Government extends support for businesses and workers

The government has announced plans to extend the application deadline for loan guarantee schemes – that is, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme – to the end of January 2021. This will give businesses two extra months to make loan applications, relative to the current deadline of 30th November.

The government has also adjusted the Bounce Back Loan Scheme rules to allow those businesses who have borrowed less than their maximum (i.e. less than 25% of their turnover) to top-up their existing loan.

To date, businesses across the UK have benefitted from 1,410,037 government-guaranteed loans worth £61.9 billion to support their cashflow during the crisis through schemes delivered by the British Business Bank.

Self-employed workers will also be able to claim state aid of up to 80% of profits as England prepares for a new lockdown. The rise is up from the current 40% and will mean £4.5 billion of government support for the self-employed between November and January, he said.

Under the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), eligible workers can currently claim support covering 40% of their average earnings from last year to cover a period of three months, capped at £3,750.

However, as eligibility criteria will be the same as for previous grants, it means that as many as 2.9 million freelancers, contractors and newly self-employed people remain excluded from the scheme.

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