Business Support - COVID-19

With the recent government announcements regarding COVID-19, we understand that you require the latest information in order to make sound business decisions. Our website includes information on the package of temporary, targeted measures to support businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. The package includes:

  • extended access to Statutory Sick Pay
  • Business Rate Relief for small businesses and pubs
  • grant funding of £10,000 for small firms in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief
  • a temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support businesses in accessing bank lending and overdrafts
  • expanded access to HMRC’s Time to Pay scheme.

This is a fast-moving area and the government will publish the details of further measures on: https://bit.ly/33vU1cD.

The measures announced to support businesses including the significant package of measures announced on 17 March 2020:

  • grant funding of £10,000 for small firms in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for certain businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors
  • a temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support businesses in accessing bank lending and overdrafts
  • extended access to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), with reliefs available to SMEs
  • expanded access to HMRC's Time to Pay scheme.

Increases and extensions to business rates reliefs

On 17 March the Chancellor announced that the business rates discount will be increased to 100% and expanded further to include all hospitality, retail and leisure businesses, no matter what their rateable value, for the 2020/21 tax year.

Many small businesses pay little or no business rates because of SBRR. The government will supply funding for local authorities in England, which will provide one-off £10,000 grants to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief. In addition, one-off grants of £25,000 will be available to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from premises with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

 

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The government will increase the scope of the Business Interruption Loan Scheme announced in the Budget from £1.2 million to £5 million, with no interest due for the first six months.

Extended access to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

SSP entitlement will begin from the first day of sickness absence, rather than the fourth, for those who have COVID-19,or self-isolate in accordance with government guidance.

SSP relief for SMEs

Small and medium-sized businesses will be allowed to reclaim SSP paid for absence due to COVID-19. The refund will cover up to two weeks' SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19. Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible, with the size of an employer being 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 as a result of COVID-19. Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.

The eligible period for the scheme commenced the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to self-isolators came into force on 13 March 2020. The government intends to work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. It stated that existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP.

Expanded access to Time to Pay

The government will ensure that businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs.

HMRC has set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline, on 0800 0159 559, for those in need, and they may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. Time to Pay gives businesses a time-limited deferral period on HMRC liabilities owed and a pre-agreed time period to pay these back.

We are here to help and advise you in these difficult times. The latest government guidance can be found by accessing GOV.UK coronavirus webpage.