The government announced yesterday the first wave of financial support in their mission to support businesses, individuals and families.
There are further measures expected in the coming days but for now, here are the headlines:
The treasury are making available £330 billion by way of government loans to support businesses with their costs for rent, salaries, stock and supplier payments. The size of loans available has been increased from £1.2 M to £5 M. Interest rates will be supposedly favourable and no interest will be charged for the first 6 months of the term.
For small to medium companies, loans will be available through the “business interruption loan scheme”, although details have not been announced on how the loans can be obtained. The chancellor has provided his assurance that these loans will be available next week so we should have details for you soon.
Companies in the leisure, retail and hospitality industry with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be able to obtain a cash grant of up to £25,000 per business. Details on how this grant can be obtained are yet to be announced.
Small businesses who currently qualify for small business rates relief will have grants of up to £10,000 available to them. This is an increase on the £3,000 grant announced earlier this week. Current information on the government website suggests that funding will be provided to local authorities in early April and businesses do not need to apply for the grant; their local authority will contact them.
Time to Pay for Business Taxes
HMRC have set up a dedicated helpline for business and individuals facing financial distress due to COVID-19 who have outstanding tax liabilities. It may be possible to arrange time to pay by phoning HMRC on 0800 0159 559.
Every single business in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector will get a 12 month holiday from paying business rates.
Statutory Sick Pay
Legislation has been brought in to allow employers to reclaim statutory sick pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The refund will cover up to 2 weeks of COVID-19 related absence per eligible employee and will be available to businesses with fewer than 250 employees. The mechanism for these repayments has not been set up yet but the government aim to have this set up in the coming months.
Law change for Restaurants
The law has been changed allowing pubs and restaurants to convert into takeaways without planning consent.
For people facing financial difficulty due to COVID-19, lenders are allowing mortgage holidays of up to 3 months.
Any individual requiring urgent help should contact their local authority who have been provided with additional funding for such cases.
Should you want to chat about how any of these changes affect your business, we are always ready to take your call.