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Help for Your Business during COVID-19

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COVID-19 – Help for your business

In the past few weeks the pace of change affecting UK businesses has been unprecedented, with changes almost daily and the country waking up to school closures and many pubs, bars and restaurants closing.

The Government is keen to support business and has been bringing out measures to help with the current disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.  As trading slows down cash-flow becomes more and more important for businesses as there is less activity brining in money and fixed costs still need to be paid.

Some of the most useful measures announced for businesses include:

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
The CBILS has been in the process of being set up for some time and details are due to be released this week (week commencing 23 March) with application process.  The British Business Bank is providing funding to a panel of Lenders to provide a range of loans, overdrafts, asset finance and invoice finance with the Government providing a guarantee to the Lender. Some of the facilities under £250,000 may be provided on an unsecured basis and fees and the first 12 months interest will be paid by the Government to help keep the upfront costs lower.

The loans are provided through approved Lenders and there will need to be a borrowing proposal which will need to be approved by the relevant lender.  So a business case will need to be put forward to justify the facility and this will be assessed by the Lender.

It should be noted that the CBILS is a loan scheme, so the Company will remain liable for the debt.

The scheme is still being finalised with applications starting at some point in the week commencing 23rd March.  More details can be found here.

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If you have questions or require advice on loan or security documents please contact James Dent in the Corporate team on 01780 750761 or .

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
One of the main measures announced on Friday 20th March was the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.  Details are still being confirmed but the Government has said that employees who are designated as furloughed, HMRC will reimburse 80% of the employee's salary up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

Unsure whether an employee can be put on furlough leave?  Our employment law team can help you on 01522 814 638.

Statutory Sick Pay Assistance
The Government has introduced a scheme for repayment of Statutory Sick Pay for absence due to Coronavirus.  Please see our Covid-19 Employer Law Guide for more details.

VAT Payment Deferral
VAT payments have been deferred for 3 months, from 20 March 2020 to 30 June 2020, giving businesses more time to pay and easing cash-flow.  The deferment is an automatic offer with no application required, but we would suggest speaking to your accountant or whoever helps with VAT filings if you require further guidance.

Extension of Time to Pay Service
HMRC are extending their time to pay service, so if a tax payment has been missed due to COVID-19 then there is a dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.  Any arrangements will be considered on a case by case basis, so will depend on your circumstances.  If you are worried about making a future payment HMRC asks you to call nearer the time.

Certain sectors are being given specific assistance:

Cash Grants for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Businesses

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides grants to businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors based on the rateable value of their property.  The grant is £10,000 if the rateable value is under £15,000 and £25,000 if the rateable value is between £15,001 and £51,000.  Local Authorities will contact eligible businesses but guidance is yet to be provided to them.

Business rates holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Businesses
Businesses in these sectors who pay business rates on a qualifying property will be given a payment holiday.  This is being processed through Local Authorities who should be contacting you with a revised council tax bill in April 2020.

Business rates holiday for Nursery businesses
Children's Nurseries will receive a business rates holiday similar to the one above, this is being processed through Local Authorities who should contact you in relation to your council tax bill for April 2020.

Please contact James if you have any business queries on 01780 750761 or .