Job Support Scheme extended to firms required to close due to Covid Restrictions

The government’s Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions, the Chancellor announced on Friday, 9th October.

The government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.

Under the scheme, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and only asked to cover NIC and pension contributions, a very small proportion of overall employment costs. It is estimated that around half of potential claims are likely not to incur employer NIC or auto-enrolment pension contributions and so face no employer contribution.

Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.

The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review point in January. In line with the rest of the JSS, payments to businesses will be made in arrears, via a HMRC claims service that will be available from early December. Employees of firms that have been legally closed in the period before 1 November are eligible for the CJRS.

The scheme is UK wide and the UK Government will work with the devolved administrations to ensure the scheme operates effectively across all four nations.

Cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdowns also increased

In addition to expansion of the JSS, the government is increasing the cash grants to businesses in England shut in local lockdowns to support with fixed costs. These grants will be linked to rateable values, with up to £3,000 per month payable every two weeks, compared to the up to £1,500 every three weeks which was available previously. This could benefit hundreds of thousands of businesses, including restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, bowling alleys and many more.

The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will benefit from a £1.3 billion increase to their guaranteed funding for 2020-21 – allowing them to continue their response to Covid-19 including through similar measures if they wish.

These measures will sit alongside the original JSS – which is designed to support businesses that are facing low demand over the winter months – and the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus (JRB) which encourages employers to keep staff on payroll.

Further Information

Further details on the expanded JSS can be found on this factsheet: Job Support Scheme Expansion for Closed Business Premises (PDF, 72.1KB, 3 pages)

Further guidance on the scheme will be set out by HMRC in due course.

This scheme will cover businesses that, as a result of restrictions set by one or more of the four governments in the UK, are legally required to close their premises. This includes businesses that are required to provide only delivery and collection services from their premises. To be eligible employees must be employed and an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 23 September.

Under the scheme, employees will need to be furloughed for a minimum of seven consecutive days at any given time and the payments to employers will be made monthly in arrears.

The government is now making this scheme more generous so that businesses receive up to £3,000 per month, rather than up to £1,500 per three weeks, and they are eligible for payment sooner, after only two weeks of closure rather than three.

Small businesses with a rateable value of or below £15,000 can now claim £1,300 per month; medium sized businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 can claim £2,000 per month; and larger businesses can claim £3,000.

The government is also extending the scheme to include businesses which have been forced to close on a national rather than a local basis.

SEISS extension details

Who can claim

To be eligible for the grant extension self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:

  • currently be eligible for the the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
  • declare that they are currently actively trading and intend to continue to trade
  • declare that they are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus in the qualifying period (the qualifying period for the grant extension is between 1 November and the date of claim)

What the grant extension covers

The extension will provide two grants and will last for six months, from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period.

The first grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January. HMRC will provide a taxable grant covering 20 per cent of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £1,875 in total.

HMRC are providing broadly the same level of support for the self-employed as is being provided for employees through the Job Support scheme.

The second grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February until the end of April. HMRC will review the level of the second grant and set this in due course.

The grants are subject to Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions.

How to claim

HMRC will provide full details about claiming and applications in guidance on GOV.UK in due course.

From the Welsh Government

ERF phase 3 business development grant – eligibility details and checker

There has been no changes to the local restrictions for now.

Working safely and keeping customers safe

Details can be found through this link and clarity on taking payments at the bar can be seen in the extract below:

From 24 September, in venues which sell alcohol, food and drink must be ordered from, and served to customers who are seated, in both indoor and outdoor settings. This means that a business that sells alcohol must introduce systems to take orders from seated customers, instead of at a bar or counter. Payment should also be taken at the table wherever possible, but may be taken at a bar or counter if safety measures are in place.

Pubco activity

Star pubs & Bars extend rent concessions

EI concessions (from their email dated 18th September):

Further Financial Support for Tied Publicans (England only)

Further to the assistance given throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we are pleased to announce further support over the next couple of months for our tied publicans operating substantive agreements.


Credits will be made available as follows:

  • October 2020: we will be providing credits of 30% for rent, tie release fees and fixtures and fittings rental charges
  • November 2020: we will be providing credits of 20% for rent, tie release fees and fixtures and fittings rental charges

These credits will be applied to your relevant account prior to payment date.

Wines, spirits and minerals

We are also delighted to confirm that we will continue our wine, spirits and minerals promotional offers until 30th November 2020. This promotion is available to all publicans, including those who are contractually tied for one or more of these drink categories, with the pricing reflecting the benefit of now being part of the Stonegate Pub Company.

This promotion has been very well received by our publicans and provides a great opportunity to stock up for Christmas at very competitive prices.

Annual price review

As you will be aware, we suspended the introduction of our annual price review which was due to take place in May 2020 in light of the pandemic. This means we have held prices to our publicans for the past 18 months whilst we continued to absorb increasing costs from suppliers.

We now have to make a small increase in the weighted average duty exclusive Ei Selling Price (‘ESP’) which will now increase by approximately 1.9%, the lowest annual increase for several years. Where contractual discounts form part of a substantive lease or tenancy agreement these will increase by 1.9% at the same time.

We will write to each publican ahead of this price review with further details and will also advise separately of any changes to the rate of duty, if announced by the Chancellor in future budgets.

Safety Management Solutions, Heating and Boilers and Cellar Cooling

We also advise that prices for our service packages in relation to Safety Management, Heating and Boilers and Cellar Cooling will increase by an average of approximately 1.9%, excluding VAT, with effect from 1st November. If you currently benefit from these inclusive service contracts, we will be writing directly to you with full details of these changes ahead of the effective date.

Your Regional Manager will also be in contact with you shortly to discuss the above and to answer any questions you may have.