COVID 19 government support
Budget 2020 or (the “Corona Budget”) announced various forms of Government support for business.
The full details are not yet available but we have summarised below what we know so far, along with links to websites that may be useful and we’ll post more updates as details become available .
This link takes you the full Government announcement https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19
- SME employers will be to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
- this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
- employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be 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 (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
- employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
- eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolators comes into force
- the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP
- Business Rates retail discount will be increased to 100% for one year and expanded it to the leisure and hospitality sectors, and increase the planned rates discount for pubs to £5,000.
- businesses that received the retail discount in 2019-20 will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible
- those businesses eligible for the newly expanded retail discount and/or the new pubs discount may need to apply to their local authority to receive the discount https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-business-rate-relief/retail-discount
- any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to the relevant local authority
- guidance for local authorities on the application of the expanded retail discount will be published by MHCLG by 20 March
- £2.2 billion 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 £3,000 to around 700,000 business currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs. For a property with a rateable value of £12,000, this is one quarter of their rateable value, or comparable to 3 months of rent. It’s likely this will need to be applied for through your local council.
- A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch in a matter of weeks to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. Loans will be guaranteed up to 80% by the government. The Scheme will support loans of up to £1.2 million in value from an initial £1bn pot
Mark Storey, Partner within BHP’s debt advisory team, will be able to advise on this as further details come through.
https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/supporting-business-loans-enterprise-finance-guarantee/ also has some more details.
- 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. These businesses can contact HMRC’s new dedicated COVID-19 helpline from 11 March 2020 for advice and support. To ensure ongoing support, HMRC have made a further 2,000 experienced call handlers available to support firms and individuals when needed.
If anyone is concerned about their business and would like to discuss any of the above measures in more detail please do you get in touch