Coronavirus: Help is at hand for small businesses

With Coronavirus on the rise in the UK, small businesses are at risk from the economic fallout. Whether you’re and employer or self-employed, it may be difficult to know where you stand in this situation and what support is available. Below outlines what the Government are doing to aid businesses during the current outbreak.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

There are usually three waiting days before Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is paid, but for those who are advised to self isolate, this is no longer the case. You will now get SSP from day one rather than day four. This means that those receiving SSP would receive around £40 extra pay.

As an employer, if many employees self-isolate then your income will mostly likely decrease. This may leave you wondering how you will cover SSP for all self-isolating employees. In the 2020 Budget, the Government confirmed that they will refund the cost of SSP of self-isolating employees for up to fourteen days. This only applies to small-and-medium-sized businesses with less than 250 employees.

To prevent the spread of Coronavirus in GP Surgeries, NHS 111 will give people who are self-isolating a virtual sick note.

People who are self-employed are not able to claim SSP, but the Government has said that it will make accessing benefits quicker and easier for those self-employed. For those who are on employment and support Allowance (ESA), you will be able to claim from day one, rather than day eight. The minimum income floor for Universal Credit has also been temporarily removed so that people can claim for the time they spend off work due to sickness.

Business Rates

For businesses in retail, leisure and hospitality, business rates will be removed, however the abolition of the business rates will only apply to those businesses whose rateable value is under £51,000. Business rates were originally only going to be decreased by 50%, but due to the Coronavirus, this was changed to a 100% decrease, completely removing them altogether.

For those businesses who do not pay any business rates, a £3,000 cash grant will be available.

These temporary measures will enable small businesses to continue as normal during these pressuring times.

Expansion of existing “Time to Pay” arrangements

This scheme is intended to assist businesses with cash flow difficulties allowing them to defer tax liabilities for a period of time. All arrangements will be agreed on a case-by-case basis and there is a specific helpline to call for any businesses interested in making use of this facility.

Information regarding the helpline is available on the website here.

Loan Scheme

A new loan scheme, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, was introduced in the 2020 Budget. Businesses with a turnover of £41 million or less will be able to apply for a loan of up to £1.2 million, in which the government will cover up to 80% of any losses with no fees. The British Business Bank will be delivering this loan, which will total up to £1 billion of protection covering many businesses. This new loan scheme will replace their current Enterprise Finance Guarantee temporarily.

The British Business Bank will have more information regarding this loan on their website - click here.

There is more information on the 2020 Budget please click here and a summary of the package of measures the Chancellor announced yesterday in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is available here.

If you do have any questions about the effects of Coronavirus on your business, please do not hesitate to call us on 01273 771122 and we will be happy to help.