Workers who absolutely cannot work from home are now being encouraged back to work if this can be done safely. Safety guidance can be found here.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least 3 months starting from 1st March 2020. It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
Employers can claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage. Employers can use this scheme anytime during this period.
The scheme is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 16th March 2020.
The Bounceback Loan Scheme
The Chancellor has announced the new bounceback loan scheme is available from 4th May and will provide your business with up to £50,000. This loan will be 100% Government guaranteed to cut out any red tape. The majority of businesses should receive their loans within 24 hours.
There won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.
Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports 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 also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.
The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to pre-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. 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.
Deferring VAT payments and income tax payments
We will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months.
If you’re a UK VAT registered business and have a VAT payment due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, you have the option to defer the payment until a later date.
If you’re due to pay a self-assessment payment on account by 31 July 2020 but the impact of the coronavirus causes you difficulty in making payment by that date, then you may defer payment until January 2021.
Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the current rate of SSP that they pay to current or former employees for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.
Support for retail, hospitality, leisure, and nursery businesses that pay business rates
We will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure and nursery businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
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 in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 may be eligible for a grant of £10,000.
Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 may be eligible for a grant of £25,000.
Support for businesses that pay little or 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 (SBRR), 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.
Discretionary Grants Scheme
The Government have recently introduced a new discretionary fund to help businesses who were not eligible for other coronavirus support schemes – the £617m fund has now been distributed to all local authorities who will now be responsible for ensuring that the funding goes to those business who have been most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Medway Council has now given further details on the scheme and how to apply. Priority for the scheme is being given to businesses in shared offices that do not have their own business rates assessment, regular market traders with fixed building costs, bed and breakfast owners that pay Council Tax instead of Business Rates, and charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief.
This fund is available to any Medway business that has fewer than 50 employees, have a rateable property value of below £51,000, and have been trading before 11th March 2020. If your application is successful, the Council aims to make payments by late June onwards. You must apply before 5th June 2020, so please visit Medway Council’s website to start your application: https://www.medway.gov.uk/coronavirusbusinesses