27th March 2020
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils are committed to supporting all local businesses. We are working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to understand the UK Government’s support available and when it will be available.
Below is a summary of the latest information.
- A taxable grant worth 80% of average earnings over the last three years up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for three months.
- Open to anyone with trading profits of up to £51,000 and make majority of income from self employment
- People will have one month to submit their 2019 tax return.
- People can claim the grant and continue to work
- HMRC will issue the grant and contact those eligible for grants
- Grant payment will be made in June 2020 as a lump sum
- Those needing finance now can apply for Universal Credit and the Business Interruption Loan Scheme
On 20 March 2020 the Government announced further support for businesses including:
- Self-employed can access in full Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay for employees.
- Job Retention Scheme – businesses are able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover up to 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to £2,500 per month. This will can be backdated to 1 March 2020 and currently applies for 3 months.
- The next quarter of VAT payments will be deferred until end of June 2020.
- Self-employed workers will be allowed to defer tax self-assessment from July 2020 until January 2021.
- The Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be 12 months interest free, not 6 months.
- Updated Guidance: Businesses and premises to close
The Budget announced a £12 billion plan to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses, whose finances are affected by COVID-19. This includes a £5 billion COVID-19 response fund to ensure the NHS and other public services receive the funding they need to respond to the outbreak as the situation develops, and recover and return to normal afterwards.
The Government will support businesses that experience increased costs or disruptions to their cashflow. This includes expanded Business Rates reliefs, a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support up to a further £1 billion lending to SMEs, a £2.2 billion grant scheme for small businesses, and a dedicated helpline for those who need a deferral period on their tax liabilities.
The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.
This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:
- a statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
The Government will bring forward legislation to allow small- and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
- this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
- employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
- employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP(according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
- employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
- eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home comes into force
- the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.
- Commercial tenants unable to pay rent because of Coronavirus will be protected from eviction
- Measures support ongoing conversations between landlords and tenants about voluntary arrangements
- Latest measure builds on the unprecedented package of support for businesses already announced
These measures will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next 3 months.
As commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent after this period, the government is also actively monitoring the impact on commercial landlords’ cash flow and continues to be in dialogue with them.
Time to Pay (HMRC)
HMRC has set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline to help those in need, and they may be able to agree 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 are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 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 etc 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.
The Government’s Business Support Helpline is available for businesses in England, of all sizes, who wish to speak directly to an advisor about the impact of Coronavirus. The number to call is 0300 456 3565.
Government is also advising businesses to build their own resilience by reviewing their business continuity, developing an understanding on the potential impacts to their supply chains, customers or other factors critical to their operations.
This is a rapidly evolving situation, which we are monitoring carefully. The situation is kept under constant review and any change in guidance will be based on scientific evidence. The Government’s approach is clinically led, based on the expert advice of the UK’s Chief Medical Officer for England, the NHS and Public Health England.
Businesses should check for daily updates at GOV.UK and subscribe to receive email alerts to ensure they are acting on the most up to date information.