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"Unprecedented measures for unprecedented times” – Chancellor outlines further measures to protect jobs, businesses and households against economic impact of COVID-19

On Friday 20 March the Chancellor outlined further financial support to protect jobs, businesses and households against the economic impacts of coronavirus. Read our summary here.

20 March 2020

On Friday 20 March 2020 the Government outlined further financial support to protect jobs, businesses and households against the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Jobs

Coronavirus job retention scheme:

  • A new scheme to help businesses pay wages
  • Any employer in the country will be eligible for this scheme
  • Businesses can contact HMRC for grants to cover most of the wages of people that are not working but are furloughed and kept on pay roll
  • These grants will be able to cover 80% of the salary of retained workers of up to £2,500 per employee per month
  • Will apply to jobs backdated to 1 March 2020 and will initially run for three months

Businesses

  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme: loans from the scheme will now be interest free for 12 months. Businesses will be able to access this scheme from Monday 23 March 2020
  • VAT Payments: the next quarter of VAT payments has been deferred, businesses will therefore not be required to pay any VAT from now until the end of June and will have until the end of the financial year to repay it

Self-employed

  • The minimum income floor is to be suspended for anyone affected by the economic impact of coronavirus
  • Those who are self-employed can now access, in full, universal credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay for employees
  • The next self-assessment payments are to be deferred to January 2021

Households

  • Universal Credit Standard Allowance: this is to be increased by £1,000 for the next 12 months
  • Working Tax Credit Basic Element: for the next 12 months this will be increased by £1,000
  • Housing Benefit and Universal Credit for renters: £1 billion has been announced to increase Local Housing Allowance to up to 30% of market rate rent across the country

The RIBA asked the Government to consider further additional measures to support the architecture sector, including the deferral of VAT payments, in a letter to the Chancellor earlier this week.

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Visit the RIBA's COVID-19 hub for regularly updated advice and guidance for architects. 

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