We are aiming to keep everyone updated as and when announcements are made by the government. We have collated the following for your information:
- Statutory Sick Pay will now be payable from day one instead of day four for those unable to work due to COVID-19. The rate of SSP is £94.25 per week.
- Employment and Support Allowance will be payable in line with SSP for those unable to work due to COVID-19.
- Details on how ESA can be claimed can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance/how-to-claim
- In addition to SSP or ESA, you may also be eligible to claim Universal Credit. Details on how Universal Credit can be claimed can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit
- A three-month mortgage holiday has been introduced for those in financial difficulty, although T&C’s will vary depending on the lender. This is not automatic and will need to be applied for. It is understood that this is also to include buy-to-let mortgages under the proviso this is then passed onto tenants in the form of rent holidays. Please refer to individual lenders for further advice. Furthermore, legislation to assist private tenants is due to be announced imminently.
- The imminent rule changes regarding IR35 / off-payroll working which were due to be implemented from 6th April 2020 have now been postponed for twelve months.
Small and medium businesses:
- A temporary business interruption loan scheme has been introduced providing lenders with a guarantee of 80% on loans to give lenders the confidence to continue providing finance to small and medium businesses. This also includes the first six months of interest payments being covered
- A £10,000 grant will be available to businesses that pay little or no business rates because of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief. Such businesses will be contacted by their local authority.
- It will be possible to claim a refund covering up to two weeks’ Statutory Sick Pack per eligible employee who has been off work due to COVID-19.
All businesses in retail, leisure and hospitality:
- A business rate retail holiday will be introduced for the 2020/21 tax year.
- Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019/20 tax year will be rebilled at a discounted rate by their local authority.
- A £25,000 grant will be available to businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
Please note, all of the above information has been primarily obtained from the GOV website and interpreted by us. Unless already mentioned, details on how all grants and refunds can be claimed are yet to be released.
HMRC has set up a dedicated helpline regarding COVID-19, and they can be contacted on 0800 0159 559.