Furlough scheme & Covid-19 business loans extended to Easter

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The new Tiers for England have been announced with swathes of the East and South East moved into Tier 3. Wales have announced a lockdown starting on the 28th of December. In Scotland, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and East Lothian will all move from level two to level three. Northern Ireland has just come out of a two week lockdown with a new six week lockdown being proposed. To provide financial assistance the furlough scheme has been extended until the end of April 2021 and government-guaranteed Covid-19 business loan schemes will be extended to the end of March.

The result of Tier changes will see 100% (over 3 million) of people in Wales in lockdown after Christmas, 100% (1.8 million) of people in Northern Ireland probably in lockdown, 80% of Scotland’s population (over 4 million people) in Tier 3 (out of 5 Tiers) and 68% of England’s population (38 million people) in the highest Tier 3. In England only Cornwall, the Scilly Isles, the Isle of Wight and Herefordshire (about to move down from Tier 2) will be in Tier 1.

Ecommerce Impact

What this means for ecommerce is that there will be no slow down into the New Year. Yes, Christmas will be behind us but if too many households decide to mingle in the 5 day Christmas lockdown relaxation there will most certainly be a spike of cases, hospitalisations and deaths in January and February. There is no prospect of a significant proportion of the population being vaccinated until at least Easter and so many will stay home and shop online.

eBay Kickstart support

If you are one of the fortunate ecommerce businesses who remain busy into the New Year, don’t forget that you can effectively get a free staff member plus eBay training for them, £500 eBay fee credits and business support from Adecco.

The Kickstart Scheme is administered via the FSB portal with the government covering 100% of the cost of a six-month work placement, including the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week. The Kickstart scheme aims to provide work placements for 16-24 year olds at risk of long-term unemployment who are currently receiving Universal Benefits.

Furlough scheme & Covid-19 business loans extensions

Rishi Sunak announced that the furlough scheme has been extended until the end of April 2021 with the government continuing to contribute 80% towards wages – giving businesses and employees across the UK certainty up to Easter. Hopefully this will stave off a further raft of redundancies although some businesses may still not be able to afford their contributions, which are wages, National Insurance Contributions (NICS) and pensions for hours worked; and NICS and pensions for hours not worked.

In a move to ensure firms can access the support they need through continuing economic disruption, Rishi Sunak also confirmed he would be extending the government-guaranteed Covid-19 business loan schemes until the end of March.

These changes come ahead of the Budget, which the Chancellor has confirmed will take place on 3 March 2021. This will deliver the next phase of the plan to tackle the virus and protect jobs, so the extensions to the business loan and furlough schemes enable businesses to plan with certainty and access support in the first few months of the New Year ahead of the further update on wider Covid-19 economic support.

“Our package of support for businesses and workers continues to be one of the most generous and effective in the world – helping our economy to recover and protecting livelihoods across the country.

We know the premium businesses place on certainty, so it is right that we enable businesses to plan ahead regardless of the path the virus takes, which is why we’re providing certainty and clarity by extending this support, as well as implementing our Plan for Jobs.”
– Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer



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