Covid-19 Update: Increased support for UK small business
The Chancellor of the Exchequer took to the podium twice this week, promising to “do whatever it takes to support the economy” from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. By Friday, the measures unveiled by the UK government amounted to an unprecedented stimulus package.
Key developments so far:
All self-employed workers who have Covid-19 or need to self isolate will be able to make a claim for Universal Credit, as the minimum floor is temporarily removed.
- Anyone struggling to get through to pay corporation tax by the 31 March deadline will have late payment penalties and interest waived by HMRC.
- VAT payments for the next quarter have been deferred.
- As of 28 February 2020, businesses with fewer than 250 employees will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) expenditure, up to a maximum of two weeks per employee.
- The government has announced extra resources to assist those struggling to pay their tax liabilities or in financial distress. HMRC is committing 2,000 experienced call handlers to support taxpayers.
- If you are sick or need to self-isolate, it’s been confirmed the Employment Support Allowance (ESA) will be paid from the first day of your sickness period.
- IR35 reforms for private sector businesses have been scrapped until 6 April 2021. This should minimise disruption and allow LTD company workers to accept contracts, or take work, without worrying about the legalities in the interim.
- Renters are to be offered £1bn of support. Homeowners who are financially struggling can take a mortgage holiday for up to three months. Landlords who run problems meeting their mortgage payments as a result of their tenant losing their job permanently or temporarily are advised to contact their mortgage institution.
- Local Authorities are likely to waive council tax and make Hardship Funds available for families and businesses in financial difficulties.
Government-backed businesses loans
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) will support small- and medium-sized businesses with lending and overdrafts, guaranteeing 80% on each loan. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5m in value. Any SME business can apply for the loans from 23 March 2020. Interest rates will remain at 0% for 12 months, as confirmed on Friday evening.
Business Rates relief
The Chancellor extended the package of Business Rates relief once again on Tuesday. Retail companies in England with rates below £51k won’t have to pay any business rates until 31 March 2021. This is expected to apply to up to 90% of independent shops, pubs, restaurants and other similar businesses.
Help on the phone
You can call a dedicated COVID-19 helpline on 0800 0159 559 from Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 8am to 4pm.
To support small businesses that pay little or no business rates because of Small Business Rate relief (SBRR), the government will provide up to £10k each to around 700,000 businesses currently eligible for that or Rural Rate relief.
Support will include agreement of a bespoke Time To Pay arrangement with HMRC. This will help those struggling with cash flow by spreading liabilities over an agreed period.
We’ll keep you updated with the latest news and measures that affect small business in the UK, including further measures expected to support the self-employed.
Read how Amaiz is keeping its service available for customers throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
And you can open a business account with all the support you need in minutes.