FINANCIAL HELP FOR BUSINESSES AFFECTED BY THE CORONAVIRUS
Following the recent announcement the government has provided more details of the financial support available for businesses affected by Coronavirus.
In addition to the government postponing the new rules for IR35 and the private sector it has introduced a series of measures designed to make financial support available for businesses affected by coronavirus. Some of the key measures are set out below.
Support for businesses paying statutory sick pay to employees
The government is introducing legislation to enable small and medium-sized businesses to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay ('SSP') paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19 It is potentially available to any business with less than 250 employees
Whilst it's important to maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, your employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. The government has issued assurances that it will work with employers over the coming months to set up the refund system as soon as possible.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, will launch imminently to support primarily small and medium sized businesses. This will enable them to access bank lending and overdrafts and will support loans of up to £5 million in value.
Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments. The scheme will become available from 23 March 2020 and we will post further details as soon as they're made available.
Support for businesses paying tax liabilities
If you're experiencing financial difficulties and struggling to pay outstanding tax liabilities, you may be eligible to receive support through HM Revenue's Time To Pay service. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to Coronavirus, you can call their dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559
Support for businesses that pay business rates
A business rates retail holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England is being introduced for the 2020/ 2021 tax year. A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
Additionally a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses will potentially be available to businesses currently eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs. If your business is eligible you should be contacted by your local authority – you do not need to apply.
If you have any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs they should be directed to the relevant local authority as a starting point.
If you have insurance cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure you should be covered. The government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim.
However we'd encourage you to check the terms and conditions of your specific policy and contact your providers. Unfortunately the reality is that you may not be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.
We appreciate that this is going to be a difficult time for many businesses and as more details become available we will keep ups updated. In the meantime please do get in touch with us if you have any questions.