The budget of 3 March 2021 included the announcement of a further £65 billion of government spending on the extension of existing financial support measures, as well as the introduction of some new schemes.

These new pledges for financial support are expected to take the anticipated total cost across the various government backed Covid support measures to £352 billion in this financial year, with public sector debt expected to reach a peak of 97.1% of GDP by 2023/24 before gradually improving.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

The CJRS, which was due to end in April 2021, has now been extended to the end of September 2021.

  • The scheme will provide the same level of support as under the current arrangements until June 2021;
  • From July, the government will introduce the requirement for an employer contribution towards the cost of unworked hours of 10% in July;
  • This will increase to 20% in August and 20% in September; and
  • Employees will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, capped at £2,500 per month, for hours not worked.

How to claim

  • There are now monthly deadlines for making a claim, meaning that claims may need to be submitted earlier than in previous months, see below for claims deadlines for the current scheme;
  • Claims should be made online at GOV.UK. Click here and use the ‘Claim now’ button.
  • All claims require a Government Gateway ID and password; and
  • HMRC will check the validity of a claim and then pay the grant by BACS within six working days.

Monthly claims deadlines

14 July: final date to submit claims for June

16 August: final date to submit claims for July

14 September: final date to submit claims for August

14 October: final date to submit claims for September.

Click here to download our CJRS Factsheet.

Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) delivers financial support to those that are self-employed or a member of a partnership in the UK and have lost income due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The fifth Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant will be available from the end of July, covering the period May to September 2021.

This grant is different from those that preceded it as the amount of the grant is determined by how much turnover has been reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021.

Guidance for claiming the grant will be available by the end of June 2021.

The grant is taxable and will be paid out in a single instalment.

The amount of the fifth grant will be determined by how much turnover has been reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021.

  • For a turnover reduction of 30% or more, the grant will be 80% of three months’ average trading profits, up to a cap of £7,500;
  • For a turnover reduction of less than 30%, the grant will be 30% of three months’ average trading profits, up to a cap of £2,850.

Click here for further details on the fifth SEISS grant.

Recovery Loan Scheme

This new loan scheme will enable businesses, of any size, to continue to access loans through a series of accredited lenders.

The scheme is now open for applications and will run until 31 December 2021, subject to review.

Lenders are able to provide finance as either a term loan, overdraft, invoice finance or asset finance.

  • The maximum amount of a facility provided is £10m per business (£30m per group);
  • Minimum facility sizes vary, starting at £1,000 for asset and invoice finance and £25,001 for term loans and overdrafts;
  • The term length for loans and asset finance is from three months up to six years;
  • The term length for overdrafts and invoice finance is from three months up to three years;
  • Businesses must cover the costs of interest payments and any fees associated with the RLS facility; and
  • The annual effective rate of interest and upfront and other fees cannot be more than 14.99%.

How to apply

The RLS is available through a number of British Business Bank accredited lenders.

Businesses should approach the lender themselves, through their website. The amount of finance offered varies between lenders and not every lender can provide all of the different types of finance available through the scheme.

Click here to find an accredited lender.

Help To Grow

This programme from the Government offers small and medium-sized businesses access to new skills and digital expertise. The purpose of the Scheme is to help small and medium sized businesses across the UK learn new skills, reach new customers and boost profits.

The scheme is divided into two parts – Help To Grow: Digital and Help To Grow: Management.

Help To Grow: Management will give 30,000 businesses the opportunity to take part in a 12 week-programme delivered by business schools across the UK.

  • Fifty hours of tuition will provide strategic skills including financial management, innovation and digital adoption; and
  • The programme is 90% subsidised by the Government, with participants charged £750.

Who is it for?

UK businesses from any sector that have been operating for more than one year, with between 5 to 249 employees are eligible.

The participant should be a decision maker or member of the senior management team within the business e.g. Chief Executive, Finance Director etc.

Charities are not eligible.

Help To Grow: Digital will enable businesses to access free advice, via an online hub, on the technologies that can help save time and money, whilst encouraging growth.

  • Eligible businesses will be given vouchers, entitling them to 50% off the purchase of approved software;
  • It is expected that this will be software to help build customer relationships, optimise online sales and manage finances digitally;
  • The voucher is expected to be available to UK businesses that have been trading for more than one year and are purchasing discounted software for the first time; and
  • Full details of eligibility will be published this summer.

Who is it for?

All businesses will be able to benefit from free online advice on the platform.

The voucher is expected to be available to UK business that

  • Employ between 5 and 249 employees and are registered at Companies House;
  • Have been trading for more than 12 months; and
  • Are purchasing the discounted software for the first time.

You can register in your interest in both schemes by clicking here.

Business Rates Holiday 

The business rates holiday for businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors ended on 30 June 2021.

From 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, rates will be discounted by two thirds, up to a limit of £2 million per business for properties that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021, with a lower cap for businesses that have been able to stay open.

How to apply

There is no action required as this will be administered by your local authority.

Self Assessment Payment Plan

If you owe Self Assessment tax and your bill is less than £30,000 you may be able to pay in monthly instalments.

  • This arrangement enables the cost of your tax bill to be spread into monthly payments, up to a 12-month period;
  • The online service can be used once your 2019-20 tax return has been completed;
  • The online Time to Pay facility was previously available for paying tax liabilities up to £10,000; and
  • From 1 October 2020, the threshold to use the online service has been increased to £30,000.

Click here to set up a Self Assessment payment plan

VAT Reduced Rate

The Chancellor announced a very welcome extension to the temporary reduced rate of VAT on supplies of accommodation, food and beverage services excluding alcohol, and specified attractions.

  • The extension of the 5% rate is for 6 months from 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021; and
  • This is followed by a 12.5% rate until 31 March 2022.

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

Employers with fewer than 250 employees will continue to be able to reclaim up to two weeks’ of eligible SSP costs per employee from the Government.

Eligible sickness absence includes time taken off due to being ill with COVID-19 or having to self-isolate or shield because of it. This scheme is a temporary COVID-19 measure intended to support employers whilst levels of sickness absence are high and was first introduced on 13 March 2020.

To see if you can use this scheme as an employer follow this link.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) 

The SDLT nil rate band threshold at £500,000 has now ended.

The nil rate band is now held at £250,000 until 30 September 2021, before returning to its permanent level of £125,000 from 1 October 2021.

A full breakdown of SDLT rates can be found here. 

Mortgage Guarantee Scheme

The Government has announced a new Mortgage Guarantee Scheme to increase the availability of 95% loan to value mortgage products. The scheme will provide a guarantee to lenders across the UK who offer mortgages to people with a deposit of just 5% on homes with a value of up to £600,000.

Under the scheme, all buyers will have the opportunity to fix their initial mortgage rate for at least five years should they wish to.

The scheme is intended as a temporary measure and will be open for new mortgage applications from April 2021 to December 2022.

Download our factsheet on Universal Credit and how this is calculated.

Please be aware of fraudulent schemes

You will access Government support schemes only through GOV.UK. If someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you can claim financial help or are owed a tax refund, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it is a scam.

Should you have any queries on the support measures outlined on this page then please either get in touch with your usual M+A Partners contact or email and we will be happy to help.