On 24th September, having postponed the expected Autumn Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak set out a range of new measures that aim to protect businesses and employees, as we head into another six months of COVID-related restrictions.


While many of the existing loan schemes will remain in place (albeit with extended repayment periods) the approach to supporting jobs will move from the familiarity of furlough to a new subsidies-based approach.
Here, we pick out the main stories from these “temporary, timely and targeted” measures, along with the figures that matter across employment, loans and tax.




  • The furlough scheme that’s been in place since spring will end on 31 October.

  • It will be replaced by a new scheme, aimed primarily at small and medium employers, and designed to support employees who are working at least one third of their usual hours.

  • An updated version of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) for self-employed people will run until April 2021.

  • The four existing business loan schemes will all now run until the end of November.

  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Bounce Back Loans (BBLS) will have their maximum terms increased to 10 years.

  • The new 5% level of VAT for businesses in hospitality and tourism will be extended to 31 March next year.

  • Any VAT and self-assessment payments that were deferred until 2021 can now be paid in instalments.



  • As at 20 September 2020, the total value of claims made under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) stands at £39.3 billion, covering 1.2 million employers and 9.6 million jobs.

  • From October employers will need to pay 10% of CJRS payments, plus NIC and pension liabilities.

  • SEISS saw 4.9 million claims adding up to £13.4 billion.

  • Taking the four loan schemes together, more than £58 billion of finance was approved. almost two-thirds of which was made up of the BBLS. This scheme provides 100% guarantees for lenders to over 1.25 million small borrowers.

  • On top of this, there’s the cost of one year’s business rates relief, plus grant funding and adjustments to social security benefits. The Office for Budget Responsibility now expects government borrowing to be £372.2 billion in 2020/21 compared to the Spring Budget estimate of £54.8 billion.



    Job Support Scheme
    The CJRS will end on 31 October and will be replaced by the Job Support Scheme (JSS) – a six-month scheme that opens on 1 November.


  • It’s open to any employer with a UK bank account and a UK PAYE scheme, but while all small and medium-sized enterprises will be eligible, large businesses need to show their business has been adversely affected. Large employers will also be expected not to pay dividends while using the scheme.

  • To qualify, employees need to work at least 33% of their normal hours.

  • The employer and the government will each pay one third of the employee’s usual pay for each hour not worked (the government contribution is capped at £697.92 a month). Those working at least one third of their normal hours will get at least 77% of full pay (subject to that cap). Employers will pay at least 55% of normal wages.

  • The government contribution will be paid in arrears to employers.

  • Employees must not have been put on notice of redundancy.

  • JSS claims won’t affect the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus announced in July.

    Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
    This scheme will be extended for six months from 1 November 2020, but with revised terms.

  • The new grant is only available to self-employed people who are eligible for the existing scheme and are actively trading, but seeing reduced demand because of the pandemic.

  • The extension provides two grants, the first of which will cover 20% of average monthly trading profits. This grant will cover three months, will be capped at £1,875 in total and paid out in a single instalment.

  • The second grant picks up in February, also for three months and the exact details will be released by the government soon.



    All four main loan schemes now have an extended closing application date set at 30 November.


    Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme


    Lenders will be allowed to extend the term of a loan provided under CBILS to up to ten years, with the same 80% government guarantee.


    Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme


    CLBILS will continue as is until the end of November.


    Bounce Back Loan Scheme


    This scheme offers loans of £2,000-£50,000 (capped at 25% of turnover) with a 100% government guarantee.


    The existing version has a repayment term of six years, but borrowers don’t have to make repayments for the first year, with the government covering interest payments for that period.


    The Chancellor has now announced new ‘Pay as You Grow’ options, which mean:


  • New and current borrowers can choose to repay their loan over a period of up to ten years.

  • UK businesses can temporarily move to interest-only payments for up to six months. They can use this option up to three times.

  • Businesses can instead choose to pause repayments for up to six months, although this option can only be used once, and only after six payments have been made.

    Future Fund

    This scheme, which offers matching convertible loans to innovative businesses will continue unchanged until the end of November.


    Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility


    This initiative is run by the Bank of England and is aimed at large businesses. It will stay in operation until 22 March 2021, but for organisations of strategic importance to the UK that have exhausted other options, the government may consider bespoke financial support.




    VAT on hospitality and tourism
    Back in July the government announced a reduced VAT rate, set at 5%, on food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, pubs, bars and cafés, as well as accommodation and admission to UK attractions. This was planned to continue until 12 January 2021, but has now been extended until 31 March.


    Deferring VAT
    Businesses that took the opportunity to defer VAT due in March until June 2020, will now have the option to spread payments over the financial year 2021/22 in 11 equal instalments. This new payment scheme is open to any business that chose to defer, however, it means opting in to a new process that HMRC plans to launch early next year.


    More time for Self-Assessment Tax Deferral


    Self-employed people and other taxpayers were also given the option to defer payments and they too will now have an extended payment period.


    Those with up to £30,000 in self-assessment liabilities can use HMRC’s self-service Time to Pay facility meaning self-assessment liabilities due in July 2020 don’t need to be paid in full until January 2022.


    For those who won’t be able to pay their tax bill on time (as well as those who can’t use the online service), HMRC’s Time to Pay Self-Assessment helpline will stay in place to help them to agree a payment plan.


    We’re here to help


    With the new COVID-19 restrictions that could last up to six months, followed quickly by the Chancellor’s new statement it’s clear that things aren’t returning to normal just yet. As this year closes out and we move into 2021 there are still some major challenges ahead.


    As always, we’re by your side and as we learn of any new developments we’ll be back in touch to make you aware of them, and help you to understand what they mean for you. In the meantime, if there’s anything you’d like to talk about we’re always here.