Coronavirus (COVID-19) summary of Government initiatives to support SME businesses

Grants etc

  • Coronavirus Job Retention SchemeState to pay 80% of furloughed wages - up to £2,500 per month backdated until 1 March 2020 for an initial three months for employees who are furloughed rather than made redundant to "support as many jobs as necessary".
  • Repayment of statutory sick pay - For sickness and self isolation caused by Coronavirus - available to businesses with fewer than 250 staff.
  • Employment allowance - SMEs will not have to pay Employers National Insurance Contributions on the first £4,000 of their annual bill.
  • Small business rate relief - For those who already qualify for small business or rural rate relief will be paid a one off grant of £10,000 to help meet ongoing business costs.
  • Retail/leisure/hospitality100% business rate relief until 31 March 2021 - grant funding of £25,000.  You do not need to do anything, your local authority will write to you if you are eligible.
  • Insurance - Businesses that have insurance for a pandemic can claim.

Deferment and liquidity

  • Deferring VAT - automatic offer with no application required.  No business will need to pay Value Added Tax until after June 2020 - to be repaid before the end of the 2020/21 tax year.
  • HMRC time to pay - has been around since the global financial crisis in 2008 but is likely to be available on more generous terms by calling HMRC's dedicated line on 0800 0159 559.
  • Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme ("CBILS") - to provide loans of up to £5million to businesses with a turnover of less than £45million - replacing the Enterprise Finance Guarantee but on more attractive terms including twelve months interest free - a business needs to meet the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria of which the core one is a company needs to have a borrowing proposal which, were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic, would be considered viable by the lender and for which the lender believes the provision of finance will enable your business to trade out of any short-to-medium term difficulty.  Visit the British Business Bank website for key features and eligibility criteria.

Other helpful initiatives

  • Three month extension period to file accountsbusinesses will be given an additional three months to file accounts with Companies House to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impact of COVID-19.
  • New HMRC tax payment helpline launched - to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) .  If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to Coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 024 1222

For business advice in these challenging times please contact us on 0800 331 7417

Updated 26 March 2020

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