Support for Individuals

Support for Individuals

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • For the first time in our history the Government will help pay people’s wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Workers across the UK are eligible to be “furloughed” by their employer, and paid a grant that covers 80% of their monthly wage, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month – above the median income.
  • The Government will also cover the business’ Employer National Insurance contributions and auto-enrolment pension contributions.
  • The scheme is available for any employee paid via PAYE across the UK – that’s over 29 million people. Furloughed employees must have been on their employers’ PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and HMRC must have received an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before the 19 March 2020 (the day before the announcement was made).
  • It is a temporary scheme in place for 4 months, starting from 1 March 2020. On Tuesday 12 May, the scheme was extended for a further four months until the end of October - that's a total of eight months support.
  • From July – one month earlier than previously announced – furloughed workers can return to work part-time.
    • There will be no minimum furlough period (previously three weeks), and the scheme will be closed to new entrants.
    • From August, employers will be asked to start contributing towards some of the costs of their salaries.
    • During this period, workers will continue to receive 80 per cent of their wages, up to £2,500 a month.
  • The updates mean that the following will apply to furloughed workers during this period:
    • For June and July, nothing will change for employers and the Government will continue to pay 80 per cent of people’s salaries.
    • From August, employers will be asked to pay just Employer NICs and pension contributions – 5 per cent of average gross employment costs. The government will continue to pay 80 per cent of wages, up to a cap of £2,500.
    • From September, employers will pay Employer NICs and pension contributions, and 10 per cent of wages to make up 80 per cent total, up to a cap of £2,500. The Government will pay 70 per cent of wages up to a cap of £2,190 for the hours the employee does not work.
    • From October, employers will pay Employer NICs and pension contributions, and 20 per cent of wages to make up 80 per cent total, up to a cap of £2,500. The Government will pay 60 per cent of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work. 
    • Read further information about these changes here.
  • Check if you can claim.
  • Check which employees you can put on furlough.
  • Steps to take before calculating your claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
  • Calculate how much you should claim.
  • Claim for your employees’ wages online
  • Report a payment in PAYE Real Time Information.
  • 9.4 million people have been furloughed – worth over £28 billion to over 1.2 million businesses. 

Job Retention Bonus

  • the Government is introducing a new Job Retention Bonus to provide additional support to employers who keep on their furloughed employees in meaningful employment, after the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends on 31 October 2020.
  • The Job Retention Bonus is a one-off payment to employers of £1,000 for every employee who they previously claimed for under the scheme, and who remains continuously employed through to 31 January 2021.
  • Eligible employees must earn at least £520 a month on average between the 1 November 2020 and 31 January 2021. Employers will be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus after they have filed PAYE for January and payments will be made to employers from February 2021.
  • Further details can be found online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/job-retention-bonus/job-retention-bonus

Welfare Support

  • The Government has provided an £8 billion boost to the welfare system:
    • Increased the Universal Credit standard allowance by £1,000 for the next 12 months
    • Boosted Working Tax Credit by the same amount for the next 12 months.
      • These measures will benefit existing and new claimants, which include the 2.5 million existing UC claimants, 1.5 million Working Tax Credit claimants, and 2.6 million new UC claimants.
    • Temporarily suspended the Universal Credit minimum income floor for 12 months – meaning self-employed people can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate that is equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees.
    • Increased the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and housing benefit claimants, so it covers the cheapest third of local rents – that’s over 1.3 million people.
    • Extended Statutory Sick Pay for those ill, self-isolating or social shielding due to Covid-19 – and made it payable from day 1, not day 4. A doctor’s note can be obtained via NHS 111.
    • Acted so that those on contributory Employment and Support Allowance can now claim from day 1, not day 8.
    • Relaxed the requirement for anyone to physically attend a jobcentre – meaning everything can be done by phone or online.
  • More information on the different benefits available, including eligibility criteria and information on how to claim, can be found at www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support. The majority of benefits can be claimed online.
  • Individuals with additional questions should contact DWP or HMRC directly, and contact details for the different benefits are available through the link above.
  • All welfare measures have now been introduced. There were 2.6 million new Universal Credit claims from 16 March to the end of 12 May.

Hardship Fund

  • The Government understands that it is critical that additional financial support is provided to affected people and their families at this difficult time. Local councils in England are being given an additional £500 million to support the most vulnerable people in society meet their council tax payments over the coming year.
  • The Government has requested that local authorities use the funding to provide all recipients of working age local council tax support a further reduction in their annual council tax bill of £150.
  • This funding is in addition to the £3.4 billion which local authorities already spend on LCTS schemes each year, benefitting around 3.8 million people.
  • Eligibility criteria differs between local authority schemes, but most schemes are aligned to other existing benefits, such as Universal Credit. 
  •  The Hardship Fund grant has been distributed among local authorities in England. We expect bills to be reduced as soon as possible.

Mortgage Holidays

  • For those in difficulty due to coronavirus, the Government has introduced a three-month mortgage holiday – so that people will not have to pay a penny towards their mortgage while they get back on their feet.
  • The Government has also extended the mortgage holiday to Buy to Let landlords struggling because of tenants being unable to meet their rental repayments.
  • The Coronavirus Act prevents landlords from attempting to evict tenants for at least a three month period – this applies to both private and social renters.
  • On Friday 22 May, the Government extended the scheme so homeowners are able to extend their mortgage payment holiday for a further three months, or start making reduced payments.
  • Lenders across the industry have agreed to introduce a simpler notification process for customers to apply – they should get in touch with their lender at the earliest opportunity to discuss if this is a suitable option for them.
  • The FCA has also issued guidance which ensures that all regulated mortgage lenders should offer customers a 3-month mortgage holiday for those who are financially struggling due to Covid-19 – this is available at: https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/mortgages-coronavirus-guidance-firms.
  • As of Friday 22 May, over 1.9 million mortgage payment holidays have been granted – equivalent to one in six UK mortgages.

Eviction Moratorium

  • Provisions in the Coronavirus emergency legislation mean that landlords must give people three months’ notice if they plan to evict them, and cover most tenants in the private and social rented sectors.
  • On 5th June 2020, the Government announced a further two month extension of the moratorium on evictions, which will now end on 23 August. This takes the moratorium on evictions to a total of five months. Eviction hearings will not be heard in courts until the end of August.
  • As the housing market has now reopened and the broader economy is starting to do so as well, late summer is the right time to bring this extraordinary arrangement to a close.

IR35 Reforms Delay

  • The Government recognises that people will be concerned about the effect Covid-19 may have on their lives, and some businesses will be concerned about increased costs and disruption to their cash flow.
  • The Government has delayed reforms intended to ensure that people working like employees, but through their own limited company, pay broadly the same tax as individuals who are employed directly.
  • The Government recognise the reform is a significant change for both businesses and contractors, so it is right to delay introduction until April 2021 to allow businesses to adjust to these changes in good time. 

Support for Consumers

  • On 9 April, the FCA announced a series of measures intended to provide emergency support to consumers who are facing temporary cash flow problems.
  • The Government is providing consumers with 0% interest on the first £500 of an arranged overdraft for three months – consumers without arranged overdrafts may request this facility.
  • The Government will allow consumers either a 3-month payment holiday or to make nominal payments towards credit cards, store cards, catalogue credit and certain personal loan agreements.
  • Customers should contact their lender if they are experiencing short-term cash flow problems. Further information is available at: https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/coronavirus-information-personalloans-….
  • Anyone holding an advance ticket will be able to refund it free of charge.
    • All season ticket holders can claim a refund for time unused on their tickets.
    • Ticket holders should contact their retailer for details.
  • Find out how to recognise when contact from HMRC is genuine, and how to recognise phishing or bogus emails and text messages: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/genuine-hmrc-contact-and-rec… 

Support for Rough Sleepers

  • The Government has committed an additional £3.2 million for local authorities to tackle rough sleepers, ensuring that we minimise the risk to those unable to self-isolate. This is on top of the £492 million already committed to address homelessness and rough sleeping in 2020/21, and the £3.2 billion support for councils during Covid-19.
  • Local authorities in England will be able to claim back funding in arrears based on the number of rough sleepers recorded at the last annual snapshot. This funding can be used to accommodate any rough sleeper or person at imminent risk of sleeping rough who is unable to self-isolate. It can be used to reimburse costs that have been incurred accommodating rough sleepers. It can be spent on the net cost of accommodation, or any other services required to allow a rough sleeper to self-isolate for the required period.
  • By accelerating plans for the £381 million announced for rough sleeping services at Budget - now extended to £433 million - funding will ensure that 6,000 new housing units will be put into the system, with 3,300 of these becoming available in the next 12 months. 
  • Once in their new home, rough sleepers will be supported by specialist staff to access the help they need, such as support for mental health or substance abuse problems, so they can rebuild their lives, move towards training and work, and remain off the streets for good.
  • The plans are being pulled together by the Rough Sleeping Covid 19 Response Taskforce, led by Dame Louise Casey, bringing together local government, charities, faith groups, public sector partners and businesses in order to use the coronavirus crisis and current successful work so far in bringing ‘everyone in’ as a catalyst towards ending rough sleeping for good.
  • As of 1 May 2020, over 90% (more than 5,400) of those on the streets at the beginning of the crisis and known to local authorities have been offered safe accommodation.
  • Under a new £266 million housing fund for vulnerable people, the Next Steps Accommodation Programme, councils and their local partners can apply for funds to cover property costs and support new tenancies for those that have been provided with emergency accommodation during the pandemic. Over half of this funding will be used to provide over 3,000 additional supported homes this year for those currently housed in emergency accommodation, part of our total effort to provide 6,000 longer-term, safe homes for those in need.
  • A £6 million of emergency funding has provided relief for frontline homelessness charitable organisations. Following a successful bidding process, over 130 charities across England have benefitted from that fund.
  • Government support for homelessness and rough sleepers now stands at over half a billion pounds this year.
  • Dame Louise Casey is spearheading a new taskforce with one overriding objective: to ensure that as many people as possible who have been brought in do not return to the streets. 

Utility Bills

  • The Government has agreed measures with the energy industry to help people and businesses.
  • Suppliers have frozen energy disconnections for those on regular credit meters.
  • For those with prepaid meters who are unable to top up due to self-isolation, suppliers may offer postal delivery of top-up credit or automated addition to accounts.
  • Energy firms are also offering forbearance to vulnerable customers on a voluntary basis.
  • The Government has also agreed measures with the UK’s major telecommunications providers to support vulnerable consumers.
  • Ofwat is working with the water industry to support households struggling to pay water bills.
  • Consumers are encouraged to contact their providers as soon as possible.

Debt Support:

  • We know that some people are struggling with their finances during this difficult time, which is why we want to make sure people can access the help and support they need to manage their debts and get their finances back on track.
  • That is why an extra £37.8 million support package will be available to debt advice providers this year (20-21) so they can continue to provide essential services to help more people who are struggling with their finances due to coronavirus. This extra funding comes on top of the unprecedented package we have put in place to support individuals, businesses and the economy through the coronavirus outbreak.

Further Support:

  • Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland will receive a funding boost of up to £15 million to help them deal with increased demand for advice and information from the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • This funding will help them to continue to deliver their services remotely as well as ensuring their online content reflects the most up to date advice. It will allow them to increase their capacity so they can continue to deliver advice on a range of issues, such as if a person cannot pay their bills due to Coronavirus, or how they can protect themselves from or report a coronavirus-related scam. Contact Citizens Advice Wolverhampton here (external website).

Page Last Updated: 02/08/2020.