We hope that you have all been able to enjoy the summer in some way and made the most of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme! Life is feeling a bit more like normal, although it’s clearly too early to commit to that with social distancing measures being tightened as we speak. Some of the Covid-19 support measures are now coming to and end, as we detail below, but there are also some new schemes being made available which may be of interest to you.
The government has recently published additional detail on the Kickstart Scheme, which is aimed at providing financial support to employers taking on employees who meet certain criteria for a 6 month period. These are detailed here: Kickstart
Funding is available for 100% of the wages (National Minimum Wage) for 25 hours per week, plus National Insurance contributions and pension contributions. There is also funding of £1,500 per job placement to help with training and set-up costs for the employee.
It is important to note that the employees must be recruited into brand new vacancies (so not replacing existing employees or filling roles which have been vacant for some time).
Candidates for this role must currently be on Universal Credits and at risk of long term unemployment as the government is trying to reduce unemployment. Therefore, you will not be able to make current staff redundant and recruit for the same role under this scheme.
To make this easier to administer, the government has confirmed that organisations who would look to take on fewer than 30 employees under the scheme will need to partner up with other employers in order that a ‘group’ application for a minimum of 30 job placements can be submitted. A representative of this group will need to be appointed, and this representative needs to meet certain obligations. At the moment, businesses interested in this are advised to contact their local employer contact and the DWP and the email addresses are provided in the webpage mentioned above.
We would be interested to know if this scheme is something you could make use of so please let us know if you are interested as Artema may register to become a representative of a group if it proves to be popular.
Small Business Technology Grant
At the end of July 2020, the government announced a grant of between £1,000 and £5,000 for small businesses to help them access new technology, equipment and professional advice, including legal and financial advice, which will help them get back on track after being hit by Covid-19. The funding will be managed through the Growth Hubs across the country and the current guidance from the government is to make contact with your local Growth Hub in order to find further details and make an application, as follows:
A general map of the specific locations can be find here:LEP. As we have clients spread across the southern regions the split of areas which are relevant to us seems to be Dorset, Solent, M3 and Swindon and Wiltshire. Some areas are more prepared then others as of today.
As many of you will know, we are nearing the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which finished at the end of October 2020. For September, the claim under the scheme reduces to 70% of wages (up to a maximum cap of £2,187.50 per employee) and the employer tops up the difference to ensure the employee receives 80%. There is no longer any funding to cover employer’s NI or pension contributions. For October the government’s contribution reduces further to 60%. Therefore, if you have been receiving regular Furlough funding every month, you will receive a slightly reduced amount in September while you still need to pay the 80% Furlough to the employee.
Also, please remember that in January, we will be able to claim £1,000 per employee that you have Furloughed and kept until the end of January 2021. This is positive news and we are waiting for more details on how the process will work.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
The second and final grant, worth 70% of self-employment earnings, is now available to claim and a claim must be made by 19 October 2020. You can make a claim for the second grant even if you didn’t claim for the first one, if your business has been adversely affected by Covid-19 since 14 July 2020.
As you may already know, our payroll team has been extremely busy over the last few months and the importance of the payroll function has been highlighted during the Furlough period which is still ongoing (including the £1,000 claim mentioned above early next year). We have reviewed our pricing and will apply a small monthly increase for the payroll services we provide to you starting from September and this will be communicated to you while we do the September pay run.
Finally, while you are reading this Newsletter, if you haven’t brought in your personal tax return for the tax year ending 5th April 2020 – please do so as we are anticipating a few busy months ahead.
As always, please let us know if you have any questions.
Best wishes, Artema Ltd