Last night the government unveiled a £350bn package of measures and pledged to do ‘whatever it takes’ to support businesses through the coronavirus pandemic. Here we summarise the key points relevant to small businesses.
Statutory Sick Pay
SSP is £94.25 per week and is now applicable from day 1 of illness, not day 4 as was previously the case. The government will pay 2 weeks’ statutory sick pay for any employees who cannot work due to coronavirus, though SSP remains payable for up to 28 weeks.
Sick notes are not required due to self-isolation measures recommended to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. If your employees require sick leave, please keep a record of the day their sick leave begins and ends so that we can help you make the necessary adjustments to your payroll, if we manage this for you.
Business rates are paused for the 2020/21 tax year for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector.
Companies that pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief are now eligible for a one-off grant of £10,000 to help meet ongoing costs. Funding is being provided via local authorities.
A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on loans to encourage lending to SMEs. If you think you may need a loan to maintain your business during the pandemic, please contact us to help you review your finances and advise on your needs.
The government has said it will support ‘businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities’ though HMRC’s Time to Pay service which, as the name suggests, provides a tailored repayment scheme. If you are concerned about meeting your business tax liabilities, please get in touch so that we can help review your finances and advise on the best approach.
How we can help
We appreciate the coronavirus pandemic is extremely worrying for all of our clients and wish to reassure you that we are here to help you as much as we can. There has never been a better time for sound financial planning.
No-one knows what the long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic will be. Whether you’re affected now, or think you might be in future, please get in touch for help and advice. Our specialist small businesses accountants can help you with:
- Assisting with cashflow forecasts.
- Tax planning.
- Providing information relevant to your grant claim and rate relief.
- Managing payroll and SSP.
- Fast-tracking reference requests.
Reactions to the new measures by business leaders:
It's clear that today’s economic measures substantial and welcome. Govt has committed to more, and more will be needed across sectors and for individuals. Let’s move together, at pace, to overtake the issues not react to them.@cbicarolyn on @BBCNewsnight pic.twitter.com/hynNuast9i— CBI (@CBItweets) March 17, 2020
This morning @MikeCherryFSB was on @BBCBreakfast with reaction to the Chancellor’s measures to support small businesses through #coronavirus— FSB (@fsb_policy) March 18, 2020
He also urged larger companies to ensure they are paying their small suppliers to help with cashflow 📺 pic.twitter.com/XpRo9bsGEH