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Is your business struggling with COVID? Here are the latest relief measures

With a lot of different businesses closing their doors this month, the government has announced a number of different relief measures in order to help companies stay afloat. For full details of these relief measures, it's worth checking out the article on the gov.uk website

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

As announced by the Chancellor last week, all UK businesses are able to apply for support from the government to continue paying employee salaries for those who have been laid off. You can claim up to 80% for each employee, up to £2,500 a month. You apply through an online portal, which at time of writing is being set up by HMRC. 

Deferring VAT and income tax

Any VAT that your business pays will not be required for the next three months; if you're self-employed, you will not be required to pay income tax for July 2020 until January 2021. There is no need to apply for anything here. If you run a businss in the UK you're not required to pay VAT until 30th June 2020. We advise checking up on this information again as we approach June, in case this is extended.

Statutory sick-pay relief for SMEs

If your company has made the decision to shut down temporarily as a preventative measure, or your employees start to exhibit symptoms, the government has put forward statutory sick-pay relief. Your company must have less than 250 employees, but you can claim 2 weeks of sick pay per eligible employee. You will not need to provide a GP note, but should keep accurate records of when employees moved to SSP.

Business rates retail holiday

For retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, the government has put in place a £25,000 grant. You must be operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value of £15,000-£51,000. You can get more information on this grant through your local authority, who should be receiving guidance on it by 20th March. After this guidance has been received, your local authority should be able to tell you if your business is eligible, as well as the process for applying for the business rates retail holiday.

Support for businesses with low/no business rates

If your business doesn't pay any business rates, or the business rates you pay are low, you're still eligible for support. Local authorities are being given further funding in order to provide eligible businesses with a one-off grant of £10,000. For businesses that receive small business rate relief (SSBR) or rural rate relief, you will be contacted by your local authority directly and there is no need to apply.

Corona Business Interruption Loan Scheme 

The Corona Business Interruption Loan Scheme is a scheme established by the British Business Bank, and will launch on Monday 23rd March. This is designed to help businesses access overdrafts and loans. The government will be providing lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan in order to incentivize lenders to continue investing in small and medium sized businesses. Loans up to £5m in value are going to be covered by this scheme.

Support for businesses paying tax

If you are in financial distress, and you run a business or you are self-employed with tax outstanding, you may be eligible for support through HMRC's Time to Pay scheme. The details of this one really depend on your business and your financial situation, so it's definitely one to contact them directly about. 

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