Coronavirus: Help & Support for Businesses
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – what we currently know.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF)
CCFF – Launched last week with the aim to “provide funding to businesses by purchasing commercial paper of up to one-year maturity, issued by firms making a material contribution to the UK economy.” The issuance of Commercial Paper and consequently the CCFF will not be relevant to the vast majority of our clients. Details on The Bank of England webpage (ignore the reference to ‘published on 20 March 2020’ – it has been updated).
Other support for businesses announced by the UK government
HMRC dedicated Covid-19 helpline 0800 024 1222 – (*please note this is a new number as of 30/03) to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. The helpline is open from 8am – 4pm, Mon-Fri only.
Further information on the helpline can be found here
Time to pay – HMRC had also scaled up their Time to Pay offer for those with outstanding tax liabilities and are under financial strain from Covid-19. Through the helpline, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement.
Deferral of tax payments:
- VAT– there will be an automatic offer to defer VAT payments during the period 20 March to 30 June, with the taxpayer given until the end of the 2020/21 tax year to settle liabilities accumulated during the deferral period. Find more details here.
- Income self – assessment – payments on account due by 31 July 2020 will be automatically deferred until 31 January 2021. You do not need to be self-employed to be eligible for the deferment, you simply need to have a self-assessment return already filed.
- For both there will be no penalties or interest for late payments charged if you defer payment until 31 January 2021.
Statutory sick pay – For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full if the employee is unable to work because they:
- have coronavirus; or
- are self isolating and unable to work from home; or
- are shielding because they’ve been advised that they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus
On 26 May HMRC will open an online portal for employers to make this claim.
- Grant of £10,000 funding for small businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR) or Rural Rate Relief will be contacted by their local authority – they do not need to apply
- All retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months
Grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses – £25,000 to these businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000 will be contacted by their local authority – they do not need to apply.
Insurance for pandemics and government-ordered closure – businesses that have this included in their insurance cover should now be covered to claim. This follows advice issued to avoid pubs, theatres etc that is considered sufficient to make a claim, subject to all other conditions being met. However, we have heard from some businesses after talking to their insurance companies that additional cover for infectious diseases / pandemics is required to claim and that some claims are being resisted on the basis that Coronavirus is not one of the infectious diseases listed. As insurance policies differ significantly, businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers (*)
(* = ‘Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics’ – www.gov.uk)
Extra protection for commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent – the government has announced that commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of Coronavirus will be protected from eviction. Click here to find out more
Government introduces new measures to protect UK high street shops – landlords and investors are being asked to work collaboratively with high street businesses unable to pay their rent during the pandemic. They are temporarily banning the use of statutory demands and winding up petitions where a company cannot pay its bills due to Coronavirus. Read the full article here
Corporate Finance team
We anticipate we will be working with our clients over the coming weeks on scenario planning, including financial modelling and cash flow forecasts. We are actively monitoring the funding environment (including the CBILS) and looking to complement the headlines with details on how our clients may be able to access support available.