by Prime Minister:
Currently, Liverpool faces a Tier Three lockdown, while places such as Manchester, Birmingham and Leicester face Tier Two restrictions. Somerset remains in Tier One.
October 9, 2020
The Government will expand the Job Support Scheme to support firms whose premises are legally required to close under local or national Coronavirus lockdowns. The Government will pay two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month from November 1. In addition, the Government is increasing the cash grants to businesses to support fixed costs. These grants will be linked to rateable values, with up to £3,000 per month payable every two weeks, compared to the up to £1,500 every three weeks which was available previously. Full story here.
September 24, 2020
A new Jobs Support Scheme will be launched to replace the furlough scheme when it ends on October 31. The Chancellor said the Government and firms would top up workers’ wages (up to a cap) covering up to two-thirds of their hours for the next six months. Employees will need to work for at least a third of their normal hours to qualify. So for someone on £2,000 a month working half their hours, they would receive £1,000 normal pay plus £333 extra from their employer and £333 from the Government.
The similar self-employed support scheme will also be extended by six months from November 1.
In addition, the Chancellor announced:
Full official Government guidance can be found online here.
September 22, 2020
A raft of new measures have been announced by the Government including:
The British Chambers of Commerce called for more support for businesses in the wake of the new restrictions. Read Director General Adam Marshall’s comments here.
On this page you will find links to key Government Coronavirus grants and loans, as well as the latest advice for businesses and employers.
We are working closely with the British Chambers of Commerce and other leading business organisations to ensure our members’ views and concerns are heard at the very highest levels.
We are also working with our members to run remote, online workshops to provide professional and expert advice for businesses on topics such as HR, furlough and financial support. Please see our Chamber events page for more information and our webinar section for the latest expert advice.
Our Chief Executive, Stephen Henagulph, is also holding a fortnightly webinar at 10am every other Wednesday to discuss the latest developments and support packages available to businesses across Somerset. To join the call, please email Alistair Tudor at firstname.lastname@example.org for dial-in details.
A downloadable COVID-19 Secure 2020 notice is now available for businesses to display once they have carried out the necessary risk assessments and their workplace is COVID-19 Secure. Download a copy here.
The Government has set out a package of temporary and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses. Full details can be found on the dedicated Government COVID-19 Business Support website by clicking here.
The package of measures to support businesses includes:
If you are not sure what financial support your business may qualify for, use the Government’s online business support finder by clicking here.
The BCC has a dedicated site with the latest COVID-19 advice for business. It can be found here.
Our members specialise in a wide range of industries and disciplines and many are offering free support and advice on a range of Coronavirus-related topics. More information can be found on our members’ Coronavirus news page by clicking here.