Government Coronavirus Business Support

Updated: 17 June 2020

The information and any opinions contained in this summary are for general information purposes only, are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances.

In these unprecedented and challenging times, businesses throughout the UK need all the support that they can get. The Government has implemented a full range of business support measures, which are available to businesses and their employees. This article is a summary of the help that is available for your business and details of the grants and loans, made available by the Government, that you can apply for. Links are also supplied so that you can quickly access the information that is particularly relevant to your business.

Essential businesses to keep operating during the coronavirus outbreak

The Government is making more than £330 billion of loans and guarantees available in order to help companies continue so that cash flows can be managed and where possible businesses can continue to operate.

A statement from The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak:

“We are working round the clock to do whatever it takes to protect our people and businesses. That means that we are not only taking unprecedented action but doing so at unprecedented speed, because we know that businesses and their employees need help now.”

List of support measures from the Government for businesses

Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan – New

Type of business and eligibility: Small and Medium sized businesses (SMEs) based in the UK which have been negatively affected by coronavirus and were not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019.
What it is: A new 100% Government-backed loan scheme with no arrangement fees or interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months
Finance available: between £2,000 and £50,000
Timescale: Up to 6 years
Benefits: Easy to apply via a short, standardised online application, and the loan should reach businesses within days, providing immediate support to businesses who need them.
When: The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May and will be accessible through a network of accredited lenders.

You cannot apply if you are already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, but you can you arrange for it to be transferred into the Bounce Back Loan Scheme with your lender until 4 November 2020.

Click here for our guidance on the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. Alternatively, you can find out more information on the Government’s website.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – Updated

Type of business and eligibility: Small and Medium sized businesses (SMEs) which are UK based with a turnover of up to £45 million p.a. and meet British Business Bank eligibility criteria
What it is: A temporary scheme giving access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance, and asset finance.
Finance available: Up to £5m
Timescale: Up to 6 years for term loans and asset finance, and up to 3 years for overdrafts and invoice finance facilities
Benefits: No upfront costs and lower initial payments (over the first 12 months)
When: The scheme is now open and the full rules of the scheme and guidance on how to apply is available on the British Business Bank website
What to do: Contact your bank or apply through one of over 40 accredited finance providers

Click here for our guidance on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, alternatively you can visit the Government’s business support website.

Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

Type of business and eligibility: Those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England
What it is: Will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year
Businesses: Shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues, hotels, and guest & boarding houses
What to do: Your local authority will automatically apply the business rates holiday to your next Council Tax bill in April 2020 and there is no action required from you

Guidance was issued on 25 March 2020 which gives further details on the operation of the expanded retail discount 2020 to 2021 coronavirus response. This can be viewed online here.

Click here for more information.

Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

Type of business and eligibility: Those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors
What it is: A cash grant of up to £25,000 per property
Businesses: Shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues, hotels, guest and boarding houses
What to do: You do not need to do anything, your local authority will contact you if you are eligible

For more information visit the Government’s business support website.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Updated

Type of business: All UK employers with a PAYE scheme, and which meet the eligibility rules; also applies to the public sector, Local Authorities and charities
What it is: HMRC will reimburse up to 80% of employees’ wages up to £2,500. The scheme was initially backdated to 1 March to last for 3 months. Government support for businesses is to be gradually reduced and is effectively closed from 1 July with 10 June being the deadline for employees to be classified as furloughed and eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
What to do: Employers should have designated employees as furloughed workers and notified them of the change. A furloughed worker is an employee who has been asked to stop working but is retained on the payroll. The relevant information should be submitted to HMRC.
When: June and July: 80% of wages will be paid by the Government, capped at £2,500 as well as National Insurance (ER NICs) and pension contributions. Employers are not required to contribute.
August: The Government will continue to pay 80% of wages, capped at £2,500, with the employer responsible for paying ER NICs and pension contributions.
September: The Government will pay 70% of wages, capped at £2,187.50. The employer is responsible for paying ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total, capped at £2,500.
October: The Government will continue to pay 60% of wages, capped at £1,875 with the employer paying ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total, capped at £2,500.

Click here for our guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Alternatively, you can visit the Government’s business support website.

Small Business Grant Funding

Type of business: Small – those paying little or no business rates due to Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR), Rural Rate Relief (RRR) and tapered relief
What it is: A one-off grant of £10,000 to meet ongoing business costs
Eligibility: Small businesses based in England, which occupy property and already receive SBRR and/or RRR
What to do: You do not need to anything, your Local Authority will contact you if you are eligible
When: You will receive information in writing from your Local Authority on how to claim the grant. Guidance was issued on 25 March 2020 which sets out details of eligibility and delivery of Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF). This can be viewed online here.

For more information visit the Government’s business support website.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate – updated

Type of business: SMEs (Small to Medium-sized Enterprises)
What it is: Support to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if paid to staff for absence due to coronavirus, covering up to 2 weeks per eligible employee. Employees do not require a doctor’s fit note for a claim.
Eligibility: UK-based businesses with fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020
What to do: The online service is now available.

Check the Government’s business support website for updates.

If you are self-employed, you may be eligible for Universal Credit.

Time To Pay

Type of business: All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress
What it is: You may receive support if you have outstanding tax liabilities through HMRC’s Time To Pay service
Eligibility: Your business pays tax to the UK Government and you have outstanding tax liabilities
What to do: Contact HMRC in the usual way or call 0800 0159 559 and HMRC will discuss the options available to you
When: Support is available now

Click here for more information.

VAT Deferral

Type of business: All VAT-registered UK businesses
What it is: Value Added Tax (VAT) will be deferred for 3 months
Eligibility: Must be VAT-registered
What to do: Automatic with no application required. Registered businesses will not. need to make VAT payments normally due with VAT returns during this period
When: The deferral period is from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020

Click here for more information.

Income Tax Deferral for the Self-Employed

Type of Business: Self-employed
What it is: Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021
Eligibility: Self-employed
What to do: This is an automatic offer with no application required, as it will be applied automatically by HMRC. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period
When: Payments due on 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021

HMRC has also scaled up its Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of coronavirus and have outstanding tax liabilities.

More information can be found on the Government’s business support website.

Further resources and information

Business Support from the Government

If you have any questions relating to your business, a telephone service is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm, on 0300 456 3565. A business information campaign has also been launched to ensure that businesses are aware of the support that is available.

Visit the business support website.

Organisations offering key guidance and resources for retailers

There are a number of organisations offering advice on what to do in the current situation as well as running campaigns to support small independent businesses. Click here for a list of organisations supporting the retail sector which are offering key guidance and support campaigns.

Questions regarding business insurance during the outbreak

 If you have any questions surrounding your business insurance, check with your provider on the terms and conditions of your cover as it can differ from one provider to another. If you are a Member of The Retail Mutual, in the first instance please visit our FAQs to find out how your business cover responds.

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