COVID-19 advice and updates
for SMEs and the self-employed

COVID-19 SMEs and self-employed

The current pandemic is worrying for businesses and the self-employed. Unprecedented measures are being introduced almost daily.

The situation is so fast-moving that it can be easy to miss out on announcements that affect you.

To help you cut through the noise, we’ve prepared this page to guide you through the latest advice and opportunities. Please bookmark it – we will be updating it daily if we need to.

COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR BUSINESS

  1. Help with finances / cashflow
    1. BOUNCE BACK LOAN SCHEME
      SMEs can borrow 25% of their turnover (up to £50,000) via this 100% government guaranteed loan scheme. Available via accredited lenders, you don't have to make repayments or pay interest on loans for the first 12 months. The loans will then be charged at an interest rate of 2.5%. The scheme went live on Monday 4th May and you can find more details about it here.
    2. CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME
      This scheme is now available. Delivered by the British Business Bank via participating providers, it offers loans of up to £5m that are 80% backed by government. Government will also cover the initial 12 months of interest payments. 
      To qualify, your business must:

      1. Have a turnover of £41m or less
      2. Operate within an eligible industrial sector (see restrictions, below)
      3. Have a strong borrowing proposal, but insufficient securityAs of 3 April, insufficient security is no longer a condition of access to the scheme.
      4. Full sector restrictions are published here (PDF file). Finance terms range from three months to ten years, depending on the type of loan.

      Full details on the scheme available here: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

    3. CORONAVIRUS LARGE BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME
      CLBILS also gives lenders a government-backed partial guarantee (80%) against the outstanding balance of the facility. Lenders can provide:

      1. Up to £25m for businesses with turnover between £45m and £250m
      2. Up to £50m for businesses with a turnover of £250m +

      Full details are available here: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-schemes/clbils/

    4. CASH GRANTS FOR RETAIL, HOSPITALITY & 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.If your business has a rateable value of under £15,000, you will receive a grant of £10,000. If it has a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, you will receive a grant of £25,000.
  2. Help with paying employees
    1. CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME
      All UK employers are eligible for this scheme. You must designate workers as ‘furloughed’ (granted leave of absence from work) and tell both them and HMRC. HMRC will pay 80% of wage costs, up to £2,500 per month. This will operate for at least 3 months and will be backdated to 1st The first set of grants should be paid no later than the end of April. Full details here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses#support-for-businesses-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-schemeThe online portal for claims is now live. You can access it via the Government Gateway, here.
    2. HELP WITH SICK PAY
      If you are paying employees who are ill with COVID-19, government will refund up to two weeks’ worth of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Details of repayment mechanisms will be published in due course. Your business is eligible if you employed fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020.
  3. Help with tax
    1. VAT
      The next VAT quarter payment will be deferred.No business will pay VAT from now until end of June and you will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.
  4. Help with business rates
    1. HELP FOR RETAIL, HOSPITALITY, LEISURE & NURSERY BUSINESSES
      If your business is in the retail, hospitality, leisure or nursery industry, then you qualify for a 12-month business rates exemption.
  5. Help with insurance
    1. INSURANCE CLAIMS
      If you have insurance cover for pandemics and / or government-ordered closure, you are now able to make a claim. Unfortunately, very few businesses will have this kind of insurance – but do check your policy carefully.

For the latest government updates on support for businesses, visit this page: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

 INFORMATION FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED

  1. Help with income
    1. SELF-EMPLOYED INCOME SUPPORT SCHEME
      This scheme:

      • Gives the self-employed a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profit (over the past three years), up to £2,500.
      • Will operate for at least three months, and will be renewed as necessary.
      • Will allow you to claim the grants and continue to do business.
      • We operational and making grants by the beginning of June, possibly earlier. In June you will get three months' money in one payment.

       

      To qualify, you must:

      • Already be self-employed and have submitted a tax return for 2019. If you haven’t, you have 4 weeks from today to do so.
      • Make the majority of your income from self-employmentIf you are eligible, you will be contacted by HMRC.
      • Have trading profits of less than £50,000 in 2018-19, or average trading profits of less than £50,000 in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. In both cases these profits must constitute more than half your average taxable income over the period.

If you are eligible, you will be contacted by HMRC by mid May. First payments will be made by early June.

    1. BENEFITS / SICK PAY
      Every self-employed person can now access Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees
  1. Help with tax
    1. INCOME TAX
      Income Tax payments due in July 2020 are now deferred until January 2021
      under the Self Assessment system
  2. IR35 changes
    1. DELAY TO IR35 CHANGES
      IR35 changes were due to be introduced in April this year. The government has just announced an IR35 delay. IR35 reforms will now be introduced on 6 April 2021.

FURTHER LINKS ON CORONAVIRUS

For the latest coronavirus news stories and blog posts, please visit the following links:

COVID-19 business news and blogs

Read More

COVID-19 personal news and blogs

Read More
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