Further to Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s first Budget on Wednesday 11th March 2020, some further help and support has been announced for businesses, with further announcements being made daily.
Here’s what we know so far…..
Sick Pay Extended
Small businesses with less than 250 employees will share a £2 billion pot of money to help cover the costs of sick pay if their employees are off sick with Coronavirus. This includes refunds of sick pay paid for sick pay up to 14 days from the HMRC.
Under Mr Sunak’s new measures, statutory sick pay (SSP) will be extended to all of those who are eligible and asked to self-isolate, even if they are not showing symptoms – no longer are sick notes required if you choose to self isolate.
The payment, which works out at £94.25 per week, will be available from day one of quarantine.
Self-employed people are usually not eligible for SSP, but the Government will now be making it “quicker and easier to get benefits” including those on a zero hours contacts, or those earning less than £118 a week.
Further support is expected in the coming days.
For people on lower incomes, Mr Sunak announced he would also be temporarily removing the minimum income floor in Universal Credit.
Sick Notes from 111
Sick notes are no longer required to access sick pay from their employers whilst we’re amid the Coronavirus crisis.
Delay of tax payments
The HMRC will allow businesses to defer tax payments over a pre-agreed period of time to help with the financial strain that businesses may see over the coming months.
The HMRC’s ‘Time to Pay‘ system has been extended with a dedicated helpline for businesses and taxpayers struggling to pay due to the impact of Coronavirus.
Business interruption loans
Businesses that face interruption from the Coronavirus will be eligible for ‘business interruption’ loans of up to £1.2million backed by the government.
A fund of up to £330 billion will be available to support the economy, with effectively a blank cheque for further if needed.
Six month interest holidays will also apply on these loans.
This loan arrangement is expected to be extended further in the coming days.
Business Rates abolished for 1 year
Business rates have been abolished for all businesses. It was previously announced that small & medium sized businesses in Retail, Leisure, and Hospitality sectors with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will see their business rates abolished.
Cash grants for small rates relief businesses
A previously announced grant of £3,000 has been extended to £10,000 – with further options becoming available as needed as the COVID-19 situation develops. We must stress that this will only be available to businesses that have premises that qualify for small business rates relief.
Further cash grants for hospitality, leisure and retail
Further cash grants (in addition to the grant detailed above) of up to £25,000 will be available for small and medium sized businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors
Mortgage payments relaxed
Mortgage lenders have agreed a 3 month payment holiday for all homeowners.
Further help for private renters is expected to be announced later today.
When we know more information regarding how to access the grants & loans, we will be in touch to guide you. At the moment, we don’t know how businesses will access the grant money – only that it is likely to come from local government, and that the money is likely to be released in the coming days.
Loans will be through normal lenders, and you will begin to see more press about this.
We would urge you to speak to your bank, landlord, mortgage company and energy providers to seek further help from them in this time. Universal Credit is available to help with cashflow, and meetings will be held over the phone instead of at the Job Centre.
For those of you with tax bills due, please call the HMRC ‘Time to Pay’ number 0800 0159559 to arrange a delay in payment. Some payments have already been delayed for 12 months with just one call.