‘Freedom Day’ delayed but will the furlough scheme be extended?

Here at HJ Accountants, we proudly assist businesses of all sizes and niches as well as private individuals. Our support and advice has proved invaluable during these troubled times.

Due to the emergence of a new variant and rising infection rates, Freedom Day – a date where all Covid-19 related restrictions come to an end – has now been delayed by a month. The news has caused panic for many businesses and sole traders.

Throughout the pandemic, the government has provided several options to financially support struggling businesses and individuals. But with Freedom Day delayed, will this support continue and, more specifically, will the furlough scheme be extended?

In this blog post, we answer those all-important questions, so you and your business can look forward with confidence…

Will the furlough scheme continue?

According to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, there are no plans to extend the existing furlough scheme – known officially as the ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ – even in light of the Freedom Day delay.

The government intend to forge ahead as planned with the phasing out of the temporary social security system from 1st July. From this date, the government will cover 70% of furloughed staff’s wages (a drop from 80%) with the businesses employing them having to make a 10% contribution to make up for this shortfall.

This support will decrease to 60% during August and September with employers contributing 20%. The furlough scheme will then end as previously stipulated on 30th September.

What other support will be available?

Despite the phasing out of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, some government support schemes will continue. Employers for instance can still claim back their employees’ coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) via the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme.

Some businesses will be eligible for business rates relief too, with the discount for the retail sector recently extended to the 2021/22 tax year.

The government endorsed Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) is also still available via British Business Bank accredited lenders allowing businesses who have been impacted by Covid-19 to access a commercial loan on better terms.

What about self-employed professionals?

The fifth and final Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant will be accessible from late July. Unlike previous grants, the support you receive will depend on how much your turnover has reduced in the 2020/21 tax year due to Covid-19.

If you’d like further advice or support with your business finances, please contact us today.