In the budget on 3 March 2021, the Chancellor announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the CJRS) would be extended until the end of September 2021. The CJRS was due to end on 30 April 2021, but with many restrictions (in particular in the hospitality and leisure sectors) not being fully lifted until June at the earliest, the Chancellor was under pressure to extend the scheme. There are however changes to eligibility criteria and contributions under the scheme.
From 30 April 2021 until 30 June employees who are placed on furlough under the CJRS will continue to receive 80% salary capped at £2,500 per month for the hours not worked. However, from 1 July changes to the CJRS will be as follows:
- The Government grant will reduce to 70% with the employer contributing 10% of the salary costs for hours not worked. Employers will remain responsible for employer NICs and pension contributions.
- In August and September 2021, the Government grant will reduce to 60% and employers will pay the additional 20% in addition to the employer NICs and pension contributions.
The Chancellor also widened access to the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) by extending the eligibility to those who have filed a 2019-20 Self-Assessment tax return, suggesting that an additional 600,000 more people will have access to the grant. The fourth grant under the SEISS, for which these people will be eligible, will run from February until April covering up to 80% of three months trading profits up to £7,500. There will be a fifth grant from May to September. For those self-employed traders whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more they will get the 80% grant. Those whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will receive a 30% grant, capped at £2,850.
The Budget also contained details of the Government’s plans to invest over £100 million in a Taxpayer Protection Taskforce of 1,265 HMRC staff to combat fraud within Covid-19 support packages which include the CJRS and SEISS.