Advice for Small Businesses in the wake of COVID-19
In light of the recent Pandemic, we’ve put together some advice that small businesses might be interested in during these tough times.
As COVID-19 is causing unprecedented levels of disruption around the world as well as here the UK the government will be implementing some short term measures to aid small businesses.
Here is a short summary of what has been proposed to date:-
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) relief package for SMEs
Employers will be able to reclaim SSP for sickness absence due to COVID-19.
To be eligible:-
The refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19.
Employers with fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020.
Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP as a result of COVID-19 whether they contracted it or have been advised to self-isolate.
Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
The period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force.
The government will then work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.
12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
The Government are going to introduce a business rates retail holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority.
Small business grant
This is a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) or rural rate relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.
You don’t need to apply, instead you will be contacted by your local authority if you are eligible.
Business rates grant of £25,000
To be eligible you must have a retail, hospitality or leisure business with a property that has a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
Enquires about eligibility should be made directly with the relevant local authority.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
This is to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance. This should be available from next week from the British Business Bank (https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/) and covers term facilities, overdrafts, invoice finance facilities and asset finance facilities. On the British Business Bank website it says that loans are available from £1000 up to £1.2 million, for terms between 3 months and 10 years. The HMRC figures differ slightly, they indicate loans up to £5 million and that these will be interest free for the first 6 months.
The Small Business must be:-
UK based with a turnover under £41 million per annum.
Operate within an eligible industrial sector (https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Ineligible-and-Restricted-Eligibility-Sector-2017.pdf)
Have a sound borrowing proposal, but insufficient security to meet a lender’s normal requirements.
Be able to confirm that they have not received de minimis State aid beyond €200,000 equivalent over the current and previous two fiscal years(https://www.gov.uk/guidance/state-aid).
For more information https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/
HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
Tax can be distressing at the best of times, but if you have a business or are self-employed with outstanding tax liabilities that would be difficult to pay off in light of the COVID-19 situation you may be eligible for this relief.
Call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
Your case will be reviewed and if successful, a workable payment scheme will be agreed that takes account of your cash-flow situation.
For more information https://www.gov.uk/difficulties-paying-hmrc
Finally check your Insurance
Every insurance policy is unique, it may be a long shot but it is worth checking to see if you have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure.
Both the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim.
Check your policies the terms and conditions and if in any doubt contact your provider.
For More information go to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses