We hope you and your families are keeping well.  We have put together a summary below of the various measures and support being offered to Businesses and Individuals in response to the COVID-19 virus. The first section applies to Businesses and the second section applies to Individuals. At the end of each section summary there is a link to more detailed guidance on most of the summarised measures and at the end are links to some other useful sources of information including our website. We will be regularly updating our website with new information as will the providers of all of the other links listed.


Financial support for the self employed

The Chancellor has confirmed that self-employed people across the UK will be able to get an amount equivalent to 80% of their income, based on their average monthly profits – up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

This will initially be paid out as a taxable lump sum covering the months of March, April and May. Grants will start to be paid at the beginning of June , the scheme will initially to cover the next three months and it may be extended.

You do not need to apply for the scheme, HMRC will contact you to make a claim. In the meantime beware of scammers who may try to contact you, we will keep you updated on the scheme when there is more information on how to make a claim.

The scheme will apply to 95% of those who earn the majority of their income from being self-employed. But some people won't be able to apply for this support , including those with average annual trading profits of £50,000 or more and those who have become self-employed since April 2019 and so haven't filed a tax return yet.

For more details on this scheme and the other support available to self employed people please click on the link below:-

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme


Support for Businesses

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

During the pandemic, employers will be able to pay SSP to employees from the first day of absence – employees will not need to serve the three waiting days before receiving SSP. Further, availability of SSP will be extended and will be available to employees who have been asked to self-isolate, even if they are not sick themselves, for example, where a member of their household displays COVID-19 symptoms.

Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. If your spouse/partner is employed in your business and their role is now redundant then we hope to be able to use this to support their wages over the allowed period. At this time we don't know if the support will apply to sole directors of limited companies and we will advise on this and how we can help you make the claim for your staff and yourselves as soon we are advised of the claim mechanism.

Support for businesses through deferring VAT and Income Tax payments​ 

There will be support for businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months the deferral will apply for VAT payments from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

Deferral of PAYE/NIC/Corporation tax

The tax office will allow businesses to defer paying other taxes. They will want to arrange this direct with each business/ individual and so you  will need to call them to discuss deferring payment. The number to call to arrange more time to pay tax is HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Varying employment working hours and pay

If your staff contract has a provision covering lay off and varying working hours and pay then refer to this and advise staff accordingly.

If laying off/short time working  your staff for a period you must pay a payment of at least £29 for 5 days in any 3 month period. They can be laid off/short time work for a continuous period of 4 weeks , after that either they will go back on full pay or made redundant. Or, you can lay off/short time work for a period of 6 weeks over a 13 week period with intermittent employment and layoff.

If laying off/short time working is not covered in your staff contract then you would need to make arrangements by mutual agreement with the staff and a side agreement be signed by all parties.

If lay offs/short term working can’t be agreed with staff then the alternative is to make redundancies , hopefully staff will prefer the opportunity of a return to work as soon as possible over a redundancy which may be more final.

If redundancies are made you have to group employees into the types of work they are doing and score them in the groups based on competency and skill level and offer redundancy to the lower ranked members of the groups. You then have to consult with the redundant staff members and advise them of your selection criteria.

We (Robsons) have to make you aware that we are not an employment lawyer and this is advice has been provided to us by our employment law advice line, therefore do not rely wholly on this information and we take no responsibility should a successful claim be made against you. If you have a legal advice line through a trade or insurance subscription then you should take this advice or take advice from an employment lawyer before taking action.

Business Rates Relief and Grants for businesses subject to business rates.

Some businesses, including nurseries, in England will be eligible for a Business Rates holiday for 1 year from 1 April 2020:

If your business is eligible for small business rate relief or rural rate relief in England, you are entitled to a one-off cash grant of £10,000:

If your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector in England, then you may also be entitled to a cash grant. If you have a property with a rateable value of less than £15,000 then you will be entitled to a grant of £10,000, whether or not you are entitled to small business rate relief or rural rate relief. If you have a property with a rateable value of between £14,999 and £51,000 then you will be entitled to a cash grant of £25,000.

Business Interruption Loan Scheme

  • a new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch at the start of the week to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts
  • for further information, please visit: 

https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

Pubs permitted to operate hot food takeaway

If you own a pub that serves food or a restaurant in England, you will be able to operate a hot food takeaway to serve people staying at home, without going through the usual planning process:

Delay to IR35 implementation

If you contract your services to large- or medium-sized organisations outside of the public sector implementationyou should read the following information:

  • the government announced on 17 March that the reform to the off-payroll working rules (commonly known as IR35) - that would have applied for people contracting their services to large or medium-sized organisations outside the public sector - will be delayed for one year from 6 April 2020 until 6 April 2021
  • business and individuals do not need to take any action

Business insurance claims

It is worth calling your insurers to check if you can claim for any loss in business income / revenue

If the only barrier to your business making an insurance claim was a lack of clarity on whether the government advising people to stay away from businesses, rather than ordering businesses to shut down, was sufficient to make a claim on business interruption insurance.

For more details on most of the above matters please click on the link below

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses


Support for Individuals

Furloughed workers

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

Self-employed and Universal Credit

If you are self-employed and receiving Universal Credit and you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate, the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed. This change took effect on 13 March and will last for the duration of the outbreak, to ensure that self-employed UC claimants will receive support.

If you need to claim Universal Credit but have COVID-19 or are self-isolating, you will now be able to claim and to access advance payments upfront without needing to attend a Jobcentre Plus. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit for more information

If you need to claim Universal Credit but have COVID-19 or are self-isolating, you will now be able to claim and to access advance payments upfront without needing to attend a Jobcentre Plus. Please visit https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit for more information.

If you are eligible for new style Employment and Support Allowance, it will now be payable from day 1 of sickness, rather than day 8, if you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate.

If you think you may need financial support from your Local Authority in England, you may be entitled to support from the £500 million Hardship Fund:

  • most of this funding will be used to provide more Council Tax relief, either through existing Local Council Tax Support schemes, or through similar measures.
  • the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will set out more detail on this funding, including allocations, shortly
  • if you have any questions, please contact your Local Authority

Mortgage, loan and credit card repayment holidays 

If you are experiencing financial difficulties meeting your mortgage repayments because of COVID-19, you may be entitled to a mortgage or rental holiday for 3 months. This includes if you are a landlord whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19. If you are a tenant experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19, the government will ensure you do not face the threat of eviction for at least 3 months:

  • the government has agreed with mortgage lenders that they will offer repayment holidays of 3 months to households in financial difficulty due to COVID-19
  • this will also apply to landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19
  • the offer of a payment holiday can be made available to customers who are up to date with payments and not already in arrears
  • customers who are concerned about their current financial situation should contact their lender at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss if this is a suitable option for them
  • emergency legislation will be taken forward so that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a 3 month period. This applies to private and social renters
  • at the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances

If you are experiencing difficulties paying back personal loans or credit card bills as a result of COVID-19, you should read the following information:

  • the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) called on lenders to use flexibility built into their rules to support consumers, taking into account customers’ individual circumstances. Many major lenders have already made statements to this effect
  • if you are experiencing difficulties paying back loans or credit card bills because of COVID-19, you should talk to your lender
  • if you agree a payment holiday with your lender, they should record these in such a way that will not impact on your credit score

Deferral of Personal Tax

If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

For more details on most of the above matters please click on the link below

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees

Please also click on the links below for other useful information:

http://www.robsons.net- go to our Coronavirus pages

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/03/uk-coronavirus-help-and-your-rights/amp/

https://alternativefinancegroup.funderfinder.co.uk/


Hello and I hope you are keeping well and coping as best you can in these difficult times.

Please see below our first update on Financial Support for businesses being provided by the UK Government… further updates will follow over the coming days and weeks as we receive further information.

Job Retention Scheme

We are awaiting the details for Job Retention Scheme /furlough claims and we will advise you on how we will be able to assist and support you in making claims as soon as possible.

Protection for commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent

Please see the pdf Commercial Tenants Protection for details.

All other support measures

The Government have set up a website containing links to all support measures – please use the link below to periodically check for any updates or details on how claims will work.

https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/

We will be sending further updates over the coming days and weeks.