Government Support for SMBs in the Coronavirus Pandemic

To help UK businesses through the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government has put together a range of support measures.

Read on to find out what support is available for small and medium-sized business like yours.
 

Paying Employees’ Wages

If you need to temporarily scale back your workforce, look at the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

This allows you to ‘furlough’ employees and apply for a grant. This grant covers 80% of their usual monthly wage costs (up to £2,500 a month) plus Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions.

The scheme is in place from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. It may be extended and all employers are eligible to claim.
 

Paying Sick Pay

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme covers the cost of two weeks of Statutory Sick Pay for employees who are unable to work because they have coronavirus or cannot work because they are self-isolating at home.

The repayment starts from the first day of sickness, starting on or after 13 March 2020. Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim.

There will be an online service to make your claim. This is not live yet.

 

Deferring and Delaying Tax Payments

There are several options to defer and delay tax payments because of Coronavirus.

If you are a UK business with a VAT payment due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, you have the option to defer the payment until 31 March 2021. (Note: this does not cover payments for VAT MOSS or import VAT.) You still need to submit your VAT returns on time, though. You will not be penalised or charged interest if you choose to defer. You do not have to tell HMRC you are deferring.

If you are due to make a Self-Assessment payment on account on 31 July 2020, you can defer payment until 31 January 2021.

If you are struggling to pay any other tax bill because of Coronavirus you should contact the HMRC coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline.

 

Support for Businesses in the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Sectors

If your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors in England, you do not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

You do not need to do anything to claim the relief. Your local council will apply the discount automatically.

(Note: this relief only applies to businesses in England only. Different guidance is in place for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.)

If you are in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector you may also be eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant. This is a cash grant of £10,000 or £25,000 per property.

To be eligible, you must receive the Expanded Retail Discount and have a property with a rateable value of less than £51,000.

If you are eligible, you do not have to do anything. Your Local Authority will be in touch with you to arrange payment.

(Note: this relief only apply to businesses in England only. There is different guidance if you are in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales).

 

Rates Relief for Nurseries

If you are a children’s nursery in England, you do not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

You do not need to do anything to claim the relief. Your local council will apply the discount automatically.

(Note: this relief only applies to businesses in England only. Different guidance is in place for Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.)

 

Support for Businesses Receiving Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rates Relief

If you receive Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rates Relief, you may be eligible for a payment under the Small Business Grant Fund. This is a payment of £10,000.

(Note: this relief only apply to businesses in England only. There is different guidance if you are in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales).

 

Support If You are Self-Employed

If you are self-employed in the UK, you may be able to claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

This scheme allows you to claim a grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. It will be available for three months. This may be extended.

If you are eligible you will be contacted by HMRC by mid-May 2020. You will need to claim online but the service is not available yet. Payments will be made by early June 2020.

 

Support for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

If you have an annual turnover of up to £45 million, you may be eligible for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The scheme allows you to access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to 6 years.

The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees.

To be eligible, you must have a borrowing proposal the lender would consider viable in any normal situation (i.e. if the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t happening).

The scheme is available via commercial lenders, including all the major banks.

 

Stay Up-to-Date

As with everything related to Coronavirus, the situation is changing all the time. The information above is correct on 15 April 2020. Always check out the latest information.

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