Acknowledging the substantial and continued impact of coronavirus on the economy, we’re pleased to see that today’s Budget announcement included support for SMEs.
Due to the significance of this year’s Budget, speculation of what was to be included has been widely reported. After seeing Chancellor Rishi Sunak speak this afternoon, we have summarised the below for employers.
Furlough extended until the end of September
Today’s announcement revealed that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, also known as the furlough scheme, has been extended until the end of September. Up until now, the scheme was scheduled to end in April.
Following on from the government’s recent phased route out of lockdown, the extension of the furlough scheme will provide support to businesses in need throughout the summer.
Furloughed employees will continue to receive up to 80% of their salary, with employers contributing National Insurance and pension payments until July.
As businesses reopen, employers’ contributions will increase to:
- 10% in July
- 20% in August
- 20% in September
“World-class” management training
The new Help to Grow Scheme will help small businesses to take up world-class management training. A new executive development programme will be funded by the government up to 90%.
Help to Grow Digital will provide access to online courses and up to 50% discounts on productivity enhancing software, worth up to £5,000 each, to help upskill staff and advance productivity. The scheme will begin in the autumn, but businesses can register today on the .gov website.
Increased funding for apprenticeships
Employers offering apprenticeships will receive increased funding from the government of up to £3,000 per trainee for all new apprentice hires of any age.
Unsponsored visa scheme
Since Brexit, employers wanting to hire talent from overseas have had to comply with the new points-based immigration system.
Today’s announcement confirmed that a new unsponsored points-based visa will simplify the process for hiring high-skilled workers such as engineers and scientists.
‘Restart Grants’ and recovery funding
Grants will be made available from April to help eligible businesses get back on their feet.
Struggling high street shops, hospitality venues, salons, and gyms, amongst others, are expected to benefit from grants of up to £18,000 per business.
A new Recovery Loan Scheme will be available for businesses of any size to apply for loans from £25,000 to £10 million.
A £700 million recovery package has been budgeted to help businesses and venues in the sports and culture sectors.
National Living Wage increase
Increasing to £8.91 from April.