National lockdown begins on 5 November 2020

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Over the weekend the Prime Minister announced a four week national lockdown in order to avoid a “medical disaster”. No sooner was it announced, talk immediately turned to a possible extension as doubts were raised as to whether four weeks was enough time to have an impact on infection rates.

This lockdown will be a huge blow to many. The closure of hospitality, leisure, personal care services and non-essential retail will have a significant impact on these already stricken sectors and rob them of what would have been a chance to make up some lost ground during November’s build up to Christmas.
In an effort to cushion the blow, the Chancellor extended the Job Retention Scheme which was due to come to an end on 31st October. Now open until December, the Job Retention Scheme grant will be worth what it was back in August – 80% of wages for non worked hours (up to a maximum of £2,500) with employers paying National Insurance and pension contributions. The scheme is also now open to new entrants again as long as they were on the payroll by 23:39 on 30 October. We are still waiting for the Government to release more detail on the scheme. Take a look at Our Job Retention Scheme FAQ’s page which has the latest information available and will help answer some of your questions on this.
The Chancellor also increased the Self Employed Income Support Grant from 40% to 80% of profits up to a maximum of £5,160 for three months to January 2021. Plus there is now more time to apply for the government backed support loans – with the application deadlines extended to 31 January. The 6 month mortgage holidays that were due to end last Saturday will also now remain available to those who have not yet used it.
With no guarantees that the lockdown will end in four weeks, or whether this additional financial support will be enough to ease the hardship faced by so many, or even whether we will be able to see our families this Christmas – there is little to ease our worries for this winter.
If you need help, we would like to assist you in any way we can. We can help you access the support you need so please make contact with your usual Hillier Hopkins adviser or get in touch on 0330 024 3200 or hi@hhllp.co.uk.
For a detailed look at each of the support packages available, please visit our Guide to support page which contains a suite of help sheets to help you understand how they work and how to claim.