COVID-19: Support for UK businesses during the coronavirus outbreak

covid-19

Date

Mar 20, 2020

Categories

Covid-19

PAGE UPDATED 25/03/20

On Friday 20th March the Chancellor set out a package of measures to support public services, people and businesses through the period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

The package of measures to support businesses includes:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • A 3-month extension period to file company accounts
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

The best place to keep up to date with guidance direct from the government is by bookmarking the following links:

 

Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees

The Government will make legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

  • this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
  • employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  • employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that have symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
  • eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force
  • the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.
  • if you’re self employed, you can claim employment and support allowance from day one instead of day 8.

 

Support for businesses that pay business rates

There will be a business rates retail holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020/2021 tax year.
Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019/2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible. You won’t need to take any action – the relief will be applied to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, the government warns that the local authority may have to reissue your bill immediately to exclude the business rate charge. They’ll do this as soon as possible.

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to your relevant local authority. Guidance for local authorities on the business rates holiday is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-retail-discount-guidance.

The government will also review the long-term future of business rates, a property tax which many say is unfair given the rise of online shopping and out-of-town retail parks.

 

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property. For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000. For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.

You are eligible for the grant if:

  • your business is based in England
  • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

Accessing the scheme:
You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant. Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.

To find your local authority: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council.

 

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

Additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR) has been announced by the Government. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.

If your business is eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, you will be contacted by your local authority – you do not need to apply.  Guidance will be issued to local authorities by 1 April and they will write to businesses shortly thereafter with details of how to claim the grant.

You are eligible if:

  • your business is based in England
  • you are a small business and already receive SBRR and/or RRR
  • you are a business that occupies property

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority. To find your local authority: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council.

 

Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch shortly to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.

Please see full details in our dedicated Business Interruption Loan Scheme news page.  We will support any clients needing assistance with obtaining this support.

 

We understand that these are really challenging times for UK businesses, and we are always keen to do our best to help.  If you would like one of the team to call you and provide advice then please do email us and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

 

Summary
COVID-19: Support for UK businesses during the coronavirus outbreak
Article Name
COVID-19: Support for UK businesses during the coronavirus outbreak
Description
The Chancellor has set out a package of measures to support people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by coronavirus COVID-19.
Author
Publisher Name
Paish Tooth
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