What help is available for small businesses during the Coronavirus crisis?
As part of the recent Budget, the Government announced £30 billion of support to help businesses and individuals struggling due to Covid-19. On the 17th March 2020 it was also announced that an additional £330 billion is available as guaranteed loans on favourable terms.
For small businesses, up to £5 million can be borrowed with no interest payments due for the first 6 months. This is an increase from the £1.2 million initially announced in the Budget. This business interruption scheme should be up and running by the beginning of next week. For further updates on the mentioned scheme, please check https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/ This website will be updated with current information regarding the loans available.
To check the list of non-eligible or restricted businesses, please see the following link: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Ineligible-and-Restricted-Eligibility-Sector-2017.pdf Check your company’s SIC code at Companies House to ensure this is correct, as the eligibility will be assessed on this.
The Government will be providing additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates due to the Small Business Rate Relief. This will provide a one-off grant to around 700,000 businesses currently eligible to help meet their ongoing business costs. All businesses meeting this criteria will be eligible for a cash grant of £10,000, and those smaller businesses with a rateable value of up to £51,000 will have access to a grant of up to £25,000. Grants can be applied for through your local authority. Find your local authority here https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council and get in touch with them to find out if your business is eligible and how to apply if so.
Any businesses within the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors can take advantage of a business rates holiday, regardless of size and turnover, meaning no rates will be due for 12 months. The planned rates discount for pubs will also be increased to £5,000. If businesses do not currently receive the retail discount for rates, they may need to apply to their local authority. Guidance for this will be updated by 20th March 2020.
For those businesses with fewer than 250 employees (as at 28th February 2020), the cost of providing up to 14 days statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. SSP will be payable to all staff absent from work due to Covid-19 from day 1, instead of the usual day 4. It is not yet known how this repayment of SSP paid to staff will be dealt with. The Government are currently in the process of setting up new systems to enable this.
Any businesses and self-employed people in financial distress with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are assessed on a case by case basis and are tailored depending on circumstances and liabilities. To speak with HMRC regarding any outstanding liabilities, you can call the newly dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559.
We will endeavour to keep you updated as changes to this information are announced.
If you have any enquires or queries regarding this information, please do not hesitate to contact us.