Updates to content on this page

Since this blog was posted on 20th March, we have provided further guidance and there have been further changes to what was originally announced by the Government. See these updates pages below:

  • Government to protect salaries with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: More guidance has been announced on how this scheme works. We have put together an in-depth guide to furloughing your staff. Read it here.
  • Support for self-employed: Further support has been announced for the self-employed. We have put together an article together on the reliefs available to self employed here.
  • Grants available to businesses: The grants available to businesses have been updated and we have put together an article on our guidance of what you need to do to access these here.

This evening, the Government has announced further “unprecedented” measures to support businesses and their employees. 

In short, the message is to hold on to staff and do not make redundancies. 

We will be working hard between now and Monday to get you the full details of how we can help you but for now, these are the key announcements to be aware of: 

1. Protecting employees’ salaries

To protect your employees and their jobs, the chancellor has announced the government will step in and pay wages under the ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’. Employers will be able to apply to HM Revenue & Customs for grants to pay up to 80% of an employee’s wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month per employee.

This covers wages backdated to 1st March 2020 and the scheme will be in place for 3 months, although it may be extended. The grants are expected to be paid out from April.

It means your employees can keep their jobs, even if you can’t afford to pay them right now. 

Guide to furloughing your staff

There has since been more guidance on furloughing your staff. We have put together an in-depth guide to furloughing your staff, including:

  • How to calculate the 80% furlough and much grant you can expect
  • Important restrictions and terms that guidance sets out that were not clear before
  • The implication the rules have for switching staff on and off of furlough
  • Annual Leave for people on furlough
  • The A4G Furlough Toolbox

Read the full guide here.

2. VAT bills deferred

“No business will pay any VAT from now until the end of June”.

This means your next VAT return (quarters that end March, April or May) won’t be collected or payable in the normal way. However, you will have to pay it eventually. Businesses will have until the end of the year to pay this VAT to HMRC – it is a delayed payment not another grant.

3. Loans interest-free for 12 months

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans will now be interest-free for 12 months instead of the 6 months previously announced. These loans will be available from Monday 23rd March 2020 but, with the new grants to cover employee wages, we would urge you to properly plan before rushing into any additional lending needs.

Normal lending criteria would mean you would need your most recent set of accounts together with management accounts for the period since your year and forecasts for 12-24 months. We expect a number of these things will need to be in place.

4. 12 months rates relief and possible further grant 

The Government are introducing a 12 month rates relief for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

A £25,000 grant will also be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

5. Small business rates relief and £10,000 grant 

Small business will receive rates relief and a £10,000 grant for businesses with rateable value £15,000 or less. This will be applied automatically by your local authority.

6. Personal Self-Assessment payments deferred

Payments on account due on 31st July 2020 towards self-assessment income liabilities will be deferred to 31st January 2021.

7. Help for the self-employed

Self-employed are now entitled to Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay (£94.25 per week for up to 28 weeks).

The Chancellor also promised further measures next week to ensure larger and medium sized businesses will be able to access the credit they need.

Since publishing, more guidance has been announced for the self-employed, including the statutory self-employment pay scheme.

Read our updated article here.

This is a lifeline for small businesses and will help with the challenges we all face over the next 3 months. As always, we will be here to support you every step of the way and help you put these measures into place for your business. We will provide more details as and when they are released.

We hope this will mean for many of you, you will sleep a bit easier tonight feeling supported by our government in the measures they are putting into place and our commitment to you and your business to ensure you have all the information you need to make the right choices.

If you have any questions or concerns and need our help, please contact us.

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