The post-furlough plan – what does this mean for dentistry?
It’s been six months since the government introduced the furlough scheme in a bid to save jobs, businesses and the economy.
As the scheme heads towards expiry at the end of next month, Chancellor Rishi Sunak today unveiled the next steps for the UK.
Over the last half a year, the dental profession was able to access some of the government’s previous financial support.
This includes the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CIBLS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS). Indeed, a new study revealed that 52% of practices relied on either one of the loans.
So, how is the latest package of financial measures relevant to dentistry?
Job support scheme
The new measure is essentially replacing the furlough scheme, which is set to end on 31st October 2020.
It will see the government subsidise the wages of employees who work fewer hours than they did pre pandemic. For it to apply, employees have to work at least one third (33%) of their normal hours.
One of the most important points is that it will open to dental practices even if they did not take advantage of the furlough scheme.
The government and employer will each cover one third of the lost pay, and all small and medium size businesses are eligible. And if larger businesses witnessed a drop in turnover during lockdown, they will also qualify.
Starting in November and capped at £697.92 each month, it is currently set to last for half a year.
This has been available over lockdown but is set to be extended.
For those individuals who qualify for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme Grant, a grant will be available. It will cover six months’ of profits, starting in November.
For the first three months, 20% of profits will be covered with a cap of £1,875. The grant level of the final three months will be set at a later date.
Like before, however, an individual’s annual profit can be no more than £50,000.
Both the CIBLS and BBLS been extended from six to 10 years, meaning monthly payments will almost half.
The deadline for the end of the loan scheme has been extended, now running until the end of November. For those businesses that are struggling, they can opt in to pay interest-only payments for six months.
If any of the above options are taken, the credit ratings of businesses will not fall.
Protect vital patient services
‘The Chancellor’s new measures will be welcome news for dental practitioners, many of whom are struggling to recover from the impact of lockdown,’ said Michael Copeland, senior area manager at Wesleyan.
‘The Job Support Scheme announced today could help practices avoid redundancies and protect vital patient care services. It could also provide a further incentive for practices to bring back furloughed staff– supporting the profession’s efforts to resume a wider range of services.
‘Extensions to the repayment terms of BBLS and CBILS will also help practices as they can keep essential cash in their business for longer. Together, steps like these will support the sector’s ongoing recovery – so essential to the wider wellbeing of the nation.’
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