We have prepared a round up of activity agreed by the Government as part of the support programme for businesses and individuals affected by Covid-19, along with key resources:
Annual General Meetings: Companies are allowed more flexibility on AGMs to reflect current situation, and are encouraged to do these remotely if possible.
Annual Leave: Workers will be allowed to carry-over leave that would have been taken during the lockdown period into the next two years
Business rate relief (extended): properties in certain industries will not have to pay business rates in 2020 to 2021 tax year. They include: all shops, pubs, theatres, music venues, restaurants, sports clubs, gyms, spas, hotels, guest houses, self catering accommodation, nurseries. It will be applied automatically.
Business rate discounts: for pubs will go up from £1,000 to £5.000 where rateable value is below £100,000 >>
Business rates billsfor 2020/21: if already been sent, any eligible businesses will be re-billed once details of the new discounts and grants are confirmed. Any payments made in the meantime will be off-set against the reduced liability. The Council will communicate shortly with eligible businesses and will continue to review what assistance we can provide to business during this difficult period.
Closed businesses: Cafes, pubs, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, theatres, gyms and leisure centres closed from 21 March. This will be reviewed monthly.
Commercial Tenant Eviction: commercial tenants will be protected from eviction for three months.
Corporate Tax: Will remain at 19%
Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme (CBBLS): will enable small to medium businesses apply for a loan between £2,000 – £50,000 up to a maximum of 25% turnover, with no fees or interest to pay in first 12 months then 2.5% interest per year, up to 6 years.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS): A new scheme delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses with a turnover of no more than £41 million to apply for a loan of up to £1.2 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees.
Coronavirus Future Fund: offers convertible loans of £125,000 – £5 million to innovative companies facing financing difficulties
Filing Accounts: Companies will be given a three month extension for filing of annual accounts
Fraud and Scams: Fradulent activity is reported around Covid-19 >>
Furloughed Employees: Must have been on your PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020 and includes full time, part time, agency contracts, flexible or zero hours contracts. The scheme also covers employees who were made redundant since 28 February 2020, if they are rehired by their employer.
On furlough, an employee can not undertake work for or on behalf of the organisation to generate revenue.
Furlough does not apply to employees on reduced hours.
Wages of furloughed employees will be subject to Income Tax and National Insurance and workplace pension contributions.
No insurance: for the smaller businesses (under £51,000 rateable value) in retail, hospitality and leisure who don’t have insurance have access to Government cash grants of £25,000 per business.
Job Retention Scheme for Furloughed Employees: any company is eligible for a grant to cover payroll of those not working due to Covid-19 (furloughed employees) with 80% of wages for employees not working up to £2,500 a month. Employers can choose to top this up. This can be back-dated to 1 March and will be available until the end of August.
Interest-free business interruption loans: increased to £5m.
Lockdown: the UK started lockdown on 23 March. The phased re-opening includes: schools open on 1 June with the return with Reception, Years 1 & 6 then from 15 June Years 10 & 12; non essential shops open from 15 June; hairdressers, beauty salons, food service providers, pubs and accommodation, cinemas from 4 July.
Meetings and gatherings: no social visits or gatherings of more than two. Children of separated couples are able to see each parent. Weddings and baptisms are not allowed, but funerals can proceed.
Mortgage holidays: lenders will provide three-month mortgage holidays for those that are in financial difficulty due to Covid-19.
NHS Nightingale hospital: being built in London and ready to take patients w.c. 6 April
Non essential shops close: this excludes pharmacies, petrol stations (and garages for MOTs), bicycle shops, home and hardware shops, car rentals, pet shops, corner shops and newsagents, post offices, banks >>
Notifiable disease: Covid-19 becomes a notifiable disease and must be reported by all health practitioners
Policing: Fines will be issued by the police if anyone is seen not adhering to these new measures.
Schools: All schools (including private schools and nurseries) to closed on Friday 20 March. Exams will not take place in May and June.
Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF): Available for businesses who qualify for small business rate relief (i.e. who pay little or no business rates) are entitled to a one-off cash grant through the local Council. If you qualify, you will be contacted by the council. The grant does not have to be paid back but is taxable should a profit be made.
Statutory Sick Pay: changed to be available from the very first day you are sick instead of four days under the current rules
Statutory Sick Pay Refunds: companies with less than 250 employees will be refunded statutory sick pays costs, by the Government, for up to 14 days if an employee is ill due to Covid-19
Stock Market: stock markets suffered their biggest falls since the 2008 financial crisis with the FTSE 100 index plunging almost 9% on Monday 9 March.
Take-aways permitted: Planning rules relaxed so pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Budget: delivered on 11 March had a £30bn package to help the UK economy with £5bn emergency response fund to support NHS and other public services.
The Insolvency System: The insolvency system will be reviewed to help keep companies trading and receiving supplies through the restructuring process and the government will temporarily suspend certain personal obligations on company directors to remove threats regarding insolvency
Universal Credit: can be accessed in full, by every self-employed person affected by Covid-19 at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees.
VAT Deferred Payments: the next VAT quarter (April – June) payments have been deferred until the end of the year.
Dedicated helpline to help with finance
To help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.