Where to go to find Coronavirus Business Support
19th March 2020
last updated 24 march 2020
The Government has announced a series of interventions to support businesses through the disruption being caused by the coronavirus pandemic. We’re here to help family businesses navigate the announcements and find which support they are eligible for, and how to access help.
On this page we will be helping you navigate those issues. This page will be regularly updated over the coming days and weeks. If there are questions you need answered, please send them to email@example.com and we will do our best to answer as many as we can.
We are still waiting for details on many of the measures already announced, so please keep checking back for updates.
CLAIM FOR WAGE COSTS THROUGH THE CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME
Guidance for employers on the coronavirus (COVID-19) Job Retention Scheme. Available here.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES PAYING SICK PAY
What has been announced? SMEs will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
Who is eligible? Businesses with fewer than 250 employees (as of 28 February 2020)
How do I access? The repayment mechanism still needs to be worked out by government and detail will follow on that. The 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. Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
CoronaVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME
What has been announced? All UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
Who is eligible? All UK businesses are eligible.
How do I access? You will need to:
- designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
- submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)
More information: HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers. More information on this will follow.
DeFERRING VAT PAYMENTS
What has been announced? Value Added Tax (VAT) payments have been deferred for 3 months, from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.
Who is eligible? All UK businesses are eligible.
How do I access? This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period.
Business rates relief
What has been announced? A 100% business rates retail holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
There are also £25,000 cash grants available to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in premises with a Rateable Value below £51k.
Who is eligible? There is no limit on the size of business eligible for the relief. This guidance published on 19th March says “Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:
- as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues,
- for assembly and leisure; or
- as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.
Who do I contact to find out more? Enquiries on eligibility or provision of the relief should be directed to your relevant local authority.
SUPPORT FOR THE SMALLEST BUSINESSES
What has been announced? One-off grant of £10,000 to businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.
Who is eligible? Businesses currently eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief
Who do I contact to find out more? Funding for the scheme will be provided to local authorities by government in early April. Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.
CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME
What has been announced? A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims). the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.
Who is eligible? To be eligible for a facility under CBILS, your business must:
- Be UK based in its business activity with annual turnover of no more than £45m
- Have a borrowing proposal which, were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic, would be considered viable by the lender, and for which the lender believes the provision of finance will enable your business to trade out of any short-to-medium term difficulty
- If the lender can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the scheme, they will do so.
How do I access? Check out this British Business Bank to find out more, including information on accredited lenders: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/supporting-business-loans-enterprise-finance-guarantee/efg-for-advisors-smes/.
In the first instance, businesses should approach their own provider – ideally via the lender’s website. They may also consider approaching other lenders if they are unable to access the finance they need.
More information: The scheme was launched on 23 March 2020. The British Business Bank has published FAQs for SMEs here: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/British-Business-Bank-CBILS-FAQs-for-SMEs-FINAL.pdf
COVID-19 CORPORATE FINANCING FACILITY
What has been announced? The Bank of England has announced a new lending facility for “companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze”. Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies in the form of Commercial Paper.
How do I access? Companies that need £5m or more will be able to contact their existing bank to request commercial paper under the Bank of England scheme.
Who is eligible? This will cover UK incorporated companies, including those with foreign-incorporated parents and with a genuine business in the UK. The Bank of England says “The facility is open to firms that can demonstrate they were in sound financial health prior to the shock, allowing us to look through temporary impacts on firms’ balance sheets and cash flows from the shock itself. This means companies that had a short or long-term rating of investment grade, as at 1 March 2020, or equivalent. “
If your business does not have a credit rating, check the Q&A on the Bank of England page.
More information: The Bank of England has more information, including a Q&A, on this here: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/news/2020/march/the-covid-corporate-financing-facility
We are aware that there are many businesses that fall between the Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Corporate Financing Facility. This has been raised by many groups and we hope to see updates on this in coming days.
DEFERRING TAX PAYMENTS
Any business or self-employed person in financial distress may be eligible to receive support through HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) Time To Pay service which allows payments of outstanding tax liabilities to be deferred.
Businesses should contact HMRC’s new dedicated COVID-19 helpline on 0800 0159 559.
Please keep checking back for updates on this page.