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Covid-19: Government Support Update

Added on: 21st March, 2020 by O1

Covid-19: Government Support Update

Last Updated:
Wed, 25 March 2020

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Along with the news that all cinemas, gyms and leisure centres, cafes, pubs and restaurants must close – except for takeaway food, the government outilned further support for business and workers through the Coronavirus.

On Friday 20th March, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, announced a combination of measures "unprecedented for a government of this nation" (read his full statement HERE).

Corona Virus Job Retention Scheme

Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month.

The scheme, open to any employer in the country, will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and will be open before the end of April for at least 3 months. There's no limit on the funding available for the scheme, the government have committed to supporting as many jobs as needed.


Corona Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be interest-free for twelve months rather than 6 as previously planned.

The scheme, expected to become available in week commencing 23 March 2020, provides the lender with a government-backed guarantee against the outstanding facility balance, potentially enabling a ‘no’ credit decision from a lender to become a ‘yes’.
You are eligible for the scheme if:

• your business is UK based, with turnover of no more than £45 million per year
• your business meets the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria


Deferred VAT and Income Tax Payments

Mr Sunak also announced that “to help businesses keep people in work” the government would defer the next quarter of VAT payments. No business will pay VAT from now to mid-June and businesses will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills. An injection of over £30bn, equivalent to 1.5% of GDP.

For the self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021


Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme

Some details on the provision of the previously announced cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses have also been released:

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.

Eligible businesses are those based in England, in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector using their business premises:

• 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

The government has said that that businesses do not need to do anything to access this scheme, and that local authorities will contact eligible businesses. Local authorities are awaiting government guidance on the provision of these grants.


Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

The government has also committed to providing additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR). This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs. In order to be eligible for this grant businesses must be:

• based in England
• a small business and already receive SBBR
• a business that occupies property

As with the Retail and hospitality grant scheme, the government has said that businesses do not need to do anything to access this scheme, and that local authorities will contact eligible businesses. Local authorities are awaiting government guidance on the provision of these grants.


Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Businesses

Local authority guidance on the Business Rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses has now been issued and includes a non-exhaustive list of those businesses which will be eligible. You can download the document HERE.

The government has said businesses do not need to apply for this relief – it will be automatically applied to your bill for 2020/21.


Support for businesses paying tax: Time to Pay service

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.

Businesses are elibile if they:

• pay tax to the UK government
• have outstanding tax liabilities


Government Guidance for Employees can be read here

For an overview of Corona Virus (Covid-19) click HERE

For the latest government advice click HERE

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