We published some advice for business following the Coronavirus measures announced in last week’s Budget. This is an update to that following further aid announced by the Chancellor today.
The Government are making available £330bn of Government backed loans to any business in financial difficulty due to Coronavirus. This will be delivered via two schemes: For larger firms, lending facilities will be made available via the Bank of England with very favourable terms. For SME’s, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) announced last week, has been increased to provide loans of up to £5m – and will be interest free for first 6 months. Both loan schemes will be operated by your bank and applications will go through the lender. The Chancellor has indicated that business should be able to “walk into their bank and ask for a CBILS Loan”.
Those in hospitality and leisure businesses got some much needed clarification from the insurance industry. Those with business interruption insurance will be able to claim for losses following the Government’s updated advice on reducing social contact. You should contact your insurer direct to deal with this.
Businesses without insurance cover will have access to a £25,000 cash grant – which has yet to be organised. We will keep you updated but the best source of information for now is likely to be www.gov.uk.
The 12 month holiday from business rates has been extended to include all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, regardless of their rateable value. This applies to retail, pubs, theatres, music venues, coffee shops and restaurants. Business Rates holidays will be automatically applied by local authorities. You should contact your local authority directly if you think you should be entitled to relief and have not been given it.
The £3,000 cash grant for small businesses that was made available last week has been increased to £10,000. No details available at the time of writing on how you can access this. We’ll keep you posted.
Mortgage lenders will offer a 3 month holiday to individuals struggling to pay because of Coronavirus.
There is no doubt that these additional announcements will be very welcome, and the Chancellor and Prime Minister gave assurances that processes to enable these schemes to work will be in place very quickly.
Many clients have been asking how they can access financial support in the various packages. As yet, the Statutory Sick Pay refund is not in place but is effective. This means that claims can be made for the current situation, but there is no mechanism in place to get the money back. We will update our advice once there is a clear mechanism.
If you are in immediate need of financial assistance, the Chancellor has advised people to speak to their local authority.
A reminder about HMRC’s “Time to pay” arrangements. Contact them as soon as possible to discuss your situation if you think you will be unable to pay your tax. The helpline is open Monday – Friday 8am – 8pm and Saturday 8am – 4pm. Call 0800 0159 559 or visit their website for more information https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tax-helpline-to-support-businesses-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19.
If you need help or have any questions about these new measures, please contact your team at Hillier Hopkins who can advise you, or call us on 0330 024 3200.
Stay right up to date with all the latest developments and guidance on our Coronavirus Updates page.