This week has seen a number of government announcements about additional support that will help support businesses and self-employed people during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Furlough Scheme extended until October
In a huge boost to Wirral jobs and businesses, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced on Tue 12 May that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until the end of October, with workers continuing to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500.
The government also announced that from the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff. The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: ‘Our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has protected millions of jobs and businesses across the UK during the outbreak. This extension and the changes we are making to the scheme will give flexibility to businesses while protecting the livelihoods of the British people and our future economic prospects’
Applications open for Self Employment Income Support Scheme
On Wednesday 13 May, applications opened for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme. The scheme allows self employed workers to apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits, up to £2,500.
To make the process as easy as possible, the government have set up an online tool - you will need your Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference, your National Insurance number and access to a Government Gateway Account.
Bounce Back Loans offer financial support
Small and medium businesses can still apply for a fast-track Bounce Back Loan. The scheme, introduced on Mon 4 May, allows businesses to apply for a loan of between £2,000 and £50,000 providing they are based in the UK, were established before 1 March 2020 and have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus. The cash will be available within days and loans will be interest-free for the first 12 months. The government will work with a network of accredited lenders to agree a low level of interest for the remaining period of the loan.
More local businesses can apply for a business grant
The government have broadened the eligibility criteria of businesses who can apply for a business grant to help support them during the Covid-19 pandemic. These may include B&Bs, charities and businesses in shared spaces. So far 3,769 businesses in Wirral have received a total of £43.1m and this news means even more businesses will gain much-needed financial support.
New grant scheme launched for childcare providers
Wirral has launched its own grant scheme allowing childcare providers who remained open during the coronavirus epidemic to apply for up to £10,000 of funding. In total, up to £350,000 will be available for providers who meet the eligibility criteria and will help to support Wirral’s key workers and safeguard vulnerable children.
Paul Boyce, Director for Children, Families & Education said: ‘With the sector facing unprecedented challenges, we hope this new grant scheme will act as a lifeline for many childcare providers, including nurseries, pre-schools and childminders. Most importantly, keeping these settings running means that we’re able to ensure that vulnerable children in the borough are safe.’
Providers who meet the eligibility criteria have been sent an application form. If you haven't received yours, call 0151 666 3980.