Read about the latest advice from the Government and other institutions in response to the COVID-19 crisis
We have encouraged our staff to work from home to enable us to continue serving you, so please excuse us if you hear a little more noise in the background than usual.
If your business is being adversely impacted by the recent social and economic conditions caused by COVID-19, we have a range of options that can help you. Please give us a call on 020 8962 7401 to discuss your account and together we can find a solution for your business.
The latest advice from the Government and other institutions
This is correct as of 19th March 2020. We will update this as regularly possible.
Mortgage payment holidays
Mortgage lenders have agreed they will support customers that are experiencing issues with their finances as a result of COVID-19, including through payment holidays of up to 3 months.
The Business Rates retail discount has been increased to 100% for one year and has expanded to include the leisure and hospitality sectors. In addition, the planned rates discount for pubs has been increased to £5,000.
Businesses that received the retail discount in 2019-20 will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible. Businesses eligible for the newly expanded retail discount and/or the new pubs discount may need to apply to their local authority to receive the discount. If you have any questions regarding eligibility for the reliefs, these should be directed to your local authority.
If your business already pays little to no Business Rates due to Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief, you will be eligible for a one-off grant of £10,000.
If your business is eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, you will be contacted by your local authority – you do not need to apply.
Funding for the scheme will be provided to local authorities by the government in early April. Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.
In addition to the above, a further £25,000 grant is available to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000.
Business insurance claims
Confirmation has been given that Government advice to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres is sufficient for businesses to claim on their insurance where appropriate business interruption cover for pandemics is in place.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
Currently, SSP can be paid following the first three qualifying days in a period where an employee is unable to work.
The government has put in place emergency legislation which will amend the eligibility requirements for SSP for claims relating to COVID-19. Under the new legislation, SSP can be paid from the first day of sickness absence.
Payments under SSP for COVID-19 can be made where an employee is self-isolating on medical advice (even if they are asymptomatic). A diagnosis of COVID-19 is not required to make the payments.
For businesses with fewer than 250 employees as of 28th February 2020, additional support is available. This additional support enables them to reclaim up to 2 weeks of COVID-19 related SSP payments from the Government. Details of how to claim this repayment are to be confirmed in due course.
The rate of SSP will also increase from £94.25 per week to £95.85 on 6 April 2020.
Time To Pay arrangements
All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.
The Time To Pay service lets Companies that have defaulted on their payments for Corporation Tax, VAT, or PAYE ask HMRC for extra time to pay. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
To set up a Time To Pay arrangement, businesses can contact HMRC’s dedicated COVID-19 helpline on 0800 0159 559.
Off-payroll working rules (IR-35)
The introduction of the new off-payroll working rules, relevant to contractors in the private sector, will be delayed until 6th April 2021.
Support for the food industry
Planning regulations will be relaxed to allow pubs and restaurants to start providing takeaways without a planning application.
More details can be found at: COVID-19: support for businesses
For those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
For customers in these regions there will be specific measures put in place by the respective devolved governments and so other support may be available.
Please see below for further information:
NHS Coronavirus site: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Latest travel guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus
Protect yourself from fraud
Be aware that some criminals are exploiting Coronavirus to trick people into sharing personal or financial information via phishing emails. Be vigilant and always double check any contact using trusted sources.