With businesses all over the UK (and world) feeling the effects of the coronavirus, what support can board expect for their business?

The government’s business support website has been updated to provide information on how businesses and their employees are being supported through what it calls a ‘period of unprecedented disruption’.

We summarise some of the support measures here.

Coronavirus financial support

The financial support page covers the business support measures that have been made available to UK businesses and employees; how to access available support, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply.

There are links to pages covering specific elements of support:

  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – which supports small and medium-sized businesses, with an annual turnover of up to £45m, in accessing loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to six years.
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – which enables all UK employers with a PAYE scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020 to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
  • The Self-employment Income Support Scheme – which will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19, providing a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
  • Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure – detailing the exemption from business rates for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England for the 2020-21 tax year. A similar business rates holiday applies to nurseries.
  • Cash Grant for Businesses in the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sector – a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property for England-based businesses in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector.
  • Small Business Grant Funding – a one-off grant of £10,000 to England-based small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief to help meet their ongoing business costs.
  • Statutory Sick Pay Rebate – legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for staff sickness absence due to coronavirus. This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of coronavirus.
  • Support for Businesses Paying Tax – 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.
  • COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility – which will see the Bank of England buying short-term debt from larger companies, to support companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.
  • VAT Deferral – for all VAT-registered UK companies, Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 will be deferred.
  • Deferral of Self-Assessment Payment – anyone due to make a self-assessment payment on account to HMRC by 31 July 2020 may now deferred this until January 2021.

Some aspects of business support are devolved, and businesses outside England are advised to visit the specific pages for ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland.

Business advice

The Corona Business Advice page includes FAQs – both general and about specific support measures. It also provides links to other sources of government support, support available from trade associations and business representative organisations and other non-government bodies.

Additional support

The government is also publishing regular Coronavirus Business Bulletins, has produced a Business Support Helpline video and shares details of upcoming webinars – organised by both government and industry – on the measures in place to support employers, employees and the self-employed.

Any business that has seen their operations disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic should look at the government website for more details on all of these support mechanisms.

Nothing in these documents/links should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on documents/links.

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