COVID-19 Update (22 March 2020)

Following the Government’s latest announcement at the back end of last week and some of the further details that have since come to light, we now issue you with an update.

Let’s first start with an updated list of the measures introduced to support businesses before adding a bit of further context to what we now know/suspect:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

We want to focus here on two areas in particular that are either new or where more details have been released:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The key point to note here; based on what details are currently known, is that this is aimed at supporting up to 80% of the salary of somebody that would have otherwise been laid off as part of this crisis up to a maximum of £2,500 per month; ‘furloughed workers’ as HMRC defines them.

It is not aimed at those staff that are still working but that are now working from home.

Naturally we fully expect further measures to be introduced to reduce the risk of this support from being abused.

  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief

There has been conflicting advice given around this so far that whilst it seems to suggest that the eligibility is very broad; we seem to have stumbled across restrictions elsewhere. Our thoughts internally are that this is a very generous bit of support given how many businesses of all very different sizes; take our building alone, that would in theory qualify for this grant.

Guidance should be forthcoming from local authorities on this matter shortly so our advice is wait for this before relying on the Government’s announcement alone.

For more detailed guidance around any of the above please click here.

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