Coronavirus News

Last updated: 5th August 2020

This page is a summary of the various announcements and guidance issued to businesses around Coronavirus. We’ll keep it up to date as a central reference point, from which you can link to the other posts and resources on the subject.

Things are moving very fast, so please do subscribe to receive our updates by filling in the form below, or come back here regularly to make sure you have the latest information. We’re concentrating on getting information and support to our clients but will update the date stamp at the top of the page so you can tell when this was last updated.

Getting through this is not going to be easy.

We don’t know how long this situation will last, but we do know that it WILL end. Life will get back to some semblance of ‘normal’ and we’re here to help our clients get through to that point as strongly as possible.

If you’d like to speak to us about any of these announcements, the impact of the new legislation or lock-down on your business or any other matters, please get in touch.

How can we help?

  • Use our free Cash Flow forecasting software to look 90 days ahead in your business and see where the gaps and challenges may be.
  • Construction or amendment of existing Budgets to predict what your business targets need to be over the coming weeks and months.
  • Supporting documentation and figures for finance applications.
  • Advice, translation and guidance around the various measures announced below, and how they may apply to your unique business.
  • Visit our ‘Rebound Resources‘ page to find the latest videos and downloads to help your business look forwards towards recovery. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be adding extra content for you to work through; pop back often to stay up to date OR fill in the form and we’ll let you know when we add extra content.

Rebound Resources

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Remember we’re here, whenever you need us and will be as flexible as we can to help you, whatever that need may look like!

What other help is there?

1 Finance / Grants / Support Schemes

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

  • More details are on the British Business Bank website.
  • Through 44 lenders, lending up to £5m per business, the Government will supply up to 80% security.
  • Lenders will offer finance through their usual options before offering CBILS loans.
  • A Personal Guarantee may be required over £250,000.
  • CBILS loans will be interest free for 12 months.
  • Amendments to the scheme were announced on the 3rd April, detailed here.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)

  • A new ‘bounce-back’ loan scheme has been announced today (27th April 2020) where small firms can gain access to 100% taxpayer-backed loans of up to £50,000 within days of applying. The limited details currently available are here.
  • More details are on the British Business Bank website, published 4th May 2020.
  • Available through a range of lenders, lending between £2,000 and £50,000 over a maximum 6 year term, up to 25% of turnover.
  • The Government gives the lender 100% security.
  • No interest or repayment for 12 months.
  • Interest set at 2.5% after the first year.
  • No early repayment fees or set-up fees.
  • No personal loans or guarantees.
  • Applications via your own bank initially, using an online self certification form with fast approval and payment promised.
  • Our update blog is here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • Guidance is available here.
  • Available to all employers, and to staff who were on payroll at 28th February 2020 (Amended to 19th March 2020 on 15th April).
  • Provides up to 80% or £2,500 a month maximum of employees salaries to avoid redundancies as a result of Coronavirus.
  • Initially for 3 months, but may well be extended.
  • Employers can ‘top-up’ the salaries to 100% if they choose to do so.
  • If employment contracts don’t allow for laying off staff, employers need to agree with staff that they can be furloughed.
  • Furloughed staff can be brought back after 3 weeks, and potentially rotated.
  • Furloughed staff cannot do any work, which is classified as ‘providing services or generating revenue’.
  • Claims need to be made via a portal from HMRC that will be available 20th April 2020. Payments will be backdated to 1st March. Claims will be paid within six working days of their submission.
  • Government funding can include Employers National Insurance and Employers pension amounts in a addition to the limit of £2,500.
  • We would recommend that Directors are NOT furloughed. See our separate article.
  • Further guidance has been issued by HMRC on the 4th April 2020. See it here. 
  • HMRC have announced when the Portal to reclaim salaries paid to furloughed staff. Full details (as of 8th April) are here. Updated 16th April.
  • Xero Payroll will be updated effective 15th April 2020 to include the ability to record furloughed employees via ‘Time Off’ with a Claim Report becoming available by the end of April.
  • If you would like to read the Chancellors Direction to the Treasury, you can do that here.
  • On Friday 17th April 2020, HMRC announced a one-month extension to the scheme.
  • Updates are due to be announced today, 12th May by Rishi Sunak.
  • Headline changes announced by Rishi Sunak – 12th May. The scheme will remain until October.
  • What might be included in the detail? (28th May)
  • The extra detail has arrived! The key date to take account of is the 10th June, after which you cannot furlough anyone new. More details are here. This includes the staged amounts payable by employers.
  • The guidance around the latest updates has been published, outlining how the Flexible Furlough scheme will work from 1st July. You can see our update here.
  • A window of 90 days has been opened for employers or Claimants to declare any over claims before HMRC find them and approach the taxpayer. More details are here.

Coronavirus Self-employed Income Support Scheme

  • More details are here.
  • HMRC’s guidance is available here.
  • Self employed trading profits must be less than £50,000 per year, but more than 50% of your income.
  • Benefit will be 80% of the average profits for the tax years 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 where applicable.
  • You can continue to work if possible during the initial three month term of the scheme.
  • HMRC have announced that there is more clarification to come (8th March). We’ll update you as soon as we know more.
  • The scheme is due to open on the 13th May 2020, but there is a claim process to start before then. Full details are here. Updated 7th May.
  • SCAM WARNING! HMRC are going to be sending emails and texts about this scheme, but legitimate messages from them WILL NOT ask you to follow a link OR provide any personal details. Please be careful!
  • The scheme has been extended and a second payment will be available on the 17th August. More details will be announced on the 12th June. More details are here.
  • A window of 90 days has been opened for employers or Claimants to declare any over claims before HMRC find them and approach the taxpayer. More details are here.

Statutory Sick Pay Enhancements

  • Businesses with less than 250 employees can reclaim SSP from the Government.
  • SSP is now available to employees from day 1 of their illness, AND if they need to self-isolate. If the latter, staff need to contact 111 to get a digital sick note.
  • A rebate scheme is being developed.
  • More detail is here.
  • The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will become available to reclaim SSP from the 26th May 2020.

Business Rates Grants

  • If you’re Eligible for Small Business Rates Relief (rateable value up to £15,000) – you will receive a £10,000 grant.
  • For retail, hospitality or leisure businesses, with a property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 – you will receive a £25,000 grant.
  • For all businesses in retail, hospitality or leisure – 12 month business rates holiday.
  • We posted an update around accessing these grants on the 3rd April, which you can find here.
  • Grants are starting to hit bank accounts (8th April). If you are yet to hear anything from your council, you may wish to chase them.
  • The Business Rates Grants rules above are applicable to England only. The Scottish Guidance is here; the primary difference being that in England you can receive the grant for multiple properties whilst in Scotland you can only receive a grant for one property, even if you have more than one.
  • An additional fund of £617million has been announced (2nd May 2020) for local authorities, targeted towards small businesses with on-going fixed property- related costs. This could include shared or serviced office space, or businesses such as Bed and Breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates. The initial announcement is here.

2 Payment Arrangements and Deferrals

Income Tax Deferral

  • Anyone who has a Payment on Account due for payment on 31st July can defer that until January 2021.
  • This payment is still due, but at a later date.
  • Make sure you plan for the extra amount to be due in January!
  • No application is required, and no penalties will be applied.

VAT Deferral

  • Any VAT payments due between 20th March and 30th June 2020 will automatically be deferred.
  • There is no need to apply.
  • Payment of the amount due must be made by 31st March 2021.
  • If you pay by Direct Debit, you should cancel that authority at your bank.
  • Submit your VAT Return as due.

HMRC Helpline 

  • A new helpline for businesses and self-employed concerned about being unable to pay tax due to Coronavirus.
  • Taxes included: Self Assessment, VAT, PAYE, Corporation Tax
  • Making time to pay arrangements, suspending debt collection proceedings, cancelling penalties & interest.
  • Call 0800 024 1222 Monday – Friday 8am – 4pm.

3 Reopening Your Business

The Government has issued guidance around the steps businesses should take to ensure their workplaces are as safe as possible whilst we move through the pandemic. This page includes contact details for the HSE COVID-19 helpline.

We can confirm we have complied with the Government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19. Should you wish to do so, you can see our completed declaration form here.

4 Looking ahead

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled his Summer Economic Update, including a VAT reduction, stamp duty increase, a range of grants and bonus’s for employers, and a discount for meal eaten out during August for the entire UK population. Find out more here. (8th July 2020)

The ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ Scheme – more details have been announced. (15th July 2020)

VAT rate cut to 5% for the Hospitality sector – more details have been announced. (15th July 2020)

 

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The links to the other support pages on Gov.uk are as follows:

Coronavirus Guidance for Employees, Employers and Businesses

COVID-19: Guidance for employers and Businesses

NHS Coronavirus Information Page

 

 

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