Firstly, thank you for the effort you are making to keep the coronavirus at bay. Coronavirus cases in the past two weeks have stayed pretty stagnant across Cornwall and our figures are 1/3rd of the English average.
People are weary of this pandemic, not least business owners large and small who are having to digest new challenges and changes almost daily.
Because of this it is very difficult for business leaders and self-employed people to keep track of what is expected of them and what help they can expect from Government. www.gov.uk sets out what the rules are whilst businesssupport.gov is the place to go for information regarding what help is available.
In brief, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough scheme) is extended until December 2nd with Government paying 80% of wages. Employers are only required to cover National Insurance and Employer pension contributions. Support for the self-employed increases from 40 per cent of trading profits to 80 per cent for November. The window for claiming a grant will open on 30 November, two weeks earlier than previously announced.
The Government plans to extend loan schemes – the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Future Fund – to the end of January.
Mortgage payment holidays will continue to be available for homeowners. Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six-month holiday and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to a maximum of six months without this being recorded on their credit file.
Businesses which are forced to close due to the new restrictions will receive up to £3,000 per month – benefiting over 600,000 businesses. Businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors that have been suffering from reduced demand for a while due to local restrictions will receive back dated grants at 70 per cent of the value of closed grants (up to £2,100 per month) for this period. Local authorities will receive £1.1 billion to support businesses through discretionary grants more broadly over the coming months and up to £500 million will be provided to local councils for local public health initiatives, such as additional contact tracing, testing for hard-to-reach groups and communications.
This is all welcome and vital and my office will remain contactable by phone 01736 363038 and by email firstname.lastname@example.org help people navigate the guidance and take up any concerns or issues as usual. I’ll also hold weekly virtual surgeries.
Personally I’ve argued that if further restrictions are to be considered the Government should attach travel restrictions to the three tier system rather than implement a national lockdown. We must not lose sight of the harm that is caused to people’s physical and mental health and to livelihoods by the imposition of a second lockdown. Our job now is to do everything to minimise this harm which is my focus and that of many others for the weeks ahead.