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COVID support schemes coming to an end

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Published: 23 Sep 2021 Update History

On 30 September a range of government support packages to help businesses and individuals through the coronavirus pandemic will come to an end or change, including the furlough scheme and reduced SDLT rates in England. ICAEW insights provides a reminder of the changes.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

Commonly known as the furlough scheme, the CJRS has provided businesses affected by COVID-19 with grants paying a proportion of furloughed employees’ wages throughout the pandemic.

After several extensions, the scheme’s final grant period ends on 30 September. This means that from 1 October business must resume paying the full wages of their staff. Employers making a claim for September, must do so by the 14 October.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The government support scheme for those who are self-employed was also repeatedly extended providing a totally of five possible grants.

The final grant period under SEISS covers 1 May – 30 September, and the online portal through which claims are made closes on 30 September.

Stamp duty land tax rates – England and NI

After 30 September stamp duty land tax (SDLT) rates in England and Northern Ireland will return to pre-COVID levels.

Following an the initial “SDLT holiday” where no duties were due on the first £500,000 of a residential property’s value, rates changed on 1 July 2021 reducing the zero-rate band to £250,000. 

Table 1: SDLT rates
Table 1: SDLT rates

Rates ending 30 September 2021

Rates from 1 October 2021

0%

Up to £250,000

0%

Up to £125,000

5%

£250,001-£925,000

2%

£125,001-£250,000

10%

£925,001-£1.5m

5%

£250,001-£925,000

12%

Above £1.5m

10%

£925,001-£1.5m

12%

Above £1.5m

The residential property nil rate bands for the SDLT equivalents in Wales and Scotland which were also amended due to the coronavirus pandemic have already reverted back to pre-COVID levels. Scottish land and buildings transaction tax reverted on 1 April 2021 and Welsh land transaction tax reverted on 1 July 2021.

COVID sick pay rebate scheme

Employers are obliged to pay eligible employees unable to work because of sickness statutory sick pay (SSP), the full cost of which is met by the employer.

To support employers during the pandemic the government legislated to allow certain small and medium-sized employers to reclaim some, or all, of their SSP costs from HMRC via the coronavirus statutory sick pay rebate scheme.

The scheme claim period ends on 30 September, and any outstanding claims must be made by 31 December 2021.

Reduced VAT rates for hospitality

The temporary reduced rate of VAT introduced to support the hospitality sector during the pandemic changes on 1 October.

The government announced on 8 July 2020 that VAT for food, non-alcoholic drinks, accommodation and entry fees to attractions would be reduced from 20% to 5%. The reduced rate applied from 15 July 2020 until 12 January 2021, but was later extended until 31 March 2021 and then 30 September 2021.

From 1 October an increased reduced rate of 12.5% will apply until 31 March 2022 when the rate will revert to the 20% standard VAT rate.

Universal credit uplift

The £20-a-week uplift to universal credit which has been in place since the start of the pandemic is due to come to an end at the end of September.  

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