No Budget, but what is Rishi’s Winter Economy Plan?

28 September 2020
3 min read
Published:

On the same day that new coronavirus restrictions came into force across the UK, chancellor Rishi Sunak laid out his Winter Economy Plan – this year’s Budget is, of course, postponed.

As we move into the next phase of the government’s response to the pandemic, this plan is intended to support the economy and give further reassurances to businesses and workers.

Here are the main points for dentists and dental practice owners:

Job Support Scheme

To replace furlough, or the Job Retention Scheme, which ends on October 31, the Job Support Scheme (JSS) will begin on November 1. The JSS will run for six months, with Mr Sunak making it clear that businesses will not be able to make workers who are on this scheme redundant throughout its duration.

The JSS is a targeted measure; all small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are eligible, even if they did not furlough; larger businesses will have to prove that their turnover has fallen.

How does it work? Eligible employees must work a minimum of one third of their hours. For hours not worked, the government and employer will each pay a third of the ‘lost’ salary, up to the cap of £697.92 per month. An example would be someone on a salary of £2k monthly, but working 50 per cent of their hours, would receive £1k normal monthly pay, plus £333 each from the government and their employer, so £1,666 in total.

If you are the employer, you will be reimbursed in arrears for the government contribution. Also, you’ll still be able to claim your job retention bonus.

For self-employed workers, the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is being extended, again, to April 2021, albeit on a revised basis. The new terms include that it will only be available to self-employed individuals currently eligible for the existing scheme, who are still actively trading, but facing a reduced demand for their services as a result of the pandemic. The SEISS is not available to directors who trade as limited companies, such individuals are considered self-employed.

Loan arrangements and Pay as you Grow

The application deadline date on the existing business loan schemes is now November 30. Judging by the number of queries I have had since the spring, of most interest to dental practices are the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL).

The BBLS is a 100 per cent government guaranteed loan for up to £50k, limited to 25 per cent of your business’ turnover. There are new “Pay as you Grow” options for BBLSs, to allow new and existing borrowers to extend their loans from six to 10 years, with other options available if they need help, including a temporary move to interest-only repayments, or to pause repayments for a period of time.

If you took out a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL), lenders can now extend the term of the loan to up to 10 years.

Self-assessment – more time to pay

If you are registered for self-assessment and used the provision to defer for payments on account back in July, you’ll get more time to pay and it won’t have to be in a lump sum either, rather instalments.  

So, if you’re a taxpayer with up to £30k of self-assessment liabilities due, HMRC’s self-service online Time to Pay facility will allow you to secure a plan to pay and liabilities originally due in July 2020 now won’t need to be paid in full until January 2022.

Also, for all self-assessment taxpayers who are unable to pay their tax bill on time but owe more than £30k, there is also support; contact HMRC by telephone or discuss your circumstances with your specialist dental accountant.

As always, it’s about being pragmatic, decisive, confident and prepared. At Lansdell and Rose, most of our dental clients have coped well, adjusted to these challenging times and have continued to thrive, with new protocols and processes in place that are working efficiently. To gain the maximum benefit from your business, we’ll help you look for opportunities to optimise your cash flow and your profits. Winter is coming but blink and it’ll soon be spring again – so you won’t have long to wait to reap the benefits of any changes you make and measures you take.

For more information call 020 7376 9333 or visit www.lansdellrose.co.uk