Now is a time of great uncertainty and set to be a trialling period for thousands of small businesses everywhere. Coronavirus is systematically bringing footfall on the high street and purchases of non-essential items to a halt as more and more people start to hesitate with their spending and self-isolate.
No one knows how long this could last for and so it is vital that we band together and help one another through these trying times. The Government and lenders are providing resources and there are other ways you can get support for your business over this period.
We’ve put together a quick summary to help you find information and make it easy to see what is available below:
The Government has set out measures to support businesses during the challenging times ahead presented by Coronavirus and there are expected to be further measures being taken in the coming weeks which we’ll update here.
£10,000 Grant - Small Business Rate Relief
The Government will be providing billions worth of funding to local authorities in order to support small businesses that are paying little to no business rates due to Small Business Rate Relief. This means that if you are eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief, you can receive a one-off grant of £10,000.
Funding is expected to be provided for this in early April. If your business is eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief, you will be contacted by your local authority and there is no need to apply.
Paying Sick Pay to Employees
Small and Medium sized businesses that have employees will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay that has been paid due to COVID-19. The Government needs to introduce new legislation and create systems in order for this to take place but they have said that they are working with employers to implement this as soon as possible.
Business Rates Reduction and Cash Grant
Businesses on the high street that have a rateable value of less than £51,000 will not have to pay any business rates on their shop for the 2020 / 2021 tax year. This is also being extended to the leisure and hospitality sectors.
On top of this, the Government will also be providing cash grants of up to £25,000 to these businesses in order to bridge through this period.
The Business Rate Retail Discount will be handled by your local authority and those that received the discount in the 2019 / 2020 tax year will be rebilled as soon as possible. If you have any queries or would like to apply for the discount, these enquiries should be directed to your local authority.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The British Business Bank is introducing a temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to help businesses throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. The Government has agreed to provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan. This is to help encourage lenders to support SMEs now more than ever.
Businesses can also access the first 6 months of these loans interest free as the government will be covering the cost of this initial period.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme isn’t available at this time but the British Business Bank has said that they are working to make this available as soon as possible.
Tax Payment Deferrals
Businesses and self employed people in financial distress and who have outstanding tax liabilities can contact HMRC through their dedicated COVID-19 Helpline in order to make their payments more manageable.
An extra 2,000 call handlers have been made available in order to facilitate helping you with the circumstances you are in. They are able to help set up instalment arrangements, suspending debt collection, and cancelling penalties and interest where you are having administrative difficulties in contacting or paying HMRC.
The COVID-19 Helpline can be called on 0800 0159 559.
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