With the dramatic impact that the Coronavirus is having on businesses, the Chancellor has made a number of announcements to help with the financial fallout at this difficult time.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
It was announced in the budget that SSP would now be available to employees from the first day of self-isolation due to the Coronavirus. This meant an additional financial burden was placed on businesses as there was no right to reclaim these costs. In order to help with this the government has enabled businesses with fewer than 250 employees overall to reclaim up to 2 weeks of SSP per employee that has to be paid because of Covid 19.
Grants of up to £10,000
For those businesses that would normally pay business rates but have been receiving small business rate relief or rural rate relief then grants may be available to you. Businesses will not need to apply for these but instead will be contacted directly by the relevant authority if eligible.
Easier access to loans
The government have backed a scheme to provide banks with additional guarantees for loans up to £5 million. This should encourage additional lending to those businesses struggling due to the downturn in trade. In addition the first 6 months interest on these loans will be paid by the government. Further details along with a list of lenders will be announced in the coming days.
HMRC time to pay schemes
If your business is struggling to pay any debts owed to HMRC a dedicated telephone number has been set up to arrange additional time to pay these liabilities. The telephone number is 0800 0159 559 and can be used to delay Corporation Tax, PAYE, Self-assessment payment on accounts etc.
Delay of the update to the Off Payroll Working (IR35) Rules
Changes to the off payroll working (IR35) rules have been expected to come into force on the 6th April 2020 for some time now. However, due to the impact of the Coronavirus the Government has announced a delay to the introduction of the legislation until 6th April 2021.
In addition to the above general measures the government has also recognised that the retail, hospitality and leisure industry has been particularly hard hit due to the outbreak and so additional special measures have been put in place for these particular areas of commerce.
Grants of up to £25,000
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure industry that operate out of small properties with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 may be eligible to obtain grants of up to £25,000. Enquiries for these should be made to the relevant local authority.
12 month Business Rates Holiday
A 12 month business rates holiday for those in the retail, hospitality and leisure industry was announced at the budget. Further guidance on this will be released on the 20th March.
The government and the insurance industry have confirmed that their advice issued on the 17th March to avoid certain areas i.e. pubs, restaurants etc is sufficient to entitle businesses to make claims on their insurance policy if covered. We would urge you to check your policy to see if it covers pandemics or government ordered closures and contact your insurance provider.
We hope the above points help in what is a very difficult time. Please contact us for further advice.