Corona Virus: Help and Support Update 18/03/20

After the briefing from the chancellor last night, the following new information has been provided.

If you are not a client but need some help, please get in touch and we will do all that we can to help you. It’s in times like these that we need to help each other.

Government Backed Business Loans

The biggest single element in the Chancellor’s rescue package is a package of £330bn bank loan guarantees to help small and large businesses manage cashflows during the pandemic. The sum is equivalent to 15% of UK GDP. 

Any business who needs access to cash to pay their rent, the salaries, suppliers, or purchase stock, will be able to access a government-backed loan, on attractive terms. It is expected that these loans will be able to be accessed in the next week or so. No further details are available at this time.

12 Month Business Rates Holiday

The chancellor extended the business rates holiday for all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector for 12 months. This goes one step further and applies to all size of businesses – last week’s announcement only covered those sectors with a rateable value below £51,000.

Business Grants to those with Business Premises

The chancellor has now offered further £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in smaller premises with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000.

He has also increased the small business rate relief grant of £3,000 to £10,000.

No details are yet available as to how to apply for this grant except that it is expected that businesses will need to apply to their local authority. It looks as though it will only be available to those who get Small Business Rate Relief i.e. have a business premises. Those working from home do not appear to be eligible.

If you receive a rates bill from the council every year, but it is adjusted to zero with the wording “Small Business Rates Relief”, you should be eligible for the grant. This we think also applies to holiday lets as well as businesses with premises. It would not apply to those working from home (Sole Trader or Ltd Co) or for normal rental property businesses that are not holiday lets.

Insurance Policy Cover

Although the government has not forced pub and restaurants to close at this stage, they have confirmed that if you have a clause in your insurance that covers you for pandemics, the current situation should allow you to claim on your insurance if your business is affected.

IR35 Delay by 1 Year

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barclay announced in the House of Commons yesterday that the government was delaying the roll-out of the new private sector IR35 regime until 1 April 2021. He stressed that this was merely a delay in light of the virus, and that it would still be implemented next year.

This is great news for contractors, but many of the larger companies have already put new systems in place, so it is unclear if this will make a huge difference to the job market.

Self Employed / Renters / Companies Without Business Premises

It has been recognised by the government that large sections of society will not necessarily be helped by the measures announced so far. Anyone employed within the “gig” economy, self employed people without business premises, and those that rent rather than pay mortgages seem extremely vulnerable to a possible lock down. The government have promised to make more announcements in the coming days.

If you have tax falling due in the next few months and you are self employed you can call the new HMRC helpline on 0800 0159 559. The HMRC have allocated 2,000 call handlers to the line that opened on 11th March. They may also be able to provide you with numbers to claim income support or other benefits.

We’re Here To Support You

If you need any help or are worried about anything please get in touch and we will do all that we can to help and give advice.