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The Government has set out a package of temporary measures to support businesses during the period of disruption caused by COVID-19.
This includes the following measures:
- Statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
- Business Rate Relief for small businesses and pubs
- Small business grant funding of £3,000 for all business in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief
- A Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
- HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
Sick pay Support to Employers
Legislation to allow small- and medium-sized businesses to reclaim SSP paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.
For businesses with less than 250 employees as at 28 February 2020
employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP as a result of COVID-19. The refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee
employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
Business Rates Support
Business Rates retail discount will increase to 100% for the 2020/21 tax year for properties below £51,000 rateable value.
The relief will also be extended to the leisure and hospitality sectors in response to COVID-19.
Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019/20 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority.
Businesses eligible for the newly expanded retail discount and/or the newly added pubs discount should apply to their local authority to receive the discount.
Any enquiries on eligibility should be directed to the relevant local authority. Further guidance for local authorities is due to be published by 20 March
Support for businesses who pay little or no business rates
The Govt will provide a one-off grant of £3,000 to business currently eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs. Qualifying businesses should be approached by their local authority.
Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, will launch shortly delivered by the British Business Bank. The scheme acts through the Govt. guaranteeing (without charge) 80% of the advance which should help businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The scheme will support loans of up to £1.2 million in value.
Business Tax Assistance
Businesses in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities, might be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. Such arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. HMRC have put in place a dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
Information is being constantly updated and latest developments can be found on the Government website.