COVID-19 Support For Businesses In England

With the rapidly evolving situation with the COVID-19 Corona Virus, here is a summary of the support available to businesses in England.

Last Updated: 24/03/2020

The Chancellor set out a package of temporary and targeted measures to support businesses through this period of disruption.

This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

  • Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change
  • Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (Not yet live on 24/03/2020
  • HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
  • HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement.

Deferring VAT and Income Tax Payments

Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments will be deferred for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

  • For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.
  • All UK businesses are eligible. This is an automatic offer with no applications required.
  • No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.
  • VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
  • Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated.
  • For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.

Reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) For Absence Due To COVID-19

Small-and medium-sized businesses will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.

  • It 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 will be eligible
  • Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP as a result of COVID-19
  • Employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
  • Payments will be made in coming months, legislation still need to be passed

Support For Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Businesses

Businesses that will benefit from the rate relief and cash grant will be occupied establishments that are wholly or mainly being used as:

  • Shops, Restaurants, Cafes, Drinking Establishments, Cinemas and Live Music Venues
  • For Assembly and Leisure
  • Hotels, Guest & Boarding Premises
  • Self-Catering Accommodation

Business Rates Holiday For Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Businesses

Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be re-billed by their local authority as soon as possible.

There is no action for you, this will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020.

Further guidance for local authorities is available in the expanded retail discount guidance.

Cash Grants For Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Businesses

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

  • Businesses with a property that has a rateable value of £15,000 and under will receive a grant of £10,000.
  • Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
  • You are eligible for the grant if your business is based in England

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.

Nursery Businesses That Pay Business Rates

There will be a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.You are eligible for the business rates holiday if your business is based in England.

There is no action for you, this will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020.

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be hereditaments:

  • Occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
  • Wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage

Further guidance for local authorities is available in the nursery discount guidance.

Other Businesses That Pay Little/No Business rates

The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief.

  • This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.
  • You are eligible if you are a business based in England and are a business that occupies property.

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Update: 15/06/2021 – The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now closed for new applications as of 31st March 2021. It has been replaced by the Recovery Loan Scheme.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will support SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years.

  • The government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees
  • The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan
  • The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the government-owned British Business Bank.
  • There are 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks.
  • Your business must be UK based, with turnover of no more than £45 million per year

Applications can be made directly with one of the accredited lenders or via a commercial finance broker.

Bolton Business Finance are offering free support to any business that needs help accessing financial support via the CBIL Scheme. Get in touch to discuss.

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.

More information is available from the Bank of England.

HMRC Time to Pay Service

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559.

COVID-19 Support For Businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Because some elements of business support are devolved, the measures you can access may differ if your business is in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Summary & Other Useful Links

Bolton Business Finance are offering free support to any business that needs help accessing financial support via the CBIL Scheme. Get in touch to discuss.