The new levels for England have been announced with parts of the east and south-east moved to level 3. Wales have announced a lockdown from December 28. In Scotland, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and East Lothian will all be upgraded from level two to level three. Northern Ireland has just emerged from a two-week lockdown with a proposed new six-week lockdown. To provide financial assistance, the leave program has been extended until the end of April 2021 and the government-guaranteed Covid-19 business loan programs will be extended until the end of March.
The result of the level changes will see 100% (over 3 million) people in Wales locked out after Christmas, 100% (1.8 million) people in Northern Ireland likely locked out, 80% of the Scottish population (over 4 million people) in Level 3 (out of 5 levels) and 68% of the English population (38 million people) in the highest level 3. In England, only Cornwall, Isles of Scilly, Isle of Wight and Herefordshire (about to upgrade from level 2) will be level 1.
Impact of e-commerce
This means for e-commerce that there will be no slowdown in the new year. Yes, Christmas will be behind us, but if too many households decide to join in the 5-day Christmas relaxation, there will most certainly be a spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths in January and February. There is no prospect that a significant proportion of the population will be vaccinated before at least Easter and many will stay home and shop online.
EBay Kickstart Support
If you are one of the lucky eCommerce businesses that stay busy in the New Year, remember that you can actually get a free staff member as well as eBay training for them, eBay Fee Credits of 500 £ and commercial support from Adecco.
The Kickstart program is administered through the FSB portal, with the government covering 100% of the cost of a six-month internship, including the national minimum wage, national insurance, and age-matched pension contributions, 25 hours per week. The Kickstart program aims to provide internships to young people aged 16 to 24 who are at risk of long-term unemployment and who are currently receiving universal benefits.
Covid-19 Business Loan Leave and Extensions Program
Rishi Sunak announced that the leave scheme has been extended until the end of April 2021, with the government continuing to contribute 80% to wages – giving UK businesses and employees certainty until Easter. Hopefully this will prevent another round of layoffs, although some companies are still unable to pay their contributions, which are wages, National Insurance Contributions (NICS) and pensions for hours worked; and NICS and pensions for hours not worked.
To ensure businesses can access the support they need in the event of continued economic disruption, Rishi Sunak has also confirmed that he will extend government-guaranteed Covid-19 business loan programs until the end of March.
These changes precede the budget, which the Chancellor has confirmed will take place on March 3, 2021. This will provide the next phase of the plan to fight the virus and protect jobs, so extensions of business loan programs and time off allows businesses to plan with certainty and access support in the first few months of the new year ahead of the subsequent update of wider economic support for Covid-19.
“Our business and worker support program continues to be one of the most generous and effective in the world, helping our economy recover and protecting livelihoods across the country.
We know that high-end businesses rely on certainty, so it’s right that we allow businesses to plan ahead for whatever path the virus takes, which is why we’re providing certainty and clarity by extending that. support, as well as implementing our plan for Works. “
– Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer