At Tuesday’s Government Press Conference, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the following further support for businesses as part of the ongoing response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and in recognition of the devastating impact it is having on businesses:
- A statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs – allowing small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.
- A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England – Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will pay no business rates in England for the 2020 to 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.
- Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief – The government will provide additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000.
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance – this will launch next week to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims). The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme 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 HMRC Time To Pay Scheme – All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
With regard to Insurance, the government have confirmed 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, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.
Please see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19#history for more information.
If I or Lisa from Viva PR can help with anything – where to find more information, getting the message out about any changes to your business – please do contact us.
We are here to support you during this extremely difficult and unprecedented time.