Summer Economic Update
When the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, delivered his Spring Budget on 11 March to the packed benches of the House of Commons, the hope was that the economic impact of the Coronavirus outbreak would be ‘V-shaped’, with an immediate bounce back to prosperity.
Since then, nearly four months of onerous restrictions have shuttered large sections of the economy, GDP has fallen by an unprecedented 25 per cent and 9.4 million people have been furloughed from their jobs, leaving the shape of the recovery highly uncertain.
With lockdown measures now having eased substantially, businesses reopening and early signs of growth returning, but some of the Government’s key interventions soon coming to an end, the Chancellor rose to the dispatch box in a half-empty, socially distanced House of Commons.
The speech was billed as a ‘Summer Economic Update’, rather than an ‘Emergency Budget’, leading to speculation as to whether the Chancellor would announce much of significance or adopt a wait-and-see approach, leaving bold announcements for the Autumn Budget.
It turned out, as things tend to, that what came to pass was somewhere in the middle with the speech being used to unveil the Government’s Plan for Jobs, described by the Chancellor as the second phase in the Government’s economic response to the crisis.
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Job Retention Bonus
- Kickstart Scheme and measures to help people find work
- Stamp Duty Land Tax Holiday and job creation measures
- VAT cut for Hospitality and Tourism sectors
- Eat Out to Help Out
The first major announcement from the Chancellor was the confirmation that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will close, as planned, at the end of October, arguing that “leaving the furlough scheme open forever gives people false hope that it will always be possible to return to the jobs they had before”.
The scheme currently offers employers grants worth 80 per cent of a furloughed employee’s usual salary up to a cap of £2,500 a month plus the associated Employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and minimum automatic enrolment pension contributions. Furloughed employees will be paid 80 per cent of their usual pay up to a cap of £2,500 a month until the end of the scheme in October and, since the beginning of July have been able to return to work part-time, with employers claiming a grant only in respect of usual hours not worked.
The Chancellor’s announcement confirms that grants from the scheme will cease to cover Employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and minimum automatic enrolment pension contributions from August. In September, the value of grants will fall to 70 per cent of usual wages up to £2,187.50 a month with employers making up 10 per cent. Finally, in October, the grant will fall to 60 per cent of usual wages up to £1,875 a month, with employers expected to make up 20 per cent.
However, the Chancellor looked to cushion the blow with the announcement of a Job Retention Bonus. The new scheme will see the taxpayer give employers £1,000 for each previously furloughed employee they retain and keep in employment until January, as long as they are paid at least £520 a month. Further details of the scheme are expected later in July.
Moving to his plans to support people in finding jobs, the Chancellor announced the Kickstart Scheme, which will provide £2 billion to support the creation of “high quality” six-month work placements for 16 to 24 year-olds on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.
The taxpayer will provide employers that offer the placements funding equivalent to 100 per cent of the relevant level of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for 25 hours a week. It will also cover the associated Employer NICs and minimum automatic enrolment pension contributions.
Outlining further plans to support people in finding jobs, the Chancellor confirmed 10 additional measures, including funding for traineeships and employers that hire new apprentices, as well as funding for several careers and job-finding programmes.
The apprenticeships funding will provide £2,000 to employers in England for every apprentice hired under the age of 25 and £1,500 for each newly hired apprentice aged 25 or older. This funding is in addition to schemes already in place to support employers in taking on apprentices.
Housing, construction and infrastructure were at the core of the measures announced by the Chancellor to catalyse job creation, with a temporary cut to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) by raising the nil-rate band from £125,000 to £500,000 from now until 31 March 2021. The Treasury estimates that, as a consequence, around nine in 10 people buying a main residence will pay no SDLT.
Staying with the focus on housing, the Chancellor announced a £2 billion Green Homes Grant for homeowners and landlords, covering two-thirds of the cost, up to a cap of £5,000 per household, towards making homes more energy-efficient, with more for low-income households.
These measures came in addition to £5 billion of infrastructure spending announced a week earlier by the Prime Minister and came on top of various other measures targetted at the housing and construction sectors.
Before the speech, there was considerable speculation about whether there would be a VAT cut, as had been called for by at least two former Chancellors, and, if so, whether this would see the rate cut in general or targeted at specific sectors.
In the event, Chancellor opted against a general cut to the rate of VAT, opting instead to cut the rate for the Hospitality and Tourism sectors from 20 per cent to five per cent. The measures relate specifically to food and non-alcoholic drinks and to accommodation and admission to attractions, with further details expected to be published later.
The change comes into effect on Wednesday 15 July 2020 and will be in place temporarily until 12 January 2021.
Perhaps the most eye-catching of the measures announced by the Chancellor was the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which will provide a discount of 50 per cent of up to £10 a person on eat-in meals, including non-alcoholic drinks, at participating establishments on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August.
A website for restaurants, cafes and pubs to use to sign-up for the scheme is expected to launch on Monday 13 July 2020.
The measures outlined by the Chancellor continue to put support for jobs firmly at the centre of the Government’s approach to rebuilding the economy as we emerge from the Coronavirus outbreak.
However, with today’s measures expected to cost around a further £30 billion, it remains to be seen how they will be funded in the long-term, with the Chancellor having previously hinted at tax changes in future Budgets.
- Government extends childcare funding for families affected by the pandemic
- Green Homes Grant guidance published
- Eat Out to Help Out opens for claims
- Key dates for Coronavirus support schemes
- Eat out to help out
- New legislation introduced to protect redundancy pay of furloughed workers
- Seven tips to get start-ups off the ground
- Government confirms Coronavirus tax concessions in amended Finance Bill
- Future Fund expanded to more businesses
- Research finds lack of knowledge, information and skills are key barriers to Making Tax Digital compliance
- New corporate insolvency rules come into effect
- £84 billion of R&D tax credits unclaimed – Could you be eligible for a share of this funding?
- Government confirms Job Retention Bonus of £1,000
- Upcoming key dates for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Paying for COVID-19: Government begins exploring tax take back
- Government confirms the next steps for the digitisation of taxation
- Government publishes detailed guidance on SDLT holiday
- HM Revenue & Customs confirms first arrest in connection with furlough fraud
- Reminder: Deferral of second payment on account
- HM Revenue & HM Revenue & Customs updates Self-Employment Income Support Scheme guidanceCustoms updates Self-Employment Income Support Scheme guidance
- Coronavirus apprenticeships guidance updated
- Download our updated Coronavirus Support grids
- Details of ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme confirmed
- Guidance on hospitality and tourism VAT cut published
- Summer Economic Update
- Don’t forget to make an SEISS claim by 13 July!
- HMRC offers clarity on usual hours calculation for flexible furlough
- Coronavirus grants to businesses, employers and individuals are taxable
- Guidance published on repaying Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme overpayments
- Key dates for Coronavirus support schemes
- Government publishes new ‘Covid Secure’ guidance
- Remember to reinstate your VAT direct debit in time for your next payment
- HM Revenue & Customs clarifies repayments of Corporation Tax and anticipated losses
- Employers given 30 days to confess to furlough fraud
- RE OPENING…GET ON YOUR BLOCKS!
- Download our Coronavirus support for business timeline
- Managing Cash
- Helpful steps to improve credit control
- Top tips for improving profit
- Are you taking your business online? – Six steps to effective pricing
- HM Revenue & Customs publishes detailed guidance on calculating furlough claims from July onwards
- Further clarification issued on eligibility for second round of Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
- Government delays VAT Reverse Charge
- VAT deferral refund available
- Trade Credit Insurance backed by £10 billion guarantee
- Guidance on exceptional circumstances for higher rate SDLT refunds updated
- Whistleblowers make almost 2,000 allegations of furlough fraud
- Employees returning from parental leave continue to be eligible for furlough scheme
- Chancellor unveils changes to furlough scheme
- Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) extended
- Coronavirus Future Fund opens to applications
- Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme set to open for claims
- Maximum Government-backed loan amount for larger businesses increased to £200 million
- Temporary tax freeze on home office expenditure announced
- Tax treatment of expenses and benefits during COVID-19
- Money laundering supervision payment deferrals and deregistration announced by HM Revenue & Customs
- Changes to notifying an option to tax (VAT) on land and buildings during the Coronavirus pandemic
- COVID-19 – Re-build and recover – we’re here to help you get back on track
- New start-ups
- Owner Managed and Family Businesses
- Cashflow projections and budget assistance
- Tax payment plans
- R&D Tax Credits
- Dividend Tax Planning
- Inheritance Tax
- Business Advisory Services
- Contracts & Agreements
- Assistance with business plans and pricing reviews
- Payroll & HR advice
- Practical Employment Law Considerations For Returning to Work
- Employment contracts – changes to package and benefits
- Furlough – continuation and return to work
- Business Finance
- Loans and other methods of finance
- Property Owners
- COVID-19 – An assessment of safe working arrangements
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) extended until October
- “Covid Secure” practical workplace guidance for employers
- Get ready to claim the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
- Eligibility for grant funding
- Government reduces the penalty for Lifetime ISA withdrawals
- Bounce Back Loan scheme is now live – apply today
- Deferring your VAT payment
- Bounce Back Loans scheme for small businesses
- Businesses bombarded by cyber-attacks as they seek support for COVID-19
- Child Benefit and the High-Income Child Benefit Charge during the coronavirus outbreak
- Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
- Coronavirus Customs Authorisations
- Are you or your team classed as essential workers?
- Payment of dividends during the Coronavirus outbreak
- Certain sectors see access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme restricted
- Are you eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)?
- I’m a director of a small company – what support is open to me during the Coronavirus outbreak?
- Government launches Business Support Finder tool
- Government announces Future Fund for fast-growing businesses
- Administering the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme online portal launches
- Statutory Residence Test changed to allow skilled workers from around the world to assist the UK’s Coronavirus response
- Government SEISS guidance updated
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended to end of June