The Government will pay 80% of the cost of a person’s salary up to a value of £2,500 per person per month. Grants will be given to businesses to cover this from HMRC. The Government has announced this scheme will be open to any employer in the country and will cover the costs of wages backdated to 1 March 2020. Funding will be available before the end of April 2020.
No business will pay VAT from now to mid-June 2020. Businesses will have until the end of financial year (April 2021) to repay VAT bills.
The minimum income level has been suspended, meaning self-employed people can now access Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay.
All Self-assessment payments are deferred until January 2021.
The Government is launching a new, temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
This scheme will support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The Government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to small and medium-sized businesses.
The Government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. Businesses can access the first 12 months of that finance interest free. The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt. Loans will be available from Monday 30 March 2020.
A major new scheme to support liquidity amongst larger firms has been launched by the Bank of England. It will help bridge Coronavirus disruption to a firm’s cash flow through loans.
The Government will support small and medium-sized businesses and employers to cope with the extra costs of paying COVID-19 related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
Through the emergency legislation, employers with fewer than 250 employees will be able to reclaim 2 weeks of SSP paid for sickness absences relating to coronavirus during the period of the outbreak.
Time to Pay (HMRC)
HMRC may be able to help those in need regarding their tax liabilities, by providing a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. HMRC will also waive late payment penalties and interest where a business experiences administrative difficulty contacting HMRC or paying taxes due to COVID-19.
If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559.
Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the Government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres and other establishments is sufficient to make a claim.
Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.
A number of private lenders are also making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Lenders may also be launching schemes and businesses must satisfy themselves of the terms and conditions of this before agreeing to loan agreements. Please check with your lender or bank.