The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a sweeping range of financial measures to try to minimise the impact of Coronavirus on the economy.
Estate agencies of all sizes are expected to be able to benefit from at least some of the measures announced this evening.
The chief measures are:
- Government grants will cover 80 per cent of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month - that’s above UK median earnings level. The scheme, open to any employer in the country, will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1 and will be open before the end of April for at least three months. There's no limit on the funding available for the scheme, and the government says it will pay to support as many jobs as needed;
- The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will not be interest-free, as previously planned, for six months – it will be for 12 months. Those loans will now be available on Monday. british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/co…
- To help businesses keep people in work, the next quarter of VAT payments will be deferred. No business will pay VAT from now to mid June and will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills. That's over £30 billion injected into businesses;
- The government is increasing the Universal Credit standard allowance, for the next 12 months, by £1,000 a year; the Working Tax Credit basic element by the same amount. These measures will benefit just over four million households;
- Taken together, this all adds up to over £6 billion of extra support through the welfare system;
- The next self-assessment payments for the self-employed will be deferred until Jan 2021;
And Chancellor Rishi Sunak completed his announcement by saying: “For renters, I’m announcing today nearly £1 billion of support by increasing the generosity of housing benefit and Universal Credit, so that the Local Housing Allowance will cover at least 30 per cent of market rents in your area.”
In addition, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that all pubs, clubs, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theatres, entertainment centres, gyms and leisure centres will close from this evening for an indefinite period - the UK will be in lockdown.