COVID-19 update 18/03/20 – Businesses

The current situation surrounding COVID-19 is a concern for businesses. Things are changing daily and with more and more updates planned we will be releasing new information as fast as we can to keep you up to date.

Below, we have outlined measures that the chancellor has implemented to support businesses through this period of disruption.

The measures in place to support businesses include:

  • A statutory sick pay relief package.
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief.
  • 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 to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressure by seeking additional finance.
  • The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

 

Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees:

The government will 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 is as follows:

If you are in receipt of a salary from your limited company, you will be entitled to reclaim £94.25 per week for two weeks, if you are too ill to work.

If you have employees, you will also be able to claim £94.25 per week for two weeks, if they are unable to work due to illness. You must keep a record of all staff absences.

The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible

 

Support for businesses who pay business rates:

The government is giving retail, hospitality and leisure businesses a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months.

You should contact your local council for any questions regarding eligibility and reliefs.

Further guidance on the business rates holiday will be published by 20 March.

 

Support for businesses who pay little or no business rates

The government will provide additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR). This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR to help meet their ongoing business costs.

If your business is eligible for SBRR, you should be contacted by your local authority – you do not need to apply.

 

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 next week to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.

Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as the government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.

We are awaiting more information to be released regarding these loans, however, in the meantime, we would suggest you contact your bank to request further information.

 

Support for businesses paying tax

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

 

Insurance

Businesses that have cover for pandemics or government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020.

We would suggest you check the terms and conditions of your specific policy and contact your insurance provider. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.

 

IR35

Finally, some good news… Chief Treasury Secretary Steve Barclay has announced that to help ease the impact of COVID-19 on UK businesses, the Government will postpone the introduction of IR35 until 6 April 2021.

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