With the number of businesses in England facing closure due to Tier 3 restrictions, what financial help is out there to keep them afloat while the doors are shut?
Greater Manchester is in a stalemate with the UK Government about going into the highest level of lockdown, while Liverpool and Lancashire are already facing the toughest restrictions in England.
Tier 3 means pubs and bars must close, with other venues likes gyms and restaurants kept open in some areas and closed in others.
What support is available?
There is some regional variation between Tier 3 areas, with different support packages agreed for Liverpool City Region and Lancashire.
But broadly speaking, there are two schemes that apply everywhere:
The Job Support Scheme
This is the successor to the Job Retention Scheme, which comes to an end on October 31.
Since the new scheme was announced last month, the Job Support Scheme has been expanded to support businesses whose premises are legally required to close as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions.
This means that businesses forced to shut under ‘very high’ tier 3 restrictions can apply for financial support to cover staff wages.
The expanded scheme will pay two thirds (67%) of each employees’ salary, up to £2,100 a month from 1st November 2020. Employers will not be required to contribute towards wages but will be asked to cover National Insurance and pension contributions.
For businesses still open but affected by Covid-19 downturn
The Job Support Scheme will cover a portion of usual monthly wage costs for staff that are still able to work some hours.
From 1st November 2020, the government will cover the cost of a third of the hours not worked by an employee, with the employer also contributing a third. Employees must work a minimum of 33% of their usual hours with employers covering the contracted wages for hours worked. This will ensure that staff earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages.
The scheme will open on 1st November 2020 and run until April 2021. The minimum hour’s threshold of 33% will be reviewed after three months.
The Local Restrictions Support Grant
Helps businesses that have been required to close due to the government’s local lockdown restrictions or if the business remains closed under national restrictions, like nightclubs.
The amount depends on the rateable value of the business premises. Support is paid for every two weeks the business is closed and this will be paid every two weeks that it’s required to remain closed.
Individual areas have negotiated their own support packages from government ans have their own localised schemes in place.
Targeted help for businesses in Liverpool is set out at the Liverpool City Council website and measures for Lancashire are set out here