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Chancellor extends Self-Employment Support Scheme and confirms furlough next steps

At the end of last week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be extended. Those who are eligible will now be able to claim a second and final grant capped at £6,570.

He also gave further details on the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which currently enables employers to place members of staff on ‘furlough’. The extension allows improved flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part-time in July. However, it also includes a new taper requiring employers to contribute to furloughed salaries from August.

So far, 2.3 million claims worth £6.8bn have been made under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Those eligible will now be able to claim a final grant in August worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

To continue aiding employers, the Chancellor went on to announce that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – which has seen one million employers across the UK furlough 8.4 million jobs – will continue, but with some changes.

From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part time, a month earlier than previously announced. Individual firms will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return. The firms will also be responsible for paying their wages while in work.

From August 2020, the level of government grant provided through the job retention scheme will be slowly tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work. That means that for June and July the government will continue to pay 80% of people’s salaries. In the following months, businesses will be asked to contribute a modest share, but  individuals will continue to receive that 80% of salary covering the time they are unable to work.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our top priority has always been to support people, protect jobs and businesses through this crisis. The furlough and self-employment schemes have been a lifeline for millions of people and businesses.

“We stood behind Britain’s businesses and workers as we came into this crisis and we stand behind them as we come through the other side.

“Now, as we begin to re-open our country and kickstart our economy, these schemes will adjust to ensure those who are able to work can do so, while remaining amongst the most generous in the world.”

Employers will be required to submit data on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and actual hours worked. Employees who believe they are not getting their 80% share can also report any concerns to the HMRC fraud hotline. HMRC will not hesitate to take action against those found to be abusing the scheme.

For more information – and to find out if you’re eligible to claim through either of these schemes – click here.

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