It’s been a few weeks since the budget, I’m sure that anybody who has sat down to read this probably didn’t sit and watch the budget unfold live. Which is fair enough, as it’s not necessarily peak television now is it. The roadmap which is discussed in another article, starts with a gradual reopening eventually leading to a full opening in the summer. We pray anyway. Let’s not even think about vaccine passports for now, nobody likes a life drainer.
So, the budget outlined a number of proposals in a package of £65bn to kick start small businesses, and keep them up and running.
‘Bounce back’ loans (yes, people get paid ridiculous amounts to come up with these names) finished at the end of March, ready for the opening of non essential retail and somewhat hospitality on April 12th. With this in mind, non essential retailers will be eligible for £6k grants (which seems measly considering they’ve been closed for a large part of the year). Whereas hospitality and leisure industries can claim up to £18,000. Sunak’s reasoning for the higher grant was due to retail opening sooner. The grant scheme seems to have had positive feedback by business owners regardless.
Furlough Scheme extension:
First of all, who knew this was called ‘The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ and not just furlough? Anyway, it’s been extended through September and until the end of July there will be no changes (Government pays 80% of wages up to £2,500 a month). After July though, employers will be expected to pay 10% towards the hours that staff do not work that month. Increasing by 20% the following months.
Business rates holiday extension:
Until the end of June, the hardest hit retail, leisure and hospitality industries are eligible for the extension. The rest of the year, a switch to a two thirds discount up to £2million for closed businesses. Sunak described it as a “£6bn tax cut for businesses.”
Let’s explain it in human terms. No business rates for 3 months. Up to 66% relief for the rest of the year. SIMPLE. Could’ve just said from the start.
VAT cut extension:
The temporary 5% rate of VAT on food, soft drinks, hotel accommodation and leisure attractions will be extended until September 30th. Another little booster is the interim rate of 12.% for the six months following meaning there wont be a return to the levels of early 2020 until April next year.