Tonight’s announcements have released unprecedented and temporary measures that will benefit small businesses like you in a bid to protect employment and individuals throughout this Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic. We have listed the most relevant information for you.

Staff Retention Scheme:

  • For the first time in history, a staff retention scheme for employers is temporarily in place so that 80% of salaries, for staff that aren’t working, are covered with grants from HMRC for your employee’s salaries, there’s an upper limit of £2,500 per month – it is not been clarified if this amount is before or after tax but as soon as we know we will update you all. If you would like to benefit from this then you will need to apply for the grant. This applies for businesses small or large, charitable or non-profit and will be backdated to 1st March 2020. HMRC is currently working around the clock to get this in place. If you are the employer then you can top up your employees salary if you choose to. This will hopefully mean any worker should be able to retain their job once this epidemic is over.This will remain in place for 3 months but could be extended.
  • All businesses should continue to allow their employees to work from home where possible.
  • If an employee or you become ill with the symptoms of Coronavirus, then that individual should stay at home and follow the advice to stay there.
  • If you or your employee need to stop work due to suffering with symptoms, the individual should acquire an isolation note from the online services here: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/

Deferred tax payments:

If you have a self-assessment tax payment due to be paid by 31st July 2020, this can now be deferred until January 2021.

If you are VAT registered, the payment for your next quarter’s VAT can be deferred until the end of the financial year. No business need pay VAT from now until mid-June. As we understand it, the VAT returns still need to be prepared and filed on time, and the payment is deferred not cancelled.

Business Interruption Loan Schemes:

Lenders will be able to provide loans with a government-backed guarantee against the outstanding facility balance meaning lending to businesses will all but guaranteed. If you are borrowing funds, you will always 100% remain liable for the debt. The loans will be provided on more attractive terms and to help with lowering initial repayments, there will be no interest on these loans for the first twelve months, rather than 6 months as previously announced. Loans will be available from next Monday 23rd March 2020.

Financial aid for self-employed:

Self-employed can now access Universal Credit with no floor limit. This means that self-employed individuals will be able to access Universal Credits in full at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees. This is currently £94.25 per week.

Renting a property:

There is going to be an increase in housing benefit and Universal Credits so that the Local Housing Allowance will cover at least 30% of market rents in the area.

Business Rates:

Leisure facilities such as pubs, nightclubs, theatres, restaurants, gyms, etc., to close as soon as reasonably possible. To help prevent further losses to these businesses, all rates will be abolished for these types of businesses for at least twelve months.

If you have any queries or we can do anything to assist you at this time then please let us know. We all hope you are all keeping healthy and well!

With kind regards,

Vincent & Co Accountants