Coronavirus Guidance for Businesses

westminster

Published by: Cubefunder

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has committed to doing “whatever it takes” and announced some drastic measures to help businesses in financial difficulty due to the Coronavirus crisis.

We have outlined below some of the relief options available for businesses across the UK.

Summary:

Details:
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced several relief packages for businesses impacted by Coronavirus. The main packages are outlined below. Details are constantly updated by the Government and the most updated information will be available on the Government website.

Updates:

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24 March 2020

  • 3-month ban on evictions for commercial tenants

23 March 2020

  • Nurseries to receive a business rates holiday as well
  • Government to cover 80% of wages for furloughed employees
  • Local authorities to automatically contact businesses that qualify for grants and business rate holidays

 

1) Business rates holiday:

12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England irrespective of rateable value. This will apply for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Detailed information about which businesses do and do not qualify can be found here.

How to access the grant:

No action will be required on your part, the business rates holiday will automatically be applied to your next council tax bill in April 2020.

For the latest news, visit your local authority website.

2) Cash grant of £10,000:

£10,000 cash grant to over 700,000 small businesses who are eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) or rural rate relief:

How to access the grant:

No action will be required on your part, your local authority will write to all those that are eligible for this grant, no details on when this is expected have been announced yet.

For the latest news, visit your local authority website.

You can get SBRR if:

  • your property’s rateable value is less than £15,000
  • your business only uses one property – you may still be able to get relief if you use more

If you get a second property, you’ll keep getting any existing relief on your main property for 12 months.

You can still get small business rate relief on your main property after this if both the following apply:

  • none of your other properties has a rateable value above £2,899
  • the total rateable value of all your properties is less than £20,000 (£28,000 in London)

For further details regarding SBRR, please read the government Small Business Rates Relief website.

You can get Rural Rate Relief if:

Your business is in an eligible area and either:

  • the only village shop or post office, with a rateable value of up to £8,500
  • the only public house or petrol station, with a rateable value of up to £12,500

For further details regarding RRR, please read the government Rural Rate Relief website.

If you are unsure, contact your local council to see if you’re eligible for RRR.

Funding for the scheme will be provided to local authorities by the government in early April.

3) Cash grant up to £25,000 per business:

£25,000 cash grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. You can check how much your business rates are at the following: Calculate your business rates.

Check the Local Authority Guidance for further details and to see if your business will be eligible.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Business is based in England
  • Business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

How to access the grant:

No action will be required on your part, your local authority will write to all those that are eligible for this grant, no details on when this is expected have been announced yet.

For the latest news, visit your local authority website.

4) Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) refund:

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.

You’ll be able to get SSP from the first day you’re self-isolating and cannot work. This will begin from 13 March. For further information, please check out the SSP Guide.

5) Tax repayment arrangements:

If you are having issues meeting your tax obligations, the government has set up a dedicated helpline to help businesses and self-employed individuals. Call the number below and the HRMC may be able to provide a Time to Pay arrangement.

HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

6) Business Insurance:

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that 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 and therefore the above cash grants have been announced.

7) Pubs allowed to provide takeaways and deliveries:

With the government advocating for social distancing and advising people to avoid visiting public spaces including pubs, restaurants and bars, it was announced that pubs will be able to deliver hot food without planning application during the crisis.

“The government has confirmed regulations will be relaxed to enable businesses to deliver this service without a planning application.”

For pubs that would like to take advantage of this option, below are some options that provide 3rd party delivery options for restaurants and pubs.

https://restaurants.deliveroo.com/en-gb/

https://www.ubereats.com/restaurant/en-GB/signup

https://restaurants.just-eat.co.uk/

8) Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme:

On March 20th, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a grant to cover 80% of furloughed workers up to £2,500 per month per employee. This will allow employers to retain staff that would otherwise be made redundant.

As this is reimbursement, the net pay will have to initially be paid by the employer. If you have any issues paying the PAYE or tax payments due, the government have set up a dedicated Time To Pay team.

The scheme will be able to be backdated to March 1st and has initially been set to run for three months. This will be reviewed if necessary by the government and may be extended.

The government expect this scheme to be up and running before the end of April.

Eligibility:

Eligibility:

All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access the scheme:

Businesses will need to:

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify them of their change in status
  • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal
  • HMRC will update with further requirements as they are developed

*changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation

Full transcript and details can be found here.

9) Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme:

The government will pay to cover the first 12 months of interest and any lender-levied fees to reduce upfront costs and for small businesses and reduced initial repayments.

To ensure lenders continue to provide SME’s the funding they require the government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan that qualifies.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • the business is UK based
  • the business has annual turnover is under £45 million
  • the loan will enable the business to trade out of any short-to-mid term issues caused by the coronavirus

Full details can be found on the British Business Bank website.

How to access the loan:

To access the scheme, simply speak with your bank or one of the 40 accredited finance providers that are part of the scheme.

All the major banks are offering this scheme and the government has suggested that all affected businesses with an existing loan should ask for a repayment holiday.

10) Nurseries business rates exemption:

On 18th March 2020, childcare providers will be added to the list of businesses that will be exempt from business rates in 2020 to 2021.

Eligibility requirements:

  • business based in England
  • on the Ofsted’s Early Years Register
  • used for the Early Years Foundation Stage

How to access the scheme:

There is no required action from business owners, your local council will automatically apply this to your next council tax bill in April 2020.

Further details and requirements can be found in the Local Authority Nursery Discount guidance document.

11) Commercial tenant eviction ban:

The government have announced a 3-month ban on evictions for commercial tenants if you are unable to pay rent due to the coronavirus.

This will initially protect business owners who miss a payment in the next 3 months, however the government has an option to extend this period. Important to note the commercial tenant will still be liable for the rent after this period.

This will cover commercial tenants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Further details can be found in the Eviction ban announcement.

Additional resources:

Government Coronavirus Business Support Website:
https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/

Chancellor Rishi Sunak £330bn coronavirus bailout announcement:

https://youtu.be/UG4do83CFUk

Government COVID-19 guidance for employees, employers and businesses.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Business rates guide:

https://www.gov.uk/introduction-to-business-rates

Local council finder:

https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council

Government Coronavirus “What you need to do” guide:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Government Coronavirus information for businesses in Scotland:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-individuals-and-businesses-in-scotland

Disclaimer: While we have made every attempt to ensure the accuracy of all the information provided in the article, Cubefunder assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this article. The information contained in this article is provided on an “as is” basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy or timeliness.

Please make sure to seek legal advice where applicable and check your local authority and government websites for the latest news.