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Chancellor's Announcement

Today (Thursday 24th September) the Chancellor outlined his new "Winter Economy Plan" which we have tried to simplify here:


The good news is that the planned VAT increase in January from 5% to 20% has been cancelled. The 5% rate will remain until 31 March next year for the tourism and hospitality sector.

Businesses who deferred their VAT will no longer have to pay a lump sum at the end of March next year. Instead, they can split it into smaller, interest free payments over the course of 11 months to help with cash flow.

Job Support Scheme

As previously announced furlough will end on Saturday 31st October and will be replaced by the Job Support Scheme.

It is a six month scheme designed to "protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID 19".

Employees eligible for this scheme will receive at least 77% of their normal pay for working 33% of the time.

Employers will continue to pay the wages of staff for the hours they work - but for the hours not worked, the government and the employer will each pay one third of their equivalent salary.  This means the employer will pay 55% of normal salary for staff working 33% of the time.  This figure will increase if the staff work longer than 33% of their normal hours.

The level of government grant will be calculated based on the employee’s usual salary, capped at £697.92 per month.

All companies will be eligible to apply even if they did not use the furlough scheme.

It is targeted to small and medium sized businesses - larger businesses will need to prove they have been adversely affected by COVID.

Any employer who keeps a prevously furloughed employee in their employment can also apply for the Job Retention Bonus of £1000 to be paid in January (announced previously).

Self employed support is also being extended until the end of April,  covering 20% of average monthly trading profits.


For those businesses that took out the Government guaranteed Bounce Back Loan during the crisis, payback can now be extended from six years to ten years.

You can also move to interest only payments or suspend any payments for up to 18 months if you are in "real" trouble.

This will not affect your credit rating.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans payback will also be extended for up to ten years and there will be a new loan scheme available in January.

Prime Minister's Statement

At 12.30pm Tuesday 22nd September 2020

Effective now

  • Office workers who can work from home should do so.
  • In key public services, and in all professions where homeworking is not possible (such as construction and retail) people should continue to attend their workplaces.
  • Face masks are compulsory for bar staff and non-seated customers, shop workers, waiters and taxi drivers.

Effective from Thursday

  • Pubs, bars and restaurants must close at 10pm. This also extends to takeaways (although deliveries can continue afterwards).
  • For clarity, the premises must be closed at 10pm, not calling for last orders.
  • These premises are restricted to table service only.
  • Customers in indoor hospitality venues will also have to wear face masks, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.
  • COVID Secure guidelines for businesses in retail, hospitality, leisure and other sectors will be legally enforceable.
  • Shops, restaurants and other hospitality businesses risk closure or penalties of £10,000 if they do not obey the requirements around maximum group sizes, track and trace and mask wearing.
  • Fines for not wearing masks or following rules increase to £200 for first offence.
  • These restrictions are likely to last six months.
  • Wedding guests are reduced from 30 people to 15.

Important information

  1. The Prime Minister's statement can be read in full here.
  2. You must have a COVID risk assessment if you haven't already got one. Click here for a step by step guidance from You should update your risk assessment based on the latest Government guidelines
  3. Your business must follow the latest COVID-Secure guidance. Click here for the information. Don't forget you can also sign up (for free) to the Eastbourne COVID Ready quality assurance scheme. Click here for more information
  4. It is mandatory for a wider range of businesses and organisations (including hospitality, close contact services and leisure venues) to collect customer, visitor and staff contact detail logs for the purposes of track and trace. From this Thursday, businesses must display the official NHS QR posters. Our recommendation is that you take details of everyone at the table - although Government rules state that if there is more than one person you can record the details of the lead member of the group (up to 6). Full details are available here. To create your QR code - follow this link.
  5. Have you got adequate PPE equipment? You may find the EHA PPE Online Shop offers items at a cheaper rate. Click here for more info.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions on how the rules may affect your business. Email

Previous measures

  • From Monday 14 September it will not be possible to meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than six. This will apply indoors and outdoors, including in private homes. Education and work settings are unaffected;
  • Businesses will have a clear duty to support NHS Test and Trace. From Friday 18 September, it will be mandatory for certain businesses to have a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data, which must be kept for 21 days.

More information about the measures is available at: . This also provides a link to simplified COVID-19 Secure guidance published today.

A video - Hands Face Space - can meanwhile be seen at: