Covid 19 – What We Know So Far – Financial Measures to Help Your Business

Over the course of the last week we’ve seen a number of measures announced by Government to help certain sectors of business, no doubt in the coming weeks we will see more. What is important is that we all stay safe, we don’t put our staff and families or indeed ourselves into unnecessary risk.

I know many of you have questions about how to apply for some of these measures and the truth is we are in unprecedented times and put simply the various Government Departments aren’t able to put the detailed guidance out fast enough. So, bear with us and them, and as soon as it is available we will let you know so please check back regularly.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 22 March 2020 CJRS

We have least information on what to most of us will be the most important scheme.

The Government will provide funding to cover the salaries and wages of staff who are UNABLE to work during the crisis. They have used the term furloughed but have yet to define it, it can mean anything between holiday and layoff. The most likely will be people who can’t work from home and who can’t come into the workplace because it has been closed.

It may cover situations where the business is still operating but in reduced circumstances, you don’t need so many staff, or possibly because a staff member is high risk and you send them home to isolate. Until we see the details we simply don’t know.

The funding will be to a maximum of £2,500 per month. We believe, but again isn’t yet clear that this will be intended to cover employer NI and pension contributions, and of course there is a maximum of 80% of salary cap.

You will need to notify your employees whom you have designated “Furloughed Workers” and a special portal will be created to notify HMRC., These people may not work during the period of furlough.

They system will be reimbursement so you must pay the wages and HMRC will refund you, and there will be a time delay as HMRC have to set up new systems to facilitate this.

We expect this scheme to be rolled out from the end of April.

VAT & Self-Assessment

There is a deferral for both the next quarter’s VAT payment and the July Self-Assessment Payment. No business will have to make a VAT payment between 20 March and 30 June 2020. And they will have until 31 March to settle the liability for this quarter. VAT refunds will continue to be paid as usual.

The July 31 Self-Assessment payment on account is deferred to 31 January 2021.

This measure applies to all businesses and individuals. There will be no interest on the deferred payments and no VAT surcharge.

Please also remember HMRC do have a special Covid 19 Time to Pay facility ring 0300 0159 559 to get help.

At present we are assuming it will be up to business to cancel the payment.

Sick Pay – coronavirus only

Up to 2 weeks SSP can be recovered from HMRC for Coronavirus related sickness. This includes the need to self-isolate.

Employees are entitled to SSP from day 1 so no waiting days.

Reimbursement is only available to small and medium businesses with less than 250 employees at 28 February 2020. We do not yet know the method of reimbursement to the employer, but it is likely to be similar to the CJRS.

You should maintain records for all staff absence and payments of SSP but employees do not need to provide a fit note. If you require evidence then the employee can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and family who have to self-isolate can get a note from the NHS website.

Business Rates

There is a rates holiday for 2020/21 covering all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses irrespective of size.

This covers businesses in England (if you’re in another home country separate announcements have been made by the devolved administrations).

This includes hotels and guest houses as well as self catering accommodation.

You do not need to take any action the Local Authority will rebill you in due course.

Cash Grants

A Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme was announced to provide a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.  This is dependent on the rateable value of their trading property.

Under £15,000 will receive £10,000

Between £15,001 – £51,000 a grant of £25,000 will be available.


  • Based in England
  • Retail, hospitality or leisure sector business.

Your Local Authority will contact you if you are eligible for this grant.

Support For Nursery Businesses

A rates holiday for 2020/2021 provided the business is based in England and occupied by

  • providers of Ofsted’s Early Years Register
  • Wholly or mainly used for the provision of Early Years Foundation Stage.

AS with the previous schemes the Local Authority will contact you in due course

Other Small businesses with Rent Relief

If you already receive Small Business Rent Relief or Rural Rate Relief you will receive a one off grant of £10,000 to help with other ongoing costs.

The Local Authority will write to you if you are eligible.

Other Businesses

At present the only other support announced has been by way of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

This scheme is designed to give a Government backed guarantee to lenders where your own business has insufficient security. The Government will guarantee 80% of the loan and the first 12 months interest will be paid by Government. The maximum loan you can apply for is £5M.

There are accredited lenders you must contact for this finance and there is no charge for the guarantee.

Eligible businesses are those will a turnover of less than £45M.

There is more detailed information on the British Business Bank website. These loans are available from 23 March 2020.

In addition to the various packages announced by Government commercial  lenders are also making funds available to assist businesses with cashflow shortfalls at this difficult time. Many banks have announced their relationship managers will make contact with businesses most likely to be impacted. Talk to us and talk to your bank.

As always we are here to help you and your business. Contact Richard or me if you need to discuss your business needs, for cash flow forecasts, help with raising finance, and be assured once we have more detailed guidance from HMRC will be in touch to let you know how to claim back SSP and access the Job Retention Scheme payments.

This information is correct at 22 March 2020

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