COVID-19 Business Support Measures

by | Jul 6, 2020 | Business, COVID-19

In response to the disruption caused by COVID-19, the Government has implemented a series of targeted measures to support businesses and individuals through this period.

We have provided here a summary of those measures, in addition to links for further eligibility and application details. We will continue to update this resource as changes are announced and new measures implemented.

The full list of measures announced by the Government can be found here.

An associated business support finder tool from the Government can also be found here.

 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
Designed to help SME’s with an annual turnover of £45 million or below, the CBILS scheme, offers loans of up to £5 million. Delivered via the British Business Bank (BBB), the Government provides a guarantee of 80% of each loan to encourage lender confidence in providing finance.

Interest is paid for by the Government for the first six months and loans can be taken over a maximum of six years. The capital is provided in the form of loans, invoice finance, asset finance and revolving credit (overdrafts).

Full details of eligibility criteria as well as a full list of accredited lenders can be found on the BBB website.

For larger businesses (minimum annual turnover £45m), the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) is available. This scheme helps businesses to access loans and other finance up to a value of £200 million, with a government guarantees of 80% to the lender. More information on CLBILS can be found here.

 

Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)
The Bounce Back Loans Schemes allows businesses to borrow between £2000 and £50,000, but the amount is capped at 25% of turnover.  No interest is charged, and no repayments are due for the first 12 months, following which banks will charge a fixed 2.5% annual interest. The loans can be taken over a period of up to six years but can also be repaid early without penalty.

Eligible businesses must have been established before 1st March 2020 and must not already have applied to the CBILS scheme, although they can transfer the loan from this scheme to the BBLS.

Lenders are comprised of various high street banks and applications can be made directly via the banks’ websites.

More information including the eligibility and application process can be found here.

 

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, with a rateable value of £15,000 – £51,000 are eligible for non-repayable grants of £25,000 from their Local Authority. Businesses with a rateable value up to £15,000, can access a grant of £10,000. The grants are intended to support businesses in ‘at risk’ sectors with help for running costs.

The relevant local authority should contact eligible businesses automatically, providing details of how to claim.

Further details relating to the (RHLGF) can be found here.

 

Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF)
To be eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund, a business needs to have been in receipt of small business rate relief (SBRR) or rural rate relief (RRR) on the 11th March 2020. Businesses which are receiving tapered relief and whose premises have a rateable value between £12,000 and £15,000 also qualify.

The fund is managed by local authorities and provides up to £10,000 to help small businesses manage their operating costs. The claim can only be made once, even if they have multiple business premises.

The grant is paid automatically by the local authority but if the business does not receive the support and thinks they are eligible, they should contact their local authority as well as their landlord or management agent.

More information on the SBGF can be found here.

 

Business Rates Relief
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, are eligible for a twelve-month business rate holiday from the 1st April 2020 until 31st March 2021.

The rateable value must be below £51,000 and the property must be wholly or mainly occupied for its intended use. The full list of qualifying businesses/properties can be found here.

Reliefs will be processed automatically by each Local Authority.

Further details on eligibility for relief can be found here.

 

VAT deferral
All businesses are eligible for deferred VAT payments for three months, from 20th March 2020 until 30th June 2020. Businesses will not need to make payments during this period and tax liabilities will be due by 31st March 2021.

This process will take place automatically and refunds and reclaims will be paid by the Government as normal.

More information on deferring VAT payments can be found here.

 

Time To Pay (TTP) arrangements
Not a new concept, but HMRC has been providing additional capacity to deal with enquiries to its helpline. The arrangement is available to any business, providing they can show that all other avenues for financing have been exhausted.

Under the arrangement, a business can potentially defer VAT, Corporation Tax, Income Tax, and payroll-related tax bills. Agreements are made with HMRC for the tax debt to be repaid in instalments.

The HMRC helpline is 0800 024 1222 and opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm.

Further detail on the TTP arrangements can be found here.

 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
The CJRS scheme is available to all UK businesses with a PAYE payroll scheme and which are enrolled for PAYE online and have a UK bank account. This includes businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities. The scheme is comprised of two distinct phases, phase one covering 1st March 2020 to 30th June 2020, and phase two covering 1st July 2020 to 31st October 2020.

Phase 1
During this phase, claims could be made for 80% of furloughed employees’ pay up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, plus employers’ national insurance and auto-enrolled pension contributions.

Employees had to be fully furloughed (no work allowed) and the minimum furlough period for an employee was 21 days. No new employees were admitted to the scheme after 30th June, therefore meaning that 10th June was the final date an employee could begin a period of furlough.

The final date for claims for the CJRS (Phase 1) scheme is 31st July 2020.

Phase 2
With an emphasis on encouraging employees back to work, the second phase of the scheme allows furloughed workers to return to work on a flexible part-time basis, with employers covering the cost of this part time work. However, from this date, the scheme will only be available to cover the wages of employees who were furloughed at some point under the original scheme.

From 1st  August 2020 the scheme will no longer cover the costs of employers NIC and pension contributions on furloughed wages. Employers must cover this element of the cost.

From 1st September 2020, the Government contribution will be reduced to 70% of wages, up to a cap of £2,187.50 per month for the hours the employee does not work. Employers must make up the difference of 10% to bring furlough payments to 80% of wages (up to a cap of £2,500) for unworked hours, while continuing to meet NIC and pension contributions on furloughed wages.

From 1st October 2020, the Government contribution will be reduced to 60% of wages, up to a cap of £1,875 per month for the hours the employee does not work. Employers must make up the difference of 20% to bring furlough payments to 80% of wages (up to a cap of £2,500) for unworked hours, while continuing to meet NIC and pension contributions for furloughed wages.

The final date for claims for the CJRS (Phase 2) scheme will be 30th November 2020.

Full guidance on the CJRS scheme including details of eligibility, application process and example claim forms is provided on Gov.uk

Claiming CJRS
The Kingston Burrowes team can support you in your CJRS application. For claims up to the period ending 30th June we have provided this service free-of-charge to support our clients. Going forward the charge we will £75 per month for a claim up to 2 people and £10 per additional person. You can also claim this yourself but will need a government gateway to do so. If you wish to appoint us please email matthewdowell@kingstonburrowes.com who will send a letter of engagement.

 

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Scheme (CSSP)
Businesses with fewer than 250 employees can claim two weeks of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) per eligible employee that is absent due to COVID-19. Both sickness and isolation absence is covered and employees will not need to present a GP fit note but can be supplied an isolation note from NHS111 online to satisfy their employer.

The claims process for employers is similar to the process for CJRS claims, although individual names and NI numbers are not required.

More information on the CSSP can be found here.

 

Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
The SEISS is relevant to self-employed individuals with trading profits up to £50,000. An amount up to 80% of average monthly trading profits (capped at £2,500) is paid as a lump sum and is based on tax returns from the previous three years.

To qualify, the majority of the individual’s income must originate from self-employment and they must have submitted a 2018/19 self-assessment tax return. Individuals who are paid through their own company in the form of salary and dividends will not be eligible for the scheme but could be eligible for the CJRS if they use PAYE.

From August, a new round of funding will be initiated, allowing individuals to claim up to 70% of their average monthly trading profits. This will also be paid as a lump sum (capped at £6570) over three months. This will be open to everyone eligible for the first round of funding, whether or not they claimed previously.

More information on the scheme can be found here.