It’s been another very difficult week, lots going on personally, individually, socially and collectively.  I just wanted to get in touch with you all to update you on some of the measures brought into place by Government that will in the first case help you to manage your finances during this difficult time.  I’ve also got more useful handy resources to help you think through service implications and how to stay ahead of the curve if possible.  This is a lengthy piece but it does cover everything that is available currently – and I’ll send round extra bulletins as and when more information becomes available.

FINANCE

At the moment there is financial help to businesses and the third sector as well as individuals.  My thinking is a lot of these will still be early stages and we may get further updates, daily and possibly weekly – very fluid. 

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

Grants – these are sadly only available to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.  See above link for guidance.

However there does appear to be support for businesses that pay little or no business rates.  Small Business Grant Scheme funding through Local Authorities and can be up to £10,000 to meet ongoing costs.  You need to occupy property and contact your local authority about this. (So, I’d wait a while for them to sort themselves out!). Apparently, they will contact you if you are eligible.

Loans

Corona Virus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

You apply through an approved bank lender: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/accredited-lenders/

More information is here: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/for-businesses-and-advisors/

Eligibility checklist here: Your business must generate more than 50% of its turnover from trading activityhttps://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/CBILS-SME-Eligibility-Check-FINAL.pdf

This loan facility is available for 12 months interest free and is useful for cash flow.   There is still little information about the specific requirements from each lender and the information you need to submit – likely cash projections to show the loan is repayable.

VAT Have been deferred for the end March Quarter and will not be repayable till the end of the 2020/21 financial year.  This is automatic and doesn’t require any contact with HMRC.

Business Rates

Have been deferred and will not be payable for 12 months

Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SME’s the govt will cover up to 2 weeks SSP per eligible employee.  Keep notes of dates of sick leave, they are setting up an appropriate system for this.  You can still choose to pay staff at full sick pay if you wish.  But you will get SSP levels covered. This is only relevant to businesses with under 250 employees.

HMRC Time to pay scheme – for any outstanding tax payments from business to HMRC (e.g. VAT/PAYE) an interest free payment plan.  0800 0159 559

For Charities and Businesses

Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme

This support scheme will provide a grant to employers (including third sector organisations) to keep workers rather than make them redundant. Salaries will be paid at 80% of their current level up to a maximum of £2,500. These grants will be available by the end of April.  You can apply for grants and loans in the meantime to help manage cash flow.  However, you must make staff ‘furloughed’ so they can no longer work for you during the furlough period and this will affect their contracts.

Insurances: Double check if your insurance covers you for pandemics…

For employees: The following link is very useful to send round your staff team and explains what is available.

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

Also note that employees can ask for a 3month mortgage holiday.

Tenants – the Government has introduced legislation that means landlords cannot evict tenants for up to 3 months.  However, you can ask your landlord to also give you a holiday (if they can afford via their mortgage lender if they are paying a mortgage on your property).

For self-employed people – the government is not bringing out enough measures for people who are self-employed and many think the Corona Virus Jobs Retention Scheme should apply to them too.  You can email them TODAY before 5pm to tell them this at tsc@parliament.uk whilst they consider their policy around this.

Further service support around mental health, anxiety and supporting families (especially those with high needs family members)

There are useful resources here:

Empower Educate Enlighten

Stay Safe

Financial assistance during uncertain times – Covid19

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