COVID-19 SME Resource Hub

RESPONDING TO COVID-19: PRACTICAL SUPPORT FOR UK BUSINESSES & INDIVIDUALS

At a time when many UK businesses were already struggling under the weight of an unpredictable political and economic environment, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has taken the world by complete surprise.

Businesses suddenly find themselves scrambling to understand Government schemes, their financial position amidst a plethora of unknowns and their options to ensure that their companies survive the next few months.

This is not a time to go it alone and we are here to help. This portal aims to provide you with tips and advice to help safeguard your employees, your business and your finances while weathering the impact of Coronavirus.

5 key areas businesses should be focusing on now:

 

Know where your money is coming from and prioritise these activities

 

Cut costs and make savings where possible

 

Monitor your supply chain closely

 

Tap into the resources provided by Government and financial institutions

 

Be prepared for opportunities, as well as challenges
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) and Job Retention Bonus

– From 1 November, a new Job Support Scheme will be introduced to replace the furlough scheme which closes at the end of October

– The government will contribute towards the wages of employees who are working fewer than normal hours due to decreased demand

– Employees must work a third of their usual hours and employers must continue to pay their salary for the hours they work

– For the time they are not working, the government and the employer must each pay one third of their equivalent salary

– This means workers will receive 77% of their usual pay

– Starting in November, the scheme will run for six months

– Businesses can claim both the Job Support Scheme and the Job Retention Bonus

Kickstart Scheme and Measures to Help People Find Work

In order to support people finding jobs, the Chancellor announced the Kickstart Scheme, which will provide £2 billion to support the creation of “high quality” six-month work placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

The Government will provide employers that offer the placements funding equivalent to 100 per cent of the relevant level of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for 25 hours a week. It will also cover the associated Employer NICs and minimum automatic enrolment pension contributions.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, also outlined additional measures, including funding for traineeships and employers that hire new apprentices, as well as funding for several careers and job-finding programmes.

The apprenticeships funding will provide £2,000 to employers in England for every apprentice hired under the age of 25 and £1,500 for each newly hired apprentice aged 25 or older. This funding is in addition to schemes already in place to support employers in taking on apprentices.

SDLT holiday

There is a temporary cut in Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) from 8 July by raising the nil-rate band from £125,000 to £500,000 until 31 March 2021. The Treasury estimates that, as a consequence, around nine in 10 people buying a main residence will pay no SDLT.

Further details can be found on SDLT changes here.

VAT Deferral Scheme
  • Businesses who deferred their VAT bills will be given more breathing space through the New Payment Scheme, which gives them the option to pay back in smaller instalments – Rather than paying a lump sum in full at the end March next year, businesses will be able to make 11 smaller interest-free payments during the 2021-22 financial year
  • The temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors has now been extended to the end of March 2021
Expansion of HMRC’s Time to Pay Arrangements
All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s ‘Time to Pay’ service.
These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
Deferral of Self-Assessment Payment

Self-assessment taxpayers have been granted an additional 12-month extension from HMRC on the ‘Time to Pay’ self-service facility. This means that payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022

  • The government has announced a new ‘Pay as You Grow’ flexible repayment system for businesses who took out a Bounce Back Loan
  • This includes extending the length of the loan from six years to ten, which will cut monthly repayments by nearly half
  • Interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays will also be available to businesses
  • Those who took out a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme have been given the ability to extend the length of loans from a maximum of six years to ten years, where businesses need help to repay the loan
  • Applications for all of the government backed loan schemes will be extended until the end of 2020, giving more businesses access to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Future Fund.
Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)

 

CLBILS will provide a Government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to all firms with a turnover of more than £45 million and up to £50 million for firms with a turnover of more than £250 million.

 

This will give banks the confidence to lend to many more businesses which are impacted by Coronavirus.

 

Facilities backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest.

 

Lenders will still be expected to conduct their usual credit risk checks, but this scheme allows them to specifically support business that were viable before the Coronavirus outbreak but are facing significant cash flow difficulties, that would otherwise make their business unviable in the short term.

 

Businesses would remain responsible for repaying any facility they may takeout.
Coronavirus Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF)

 

The CCFF means that the Bank of England will buy short-term debt from larger companies.

 

This will support companies which are fundamentally strong but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze.

 

It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.

 

The scheme will be funded by central bank reserves – in line with other Bank of England market operations.

 

It will operate for at least 12 months, and for as long as steps are needed to relieve cash flow pressures on firms that make a material contribution to the UK economy.

More information about eligibility can be found here.

VAT reduced

The Chancellor outlined a VAT rate cut for the Hospitality and Tourism sectors from 20 per cent to five per cent. The measures relate specifically to food and non-alcoholic drinks and to accommodation and admission to attractions, with further details expected to be published later.

The temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors has now been extended to the end of March 2021

Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

The scheme will provide a discount of 50% of up to £10 a person on eat-in meals, including non-alcoholic drinks, at participating establishments on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the month of August.

Restaurants, cafes and pubs can sign-up for the scheme on a new website on Monday 13 July 2020.

This scheme is now closed.

Business Rates Holiday

 

100% relief from business rates for the 2020-21 tax year for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

 

There is no action for you. Local authorities will apply the business rates holiday to your bills.

 

Note: This also applies to nurseries in England who do not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year.
Cash Grants

 

Businesses in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector will receive a cash grant from the Government of up to £25,000 per property.

 

Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of £15,000 and under may be eligible for a grant of £10,000.

 

Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 may be eligible for a grant of £25,000.

 

Eligible businesses will be contacted by their local authority, though some local authorities have decided to operate an applications process.
Protection against aggressive rent collection and closure

 

Temporary new measures introduced to safeguard the UK high street and other companies against aggressive debt recovery actions during the pandemic.

 

Statutory demands and winding up petitions issued to commercial tenants to be temporarily voided and changes to be made to the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery, building on measures already introduced in the Coronavirus Act.

 

Landlords and investors are asked to work collaboratively with high street businesses and other companies unable to pay their bills.
Future Fund

 

This scheme will issue convertible loans between £125,000 to £5 million to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Loans are subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.

 

Suitable for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

 

Available to businesses which have previously raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last 5 years.

On 30 June, the Future Fund was extended. Companies who have participated in highly selective accelerator programmes and were required, as part of that programme, to have parent companies outside of the UK are now be able to apply for investment. Read more here.

Research and development (R&D) Tax Relief for innovation
UK Government will give money back to any qualifying company undertaking a project which seeks to achieve an advancement in science or technology.

 

These companies are eligible for an enhanced Corporation deduction equal to 230 per cent of the R&D expenditure. This equates to a tax benefit of around 25p for every £1 spent on R&D.

 

For loss-making SMEs incurring R&D expenditure in the year, it is possible to surrender some of the loss to HMRC for a tax repayment of around 33p for every £1 spent on R&D.

 

Large companies carrying out R&D receive a tax credit of around 12p for every £1 spent on R&D. This R&D Expenditure Credit is payable to the company net of tax and also can be surrendered to other group companies.

Find out more here.

For further information or to arrange for a no obligation preliminary discussion on how your company could qualify under this Government business support scheme, contact Steve Govey or your usual Beavis Morgan Client Partner.

Support for SMEs focusing on R&D

 

Innovate UK, the national innovation agency, will accelerate up to £200 million of grant and loan payments for its 2,500 existing Innovate UK customers on an opt-in basis.

 

An extra £550 million will also be made available to increase support for existing customers and £175,000 of support will be offered to around 1,200 firms not currently in receipt of Innovate UK funding.

Contact Steve Govey or your usual Beavis Morgan Client Partner for more information and for support in submitting your application.

This is a fast-changing situation and it is anticipated that the new measures announced will continue to evolve.

The team at Beavis Morgan is on hand to guide business owners and managers through the weeks and months ahead.

We will continually monitor the situation and update you via this online portal. We also offer the opportunity for you to receive news alerts as they happen directly to your inbox.

You can register to receive these alerts via the contact form provided on this page.

Alternatively, if you have any concerns or queries and require business advice and support at this challenging time, email us at info@beavismorgan.com.

REGISTER FOR CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS SUPPORT NEWS ALERTS

The Coronavirus business support strategies are changing fast. Receive alerts from the Beavis Morgan group sent directly to your inbox and stay informed.

If you have a particular query related to Coronavirus crisis and how we can help you and your business then please email us via info@beavismorgan.com.

Newsletter

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Our Coronavirus updates, summaries and guides for employers and businesses are listed below:

12 October 2020 – Job Support Scheme expanded to firms required to close due to Covid Restrictions

30 September 2020 – Winter Economy Plan – Key points for SMEs

7 August – The impact of the Coronavirus on the UK economy and society

4 August – Changes to CJRS ‘furlough’ claims

3 August – Government launches leadership programmes to help small businesses grow

1 July – “Flexible furlough” commences

1 July – More start-ups and innovative firms can now benefit from the Future Fund 

27 June – £200 million support package for innovative businesses 

27 June – Rules that have been relaxed to help businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic 

27 June – Taxable expenses when working from home due to Coronavirus

1 June – Coronavirus JRS updated – New furlough applications close 10 June 

28 May – Reopening guidance for retailers – COVID-19

19 May – New Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme set to launch

12 May – Government extends furlough leave by four months

12 May 2020 – New guidance launched to help businesses safely back to work

4 May 2020 – Further grants for small businesses 

27 April – 100% Government backed loan scheme for small businesses

24 April – Government unveils measures to protect high street and other companies

20 April – New ‘support finder’ tool for UK businesses and individuals 

20 April – Billion pound support package for UK businesses driving innovation and development

20 April – Furlough leave: HMRC portal now open

17 April – Government expands loan scheme for large businesses

16 April – Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS): FAQs for Lenders

16 April – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Help to claim

15 April 2020 – HMRC updates Self-employment Income Support Scheme guidance

15 April 2020 – Coronavirus JRS update: Furlough scheme cut-off date extended to 19 March

14 April 2020 – CBILS: Support for businesses struggling to access emergency cash loans

06 April – Government updates guidance on furlough leave

03 April – Update: Government bolsters business interruption loans for SMEs and larger businesses

02 April 2020 – Coronavirus: Summary of measures to date to assist UK businesses – BM Advisory briefing note

27 March 2020 – The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Furlough guidance

26 March 2020 – Finance for business interruption: The Coronavirus Loan Scheme

20 March 2020 – Government support package for UK businesses: An overview