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Businesses and employers

Government support for businesses

This is a summary of the business support measures launched by the Government with links to the Government’s website.

Eat Out to Help Out scheme

Register your establishment from 13 July to offer a discount to diners and encourage them to eat at your restaurant.  You can use the scheme:

  • all day, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 31 August
  • to offer a 50 per cent discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person, to diners for food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in
  • to claim the money back from the government

There is no limit to the number of times customers can use the offer during the period of the scheme.

Coronavirus job retention scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now open for applications.

Employers can now go online to claim cash grants worth up to 80 per cent of wages, capped at £2,500 a month per worker. 5000 HMRC staff will operate the scheme.

Please note the following key guidelines: 

  • Decide whether you want to make your own claim or if you want your agent to act on your behalf – if you have an agent that has authorisation to act for you on PAYE matters, they can make a claim for CJRS on your behalf
  • Only call if you can't find what you need on gov.uk – please, wherever possible, leave the phone lines open for those who need help most. All applications will be processed online. After a claim has been submitted it will take six working days for it to be paid – please do not chase up payment during this time
  • Employees should speak to their employers with any questions, not HMRC as they won’t be able to answer queries from individual employees.

 

Support for businesses by deferring VAT/Income Tax

The Government is deferring VAT payments for three months (20 March to 30 June 2020). Liabilities incurred during the VAT deferral period will need to be paid for by the end of 2020/21 tax year.

 

Eligibility: All VAT registered UK businesses

 

Visit: businesssupport.gov.uk

Support for the self-employed

The Government announced the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, which will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships). 

 

The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80 per cent of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month. 

 

Visit: businessupport.gov.uk and Self-employment Income Support Scheme FAQs 
 

Income Tax deferral for the self-employed

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

 

Visit: businesssupport.gov.uk 
 

HMRC Tax credits

Tax credits customers will continue to receive payments even if working fewer hours or furloughed due to coronavirus.

HMRC self-employment eligibility tool

This week HMRC will start contacting customers who may be eligible for the new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. The scheme will allow customers to claim a taxable grant worth 80 per cent of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500, equivalent to three months’ profits. 

Customers can claim if they’re a self-employed individual, or a member of a business partnership, their business has been adversely impacted by coronavirus.

Customers can check eligibility using the self-employed checker tool.

Support for businesses paying sick pay to employees

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid to current or former employees. Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and employers can benefit from the scheme. 

Eligibility: UK businesses/employers with fewer than 250 employees as at 28 Feb 2020. 

Employers must retain records of staff absences/payments of SSP; employees will not need to provide a GP “fit note”; if evidence is needed those with COVID-19 symptoms can get an “isolation note” from NHS 111 online.


The repayment will cover up to two weeks starting from the first qualifying day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they either:

  • Have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms;
  • Cannot work because they are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms; or
  • Are shielding and have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks

The scheme will go live from 26 May, when a new online service will be launched.

Visit businesssupport.gov.uk 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

This scheme helps small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with access to working capital (including loans, overdrafts, invoice finance, asset finance) of up to £5 million in value and for up to six years.

 

The scheme is backed by British Business Bank and delivered by commercial lenders.

 

Eligibility: UK business, with annual turnover of no more than £45 million. You must meet other British Business Bank eligibility criteria.

 

Visit businesssupport.gov.uk and british-business-bank.co.uk 
 

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The government has extended the maximum loan size available through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £50 million to £200 million.

Loans under the expanded scheme will be made available to large businesses affected by coronavirus from next week.

Changes also mean companies receiving help through CLBILS and the Bank of England’s Coronavirus Corporate Financing Fund will be asked to agree to not pay dividends and to exercise restraint on senior pay.

Time to Pay

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.

 

Visit businesssupport.gov.uk

Support for larger firms via COVID-19 corporate financing facility

Using this facility, the Bank of England will buy short-term debt from larger companies. This will support companies affected by a short-term funding squeeze.

 

Visit businesssupport.gov.uk and bankofengland.co.uk 
 

Extra protection for commercial tenants

The government has announced measures to protect commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus from eviction.

A new tool has been launched to help you find coronavirus financial support for your business. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants; this support finder will help you to see what support is available for you and your business.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a new billion-pound support package for innovative firms hit by coronavirus. The package includes a £500 million investment fund for high-growth companies impacted by the crisis, made up of funding from the government and the private sector.

SMEs focusing on research and development will also benefit from £750 million of grants and loans.

Coronavirus Future Fund

The Future Fund will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. The funds from the government must be used as working capital and not to pay off borrowing or to pay dividends or bonuses.

These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. There is the option of loans being converted into equity rather than having to be redeemed.

Eligibility details for the Future Fund have been updated and applications will open on Wednesday 20 May.

The coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

The Chancellor has announced a new loan scheme to help small and medium-sized affected businesses. 

  • Cash will be released within days for eligible businesses
  • Businesses can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000
  • The government will guarantee 100 per cent of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months
  • Loan terms will be up to six years
  • The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan
  • The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders

See further guidance on the scheme and information is being updated on gov.uk imminently.