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Financial support available for businesses affected by Coronavirus

Important update as at 29 April 2020

In our earlier post we discussed some of the practical measures businesses could take in order to adapt to the negative impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. Following the recent announcement the  government has provided more details of the financial support available for businesses affected by Coronavirus

In addition to the government postponing the new rules for IR35 and the private sector it has introduced a series of measures designed to make financial support available for businesses affected by coronavirus. Some of the key measures are set out below.

Support for businesses paying statutory sick pay to employees

The government is introducing legislation to enable small and medium-sized businesses to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay ('SSP') paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19 It is potentially available to any business with less than 250 employees

 Whilst it's important to maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, your employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. The government has issued assurances that it will work with employers over the coming months to set up the refund system as soon as possible. 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, will launch imminently to support primarily small and medium sized businesses. This will enable them to access bank lending and overdrafts and will support loans of up to £5 million in value. 

Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments. The scheme will become available from 23 March 2020 and we will post further details as soon as they're made available.

'Bounce back' Loan scheme 

On 27 April the Chancellor announced a new loan scheme which is aimed at supporting micro-businesses.

This scheme will provide loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 for up to six years and the government will pay any interest on these loans for the first 12 months. Additionally no repayments will be due for the first 12 months. The scheme will also provide lenders with a 100% government backed guarantee.

The following businesses are eligible to participate in this scheme

  • Businesses based in the UK
  • Those businesses which have been negatively impacted by coronavirus
  • Were not an 'undertaking in difficulty' on31 December 2019
  • Are not making a claim under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (see above)

Support for businesses paying tax liabilities

If you're experiencing financial difficulties and struggling to pay outstanding tax liabilities,  you may be eligible to receive support through HM Revenue's Time To Pay service. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to Coronavirus, you can call their dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Support for businesses that pay business rates

A business rates retail holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England is being introduced for the 2020/ 2021 tax year. A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

Additionally a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses will potentially be available to businesses currently eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs. If your business is eligible you should be contacted by your local authority – you do not need to apply.

If you have any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs they should be directed to the relevant local authority as a starting point.

Insurance claims

If you have insurance cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure you should be covered .The government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim.

However we'd encouraged you to check the terms and conditions of your specific policy and contact your providers. Unfortunately the reality is that you may not be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.

We appreciate that this is going to be a difficult time for many businesses so if you're uncertain if you qualify for any of these schemes, please get in touch with us.

For more useful information, check out our Ebooks here.

And if you'd like to know how we can help you with all of this, or with anything else, feel free to give us a call on 01202 048696 or email us at [email protected].

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