Government Financial Support During COVID-19 – Latest

Summary:

  • Bounce back loan scheme. Small and medium businesses can borrow up to £50,000 with 100% Government guarantee.
  • Business rates relief. Every retail outlet can benefit from business rates relief and every car showroom will qualify. If your aftersales services are on the same site, your local authority should be exempting the entire premises from rate in the 2020/21 tax year.
  • Coronavirus job retention scheme. Through HMRC, the government will be paying up to 80% of a worker’s wages, up to a total of £2,500 per worker each month. These payments will be backdated to 1st March. This will apply to members of the workforce who remain on the payroll but are temporarily not working during the coronavirus outbreak. Every employer in the country is eligible for the scheme.
  • Statutory sick pay relief. If your business has less than 250 employees, then you are able to claim a refund for Statutory Sick Pay payments made for cases of coronavirus.
  • VAT deferment. If you are a UK VAT-registered business, VAT bills from now until the end of June will be deferred until the end of the tax year (April 2021).
  • Delayed tax payments. If you need to delay existing tax liabilities, then a Time to Pay tax service is being run by HMRC. Income tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme (CBILS). If your dealership turnover is less than £45 million, you may be eligible for interest free loans for the first twelve months, delivered by the British Business Bank.
  • Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS). For larger businesses which exceed the turnover requirements of CBILS. Firms can access loans of up to £25 million if their turnover is between £45 million and £250 million, and up to £50 million for firms with turnover greater than £250 million.
  • Covid-19 corporate financing facility. For groups with a turnover of more than £41 million, the Bank of England is providing a corporate financing facility.

Further information

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

Launched on 4 May 2020, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme provides fast access to capital for small and medium sized firms.

Firms can borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000.

The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year.

Full information on Bounce Back Loans: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan

Business Rates Support and Grant Funding

The collection of Business Rates is handled differently in each nation of the UK, and as such different support packages are on offer to businesses – please consult the following websites for Business Rates support and grant funding in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

If an employer cannot cover staff costs due to COVID-19, they may be able to access support to continue paying part of staff wages, to avoid redundancies.

HMRC will reimburse 80% of ‘furloughed workers’ wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The Government is working to establish a system for reimbursements.

The scheme, which was due to expire at the end of June, will now be extended until the end of October, with the Government guaranteeing that the amount covered by the scheme will remain at 80%.

From July, businesses will be able to bring back furloughed employees part-time, with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of furloughed staff.

The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.

Full details on the scheme’s extension will be set out before the end of May.

Full announcement here

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

Businesses with fewer than 250 employees may be eligible to claim a refund on SSP for up to two weeks per eligible employee who are either ill or been told to self-isolate because of COVID-19.

Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. The eligible period for the scheme began on 13 March

Please consult the MILS HR & Employment section for further details.

Update, 27.05.2020:

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate System Now Active

The Government has launched the online service that will be used to repay employers the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid to current or former employees.

You can use the scheme as an employer if:

  • you’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes

The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • employees on agency contracts
  • employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
  • fixed term contracts (until the date their contract ends)

The rebate service can be accessed here


VAT Deferral

The Chancellor has announced that all VAT payments will be deferred, between 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

This action will be automatically administered by Government and businesses do not need to take any action to access the deferral.

Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Delayed Tax Payments – HMRC ‘Time to Pay’

HMRC has announced that ‘Time to Pay’ arrangements can be made for firms and self-employed individuals with outstanding tax liabilities.

Time to Pay is an existing scheme to support businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities by providing support with their tax affairs. All businesses can access Time to Pay.

HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 024 1222. Further info here.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

Run by the British Business Bank, eligible firms can borrow up to £5 million with first 12 months interest free.

Eligibility details:

  • Be UK based, with turnover of no more than £45 million per annum.
  • Have a sound borrowing proposal, but insufficient security to meet a lender’s normal requirements.
  • Have a borrowing proposal which the lender would consider viable, were it not for the current pandemic
  • Self-certify that it has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Details on how to access the scheme can be found here.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)

Under CLBILS, a lender can provide:

  • up to £25 million to businesses with turnover from £45 million up to £250 million
  • up to £50 million to businesses for those with a turnover of over £250 million

CLBILS gives the lender a government-backed partial guarantee (80%) against the outstanding balance of the facility. The borrower remains fully liable for the debt.

Under the scheme, personal guarantees of any form will not be taken for facilities below £250,000.

Details on how to access the scheme can be found here.

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

  • Working with Bank of England, the Government will guarantee up to £330bn worth of loans.
  • Aimed to support corporates who would normally seek market-based finance but are finding it difficult to access financial markets during the economic slowdown.
  • Scheme is open to “all non-financial companies… that can demonstrate they were in sound financial health prior to the shock.”

Details on eligibility can be found here: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/news/2020/march/the-covid-corporate-financing-facility