With the impact of coronavirus being felt by businesses across the UK, we know that many of you are concerned about how your business and staff will be affected. This is a list of information, resources and places to go for support.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – This scheme allows businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5 million through a registered lender, and the government will cover 80% of the lenders’ losses. Under the scheme the first 12 months of the loan is interest free, as the government will cover your interest payments.
How to access the available loans through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme (CBILS)? You can find accredited lenders in the British Business Bank’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme by going to the CBILS website. Funding Circle is one you might want to try.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – If you’re struggling to pay wages, rather than laying off employees you can instead ‘furlough’ them (put them on a leave of absence) and claim back 80% of their wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per worker per month. You can backdate to March 1st and the scheme will run for 3 months initially, although it will be extended if needed. It is open to all UK employers.
Statutory sick pay refunds – If you have fewer than 250 employees, the government will pay the first 14 days of statutory sick pay.
Cash grants to small businesses – The UK’s smallest businesses will also be able to claim a £10,000 cash grant. Small businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief will be contacted by their local authority. You do not need to apply.
Business rates holidays and cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure – The government is introducing a business rates holiday in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year for businesses in these industries. If your property has a rateable value of £15,000, you will also receive a cash grant of £10,000. If it’s between £15,000 and £51,000, you’re entitled to a cash grant of £25,000. Your local authority will let you know if you’re eligible for these grants, so there’s no need to apply.
Business rates holiday for nurseries – The government is introducing a business rates holiday in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year for nurseries. This will apply to the next council tax bill in April 2020. You do not need to apply.
VAT deferral – VAT payments are being deferred from 20th March 2020 until 30th June 2020, so you don’t need to make VAT payments during this period. This applies to all UK businesses. It’s an automatic offer and no application is required.
Income tax deferral for the self-employed – For Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on 31st July 2020 have now been deferred until 31st January 2021. This is an automatic offer for all self-employed individuals so you don’t need to apply.
Dedicated helpline for tax affairs regarding coronavirus – A dedicated helpline (0800 0159 559) has been created to support self-employed individuals and businesses in financial distress or with outstanding tax liabilities. Businesses may be able to arrange a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement if they’re concerned about not being able to pay their tax on time due to coronavirus.
Taxable grants for self-employed individuals – Self-employed individuals can claim a taxable grant through the new Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). This will be worth 80% of their trading profits, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. Your first payment should be received by early June 2020. You can apply for the scheme here.
You can find more information on all these measures at gov.uk.
Self-isolation and school closures – Current guidance is that anyone who shows symptoms should self-isolate for 7 days if they live alone or, if they live with others, the whole household should self-isolate for 14 days. As of Friday 20th March schools are also closing indefinitely. You can find a good summary of what this means for you and your staff on the ACAS website and from the FSB.
Working from home – The government has urged employers, wherever possible, to implement remote working policies. There are lots of tools that can help you and your team work remotely, such as free video calls with Google Hangouts. You can find more tips for working remotely from Hubspot and the Guardian.
Guidance for social distancing in the workplace – Specific guidance has been published by the government to help maintain social distancing depending on what industry you work in. These include delivery services, tradespeople, manufacturing, retail and a host of other sectors. To learn more about which social distancing practices you should be adopting in your business, visit the website here.
Updated guidance for employers and businesses – The government updated its guidance for employers and businesses as of 7th April. New guidance centres around what to do if an employee needs time off to look after someone, as well as information regarding shift-working and staggering processes. You can find all this information and more, here.
Extended time to file accounts with Companies House – Companies House can offer extensions for filing accounts if coronavirus has disrupted your company. You should apply for an extension before your deadline. You can find more information here or apply here.
Health and wellbeing
Mental health resources from FSB – With coronavirus and lockdown taking its toll on business owners and the public at large, the FSB have created a resource on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing in the midst of the pandemic. To learn more, you can visit their site here. The FSB also has other dedicated mental health services, such as FSB Care, which provides practical advice and emotional support from dedicated nurses.
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