Coronavirus -What support is available to businesses today?
Updated: Mar 20, 2020
Understandably the information that is coming out from the government is piecemeal, the purpose of this post is to put together the information that we know so far by business type:-
Businesses with employees
Coronaviris Job Retention Scheme
This scheme is to keep employees in employment after this pandemic. So relates to employees that would have been laid off due to the change in economic climate as a result of the coronaviris.
The government will back 80% of and employees salary up to a monthly cap of £2,500. To make the claim the employer has to:
designate the employee as a 'furloughed worker' and notify the employee of the change (at this point it maybe worthwhile getting HR advice)
submit details about the employees and their earnings through a new HMRC portal (details about the portal are still to be released)
Furloughed workers can not work during the period that they are designated as furloughed.
Based on the initial information available this is unlikely to cover employees that can't work due to childcare nor does it cover sole director businesses.
Employers with less than 250 employees (including Director only payrolls) will be able to reclaim SSP for up to two weeks per employee and no GP sick note is required but you will need to provide details of employee absences.
Details of how repayment is due to be received has not been announced yet.
Businesses with premises that are registered for Business Rates
Small business rates grant
Businesses in premises that have a rateable value of less that £15,000 qualify for small business rates relief. These businesses will receive £10,000 automatically from the local authority. Correspondence is due to be issued directly to the business that is registered at the relevant premises.
The only action now is to ensure that you are correctly registered for business rates at your premises.
If you work from home or have a lease where rates are included in the rent, then unfortunately from the information that I can see your business won’t be eligible for this grant. This may change when the full details is published.
Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Businesses
Businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive a 12 month holiday from paying business rates.
They will also receive a £25,000 cash grant per business, again from the local authority. As per the small business rates grant correspondence will be received from the local authority.
Again, please ensure that you are correctly registered for business rates, including the business activity as presumably the eligibility criteria will be based on this.
Details of the eligibility for these grants will be published by 20th March.
Businesses that don't qualify for grants
Local authorities are open to negotiations with businesses to provide a payment plan for rates.
Sole Trade clients
Help for the self-employed is in the form of Universal Credit and the Employment Support Allowance. In the budget last week, it was announced HMRC were removing the minimum income for universal credit and the employment and support allowance is available from day 1, to come into line with statutory sick pay.
Both of these can be claimed online and further information can be found in the links below:
If your work stops because of the Coronavirus or you have to go into self-isolation then this is what these measures are for.
The 31st July 2020 payment on account has been delayed to 31st January 2021.
There is also help from the Business Loan interruption scheme, Insurance claims and if you are struggling to pay tax (details are below).
Alock Sharma has said on a interview today that the self employed are being reviewed and further announcements will be made.
This is a claimable event for insurance so please check to see what cover is in place. Unfortunately, a lot of policies will exclude events of this nature.
Support Paying HMRC
HMRC have extended their time to pay scheme and have released a COVID-19 helpline for businesses that are worried about paying their tax. The number is 0800 0159 559.
Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Eligible businesses will be able to borrow up to £5m of finance with the first 12 months being interest free. Eligibility criteria is as follows:
UK based businesses with tunover no more than £45,
Operate in an eligible industry
You have had no state aid in excess of €200,000 in the current and previous two fiscal years
Be unable to meet a lenders normal lending requirements for a fully commercial loan or other facility
Full details will be available w/c 23 March 2020
How we can help
We are trying to release details of the updates as they are released, the main issue is the delay between the announcements and the detail. There is a lot of information to digest so we are trying to keep it as plain and simple as possible.
We will be offering help and assistance to clients in making applications for the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, we are also looking to partner with a lending platform to help get other forms of finance if necessary.
Even though the office Is closing on Friday we are around by e-mail, telephone and virtual meeting if you do have any concerns.