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The Chancellor has just announced changes to the financial support offered to COVID affected businesses.

Here is a summary of the main sources:

1.The Furlough scheme has been extended to the end of January. Flexibility is maintained, but the Job Retention Bonus (£1,000 per employee) has been withdrawn. Employers will be refunded 80% of the wages paid to furloughed (or part furloughed) employees, but have to pay the NIC and pension contributions due on the full salary.
2. There is a new rates-related grant to be made available through your Local Authority ("LA"). Each LA will have its own criteria and application process, but it is targeted at businesses in the hospitality and leisure industries. Other sectors can apply but payment will be at the discretion of the LA.
3. New grants are being made available on a regular basis. We have been advised to subscribe to the National Lottery website, as often these grants are partially funded by them.
4. The grant to self-employed people ("SEISS") will be offered at 80% of average earnings for the period 1 November to 31 January. Applications open on 30 November. A further grant, covering a further three months will be available, but the terms will be settled nearer the time. IT LOOKS AS IF THE SAME RULES APPLY SO YOUR ACCOUNTANT CANNOT MAKE THE CLAIM ON YOUR BEHALF AND IT OMITS THE "NEWLY" SELF-EMPLOYED.
5. The deadline for applications for Business Bounceback Loans ("BBL") and its big brother (CBILS) has been extended to 31/01/2021. If you borrowed less than your maximum last time, you can top it up. I would advise borrowing the full amount you can, as it is the cheapest and easiest borrowing ever made available. However, the current suspension of the wrongful trading rules has not yet been extended. This means that you could be liable to repay any loan if your business is insolvent at the date of application, and you go into liquidation.
6. HMRC are being very supportive of Time to Pay ("TTP") applications at the moment. You can use the self-serve TTP facility online if your tax bill is less than £30,000 in January 2021, but you'll need a Government Gateway ID and password to access the facility.
7. Finally, have you considered using existing tax law to reclaim tax paid over the past two years? There are two main routes for this; capital allowances and R&D Tax Credits. Watch out for my second message later today.

I trust that you will feel more hopeful having read this, but do get in touch if we can help you in any way possible.

Kind regards

Steve Carey
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