01173052600 office@stone-co.co.uk

Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

The spread of COVID-19 has had a direct impact on all of our lives. We understand many of our clients are struggling and maybe fearful of forthcoming weeks and months. We will be doing our best to keep you updated and informed on the announcements from the government throughout the course of this virus. Please see the following page and guidance where we will be updating content on current and future announcements. If you need advice, please get in contact either by phone or email. Please note many of our staff are working from home, so we advise you to email your usual contact or email office@stone-co.co.uk. We will respond to your emails as soon as possible.

 

Measures announced on 20 March 2020

On the evening of 20 March, the Prime Minister announced further restrictions on the compulsory closure of bars, cafes, pubs and restaurants. Alongside these new measures, the Chancellor announced a further package of support for businesses facing the prospect of having to reduce staff numbers.

 

Coronavirus job retention scheme

  • Grants of up to £2,500 per employee where those employees are unable to work (are ‘furloughed’) because of coronavirus, covering 80% of salary costs.
  • Intended to run for three months in the first instance with the first payments expected in early April and the scheme fully up and running by the end of that month.
  • The grants will be paid via HMRC.
  • All UK employers will be eligible.
  • What next? At present, no information has been provided on how to apply. Though it is generally understood to mean ‘stood down but still employed’, there is as yet no official definition of ‘furloughed’. It is unclear whether employers will be expected to make up the remaining 20% of salary.

 

Extension of the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBIL)

  • Maximum turnover for eligible businesses was previously set at £41 million per year; it has now been increased to £45m.
  • The interest-free period has been increased from six months to twelve.
  • The scheme is being managed by the British Business Bank but businesses will access them via one of 40 accredited lending providers, including most major banks.
  • The maximum value of a facility provided under the scheme will be £5 million – higher than the £1.2m announced initially.
  • What next? Discuss business plans with existing lending providers. Loans will be available from Monday 23 March 2020.

 

Deferral of tax and VAT payments currently due

  • VAT payments from UK-based VAT registered businesses due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 won’t need to be paid to the usual deadlines, with payment deferred until the end of the tax year.
  • Self-assessment income tax payments for the self-employed which were due on 31 July 2020 can now be deferred until 31 January 2021.
  • What next? Both deferral schemes apply automatically with no application required. 

 

Access to welfare for the self-employed

  • The minimum income floor for access to universal credit has been suspended for self-employed people affected by the economic impact of coronavirus.

 

 

Measures announced on 17 March 2020

At a press conference on 17 March, the Chancellor announced a package of support worth £350 billion – around 15% of the value of the entire UK economy.

It came upon the heels of a statement from the Prime Minister on 16 March which urged people to stop visiting cafes, pubs and restaurants. It was intended to send a strong signal to British businesses not to act hastily in downsizing because the support would be forthcoming.

 

Extension of business rate discount

  • All hospitality, leisure and retail venues in England, regardless of rateable value, can now claim a 100% discount on business rates for 12 months from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.
  • Unoccupied properties that become vacant in the next 12 months will be charged 100% full rates from three months after they become empty.
  • What next? The discount will be applied automatically to the next council tax bill, due in April 2020.

 

Cash grants for very small businesses

  • Hospitality, leisure and retail businesses operating from units with rateable values between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
  • Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of less than £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.
  • Those with a rateable value of more than £15,000 will receive £25,000.
  • Your local authority will contact you if you are eligible for this grant.
  • What next? Await notification from local authorities.

 

Measures announced in Spring Budget 2020

In what the Office for Budget Responsibility called the “largest Budget giveaway since 1992”, Rishi Sunak announced business support measures worth billions. Events have moved quickly, though, and many of the specific measures announced have now been superseded or further extended.

 

Grants for businesses receiving SBRR or RRR

  • Businesses in England eligible for small business rate relief (SBRR) or rural rate relief (RRR) will receive a one-off cash grant of £10,000.
  • What next? This will be processed automatically by local authorities. 

 

Statutory sick pay reclaim scheme for SMEs

  • Small-and medium-sized businesses and employers will be able to reclaim statutory sick pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.
  • The refund will cover up to two weeks’ SSP for each member of staff off work because of COVID-19.
  • It applies to all UK businesses that employed fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020.
  • What next? Legislation needs to pass before details of how to apply can be published.

 

Interest rates

On 19 March 2020, the Bank of England cut interest rates to a historic low of 0.1%, having previously reduced them to 0.25% on the day of the Spring Budget.

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