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Coronavirus Business Assistance – What We Know So Far.

Coronavirus Business Assistance – what we know so far.

We’re going to be posting relevant information for our clients and providing a relevant link for further reading where possible.

Today’s update is as follows:

 

  • Statutory Sick Pay – The government has promised to reimburse small and medium sized businesses (Less than 250 employees at 28th Feb) the full cost of SSP paid to workers who have to take time off work as a result of the ongoing situation. Employers are advised to use common sense and not insist on sick notes but should keep a record of absences. It should be noted that only statutory sick pay of £94.25 per week is covered by this. Even if you choose to pay your staff more only the SSP element will be reimbursed by the government. The last comment on this was that there will be work over the coming months to facilitate repayment of SSP so for now the sick pay will need to be found from your own cashflows.

 

  • Grants and Rates – The small print on the grants is yet to be published. The short of it is that if you pay business rates or receive small business rates relief then your local authority will be providing you some assistance. Recent publications seem to focus on the retail, hospitality and leisure industries but there is indication that all businesses who currently receive small business rates relief should be eligible for 12 months of no business rates. In addition grants will be available from the “relevant local authority” whoever that may be for either £10,000 or £25,000 depending on the criteria yet to be finalised. In terms of how to get this money we are still none the wiser but it has been promised that the money will be with local authorities early April and sources that I have been able to chat with are expecting the local authority to make contact with all eligible businesses. A case of watch this space.

 

  • Business Loan  – The government will be offering business interruption loans to businesses through the British Business Bank. Loans will be interest free for 6 months and will also come with an 80% government guarantee on loans up to £5 million. These loans will launch next week. https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/

 

  • Time to Pay for current Tax liabilities – If you have existing liabilities due to HMRC which you feel you may struggle to meet as a result that Covid-19 is having or will have on your business then you are advised to call 08000159559 to discuss your options. I have not had any feedback on this yet but my understanding is that there should be no penalties for late payment and HMRC will be flexible with the repayments that they are requesting as long as you set up an arrangement with them.

 

  • Insurance – If you are fortunate enough to have insurance in place against pandemics or government ordered closure then your insurance should pay out. The government feels in particular that the guidance already in force for pubs, theatres etc although not an order to cease trade is sufficient to meet your insurers criteria.
The above is essentially a summary of information found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses. There are still a number of questions unanswered but as promised as soon as information becomes available we will be sharing this with you.

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