26th March 2020
The UK Government has announced a raft of measures and support for individuals, businesses, employers and employees to help them through the Covid-19 / Coronavirus crisis.
Details of all the current grants and business support can be found on the dedicated Gov.uk website page which is being updated daily:
The key announcements that will apply to our clients and the majority of SMEs and individuals include:
- A Job Retention Scheme – This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the payroll, otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant.
- SSP eligibility changes – New legislation will allow small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.
- A Business Interruption Loan Scheme – To support SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years.
- A Small Business Grant Scheme – This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs. Open to small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief.
The Government appears to be acting at pace to try and provide financial support to as many people as possible affected by the crisis. However, many of the schemes require significant behind the scenes work to get set up and so we are witnessing a delay in the flow of grants and loans.
In the meantime the Government, working with HMRC, Companies House, utility companies, banks and building societies, have put in place a series of measures and deferments to assist short term cash flow. These include:
- Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments due in the next 3 months (to June 2020) can be deferred and repaid over the remainder of the tax year.
- Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system can be deferred until January 2021.
- 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.
- Businesses can apply for an additional 3 months to file accounts to Companies House.
- 3-Month mortgage payment holidays for homeowners and buy-to-let rentals.
- Protection from eviction for commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19, meaning no business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment up until 30 June.
- Most local councils are offering to defer council tax payments for those in financial difficulty, as are most water and energy suppliers.
As noted above, we await granular detail on the eligibility, application process and terms for a number of these measures, but information is beginning to flow. If you need help or would like to discuss your own affairs please contact us today.