NEWS30 March 2020

Round-Up of Government Support for UK Businesses

The UK Government is offering financial support to help businesses who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.  Full details are available on the Government’s website.

A brief round-up is below:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – all UK employers with a PAYE scheme can access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant.

Business Interruption Loan Scheme – UK-based SMEs and the self-employed with an annual turnover of less than £45m can apply for an interest-free loan of up to £5m to help them through COVID-19 related difficulties. Loans are available for up to 6 years. Eligible organisations will have to prove they are viable businesses which have been trading successfully but just need support to deal with short term difficulties caused by the current disruption.

Bank of England’s COVID Corporate Financing Facility – Finance, under similar terms available prior to the pandemic, can be accessed by companies with an annual turnover of over £45m which need help to boost cash flow for periods of between one week and 12 months. Eligible companies much be in sound financial health, with a very high credit rating. This scheme is for funding requests of at least £1m.

 Support for Businesses Paying Sick Pay to Employees – Businesses with less than 250 employees can reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for absence of up to 2 weeks due to COVID-19.

Deferred VAT and Income Tax Payments – VAT payments can automatically be deferred from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. Self-assessment income tax payments due in July 2020 can be deferred until January 2020.

Time to Pay Tax Service – All businesses and the self-employed in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs. Arrangements will be agreed on a case by case basis. Please call HMRC’s helpline: 08000159559 to discuss further.

Small Business Grant Scheme – Businesses that occupy property and pay little or no business rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RR) and tapered relief can apply for a one off grant of £10,000 to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Self-Employment Income Support (SEISS) – The self-employed (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to Covid-19 can claim a taxable grant worth 80% of trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended.

It is also worth checking your commercial insurance policy. Most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics or unspecified notifiable diseases, such as COVID-19.

However, businesses that have an insurance policy that covers government ordered closure and pandemics or government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable disease should be able to make a claim (subject to the terms and conditions of their policy).