Coronavirus: Support for Business

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a package of measures to support businesses through this period, in close co-ordination with the Bank of England.

The Bank of England has temporarily reduced the Bank Rate to 0.1 per cent. It has taken further measures to help ensure that this rate reduction will translate through to the real economy and that capital will be available for new lending. As the virus progresses, and it's impact understood, further updates will be provided.

Statutory Sick Pay for businesses with fewer than 250 employees

In the Budget, the Chancellor announced that legislation will be brought forward to allow businesses with fewer than 250 employees to reclaim up to 14 days’ Statutory Sick Pay paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.

Business rates

The Business Rates retail discount will be raised to 100 per cent for one year and expanded to the leisure, and hospitality sectors, with a £5,000 rates discount introduced for pubs in England with a rateable value below £100,000. Taken together with existing Small Business Rates Relief an estimated 900,000 properties, or 45 per cent of all properties in England, will receive 100 per cent business rates relief in 2020/21.

To support around 700,000 businesses currently eligible for Small Business Rate Relief, local authorities in England will receive a total of £2.2 billion to provide a £10,000 grant to help meet their ongoing business costs.

All businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will not have to pay business rates , irrespective of their rateable value, for 12 months – that’s every single shop, pub, theatre, music venue, restaurant, and any other business in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors. In addition, small businesses in these sectors can access an additional grant scheme of up to £25,000 .

To support nurseries at this time, the Chancellor has also decided that they will also now be eligible for a business rates holiday for one year. That means non-local authority providers of childcare will pay no business rates in 2020-21, from 1 April.

Business loans

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme , delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts and will be interest free for twelve months.

£330 billion has been guaranteed – equivalent to 15 per cent of our GDP –so any businesses who needs access to cash to pay their rent, the salaries of employees, pay suppliers or purchase stock, will be able to access a government-backed loan.

Tax affairs

Businesses and self-employed people in financial distress may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. The agency has also set up a phone helpline which you can reach at 0800 0159 559.

No business will pay any VAT from now until the end of June; and they will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.

HMRC has a set up a new helpline to support businesses and self-employed people who are concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus. The helpline number is 0800 024 1222.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 

The Government have launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to step in and help pay people’s wages. Any employer in the country who promises to retain their staff, can apply for a grant to cover most of the wages of people who are not working but are furloughed and kept on payroll, rather than being laid off.

Government grants will cover 80 per cent of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month – above the median income.

The cost of wages will be backdated to 1st March and will be open initially for at least three months – and we will extend the scheme for longer if necessary.

Cafes, Restaurants and Pubs

Cafes, restaurants and pubs can automatically become takeaways and deliveries, under an emergency change to the planning laws, scrapping the need for to apply for change of use permission in bid. 

More advice

Read more about Government support for business here  and at Coronavirus Financial Support  or contact 0300 456 3565.