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With much of the country entering Tier 3 restrictions around Christmas, and Wales being put back into a stay at home lockdown from 28 December, it is inevitable that there would be further announcements made with respect to business-related COVID-19 measures.

Extension of furlough scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was initially supposed to end on 31 October 2020. However, this was extended to 31 March. On 17 December, the Chancellor announced that the scheme would be further extended to the end of April 2021. The government will therefore continue to pay 80% of the salaries of furloughed employees for an additional month. There are no changes to the eligibility criteria.

Extension of loan schemes

At the same time, the Chancellor also announced that the COVID-19 business loan schemes would be extended to the end of March 2021. There will also be support available after that date by way of a successor loan scheme.

Third SEISS grant deadline approaching

Self-employed individuals who wish to make a claim for the third self-employment income support (SEISS) grant for the period 1 November 2020 to 29 January 2021 must make their claim by 29 January 2021. Only businesses that were eligible for the first and second SEISS grants can claim. A claim should be made online here. The individual will need to keep evidence to demonstrate that the business has been impacted by COVID-19 in the claim period.

Budget

The Budget will take place on 3 March 2021. This will contain details of the next phase of COVID-19 support measures. It has also been speculated that there will be tax-related announcements with a view to increasing revenue to pay for the support offered during the pandemic. Whilst speculation is usual prior to Budget day, rumours may have more foundation this year given the current circumstances.

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