Latest COVID-19 updates: 20 April

20 April 2020

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has opened for applications for businesses who have put staff on furlough due to COVID-19.

HMRC has published step-by-step guidance on how to make a CJRS claim including a calculator to help you work out your claim.

The online system can process up to 450,000 applications per hour and employers should receive the money within six working days of making an application. To receive payment by 30 April, you will need to complete an application by 22 April. Please keep a note or printout of your claim reference number as you will not receive a confirmation SMS or email.

HMRC are also holding webinars providing an overview of the scheme to help employers and employees deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Further updates to the CJRS eligibility guidance include:

  • Moving the eligibility date from 28 February to 19 March
  • How to report fraud or abuse of the scheme
  • Clarifying how holiday pay should be treated

Further clarifications on agency workers and fixed-term contracts and on claims for employees made redundant 

Recovery planning

Today, the Chancellor spoke about planning for recovery and the need to encourage businesses and jobs of the future, to drive growth. Two initiatives to support this have been launched: 

  • A £500 million Future Fund for high growth companies, helping them to access the financial support they need. The Future Fund will provide UK-based early stage companies with convertible loans between £125,000 and £5 million. This fund is subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.
  • Innovate UK, £750 million of funding for innovative firms across the UK.

The new initiatives are part of a £1.25 billion government support package announced on Friday to help UK businesses driving innovation and development through the COVID-19 outbreak. 

In addition, councils across England will receive another £1.6 billion in additional funding as they continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.