Current Covid Support for Businesses

Updated Covid Support Measures – Updated 3rd February 2021 

It remains a tough time for most businesses and we wanted to ensure you are accessing the current Covid support for businesses that is available.  Here we have summarised the initiatives you may be able to utilise to improve your cashflow, retain staff or grow your team.

Current Covid Support for Businesses

We have added links for you to find further information on the topics which are relevant to your business.

Self Employed Income Support Scheme ( SEISS)

Claims for the third SEISS grant have now closed.The last date for making a claim for the third grant was 29 January 2021.Details about the fourth grant will be announced on 3 March 2021. For more information visit this page. 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support to smaller businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

This scheme offers access to loans up to £5m and up to 80% of the loan is guaranteed by the government. The Government pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months.

Available for businesses with an annual turnover of up to £45M.

Applications open until 31st March 2021

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has now been extended. Also known as the Furlough scheme – will remain open until 30th April 2021 with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. The Employer must pay NI contributions and pension but no top up is required.  This current scheme, of 80%  will be in place until 31st January 2021 and then further details will be released by the Government.

You can no longer submit claims for periods ending on or before 31st October 2020

January 2021  15.02.2021

February 2021  15.03.2021

March 2021  14.04.2021

For more information on this scheme click here 

Bounce Back Loans

The repayment terms of bounce back loans and other coronavirus support loans are to be extended to help businesses with cashflow. In particular, a new Pay As You Grow scheme will allow businesses with bounce back loans to extend the term of the loan from six to 10 years.

If you haven’t applied you have until 31st March 2021

  • You can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 The amount is capped at 25% of your total turnover (usually for calendar year 2019, or new businesses can estimate).
  • No interest will be charged, and no repayments will need to be made in the first 12 months.
  • After 12 months, all banks will charge a fixed 2.5% annual interest.
  • You can repay the loan early without penalty.Or with some banks you can part-repay or overpay.
  • The loans can now last for 10 yearsOne year interest free and the rest at 2.5%.
  • If you didn’t borrow the full £50,000 initially then you can apply for a top-up before 31st March 2021 providing you meet the eligibility criteria

Find out more here 

Business Grants

The Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG (Closed) Addendum) support businesses that have been required to close due to the national restrictions. The grant will help businesses in England that were open and trading as normal before being forced to close for at least two weeks because of local restrictions. You need to be paying business rates on your premises, but local councils may also offer grants to businesses that don’t pay business rates at their discretion.

Small businesses with properties that have a rateable value of less than £15,000 will get £1,334 per month.

Medium-sized businesses with properties that have a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will get £2,000 a month.

Larger businesses can claim £3,000 a month.

This is a grant, the money doesn’t have to be paid back.

You can apply by visiting your local council’s website

Find out more here 

Additional Restrictions Grant for businesses that aren’t covered by other grants

Local authorities can give out this discretionary funding to businesses that aren’t eligible for other grants. The government gives examples of who the funding could be given to:

  • businesses which supply the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors
  • businesses in the events sector
  • business required to close but which do not pay business rates

You can’t get funding if your business is in administration, insolvent or has been struck off the Companies House register. You need to speak to your local authority about this grant.

Self Assessment Tax return

Deadline extended to 28th February 2021

Self Assessment tax bill – time to pay increased

From 1 October, the limit for time to pay, the online payment plan service used to set up instalment arrangements for paying tax liabilities, is increased to £30,000, up from £10,000.

The increased £30,000 threshold follows the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement on 24 September to increase support for businesses and individuals through the uncertain months ahead

Self-assessment tax due on 31 January 2021 may be spread over 12 interest-free payments.

Any business that pays tax to the UK government and has outstanding tax liabilities will be able to apply for their case to be reviewed by HMRC with a view to arranging a bespoke time to pay agreement.

This applies to all businesses including the self-employed.

The July self-assessment tax payment has been deferred until January 2021, however this is also the date tax is due for your 2019-20 tax returns and first payment on account for 2020-21 so could add up to a sizeable tax bill.  Time to pay arrangements can now be made online via HMRC and you do not need to ring and arrange a payment plan.

Find out more here

Payment of VAT

On 24 September 2020, the Chancellor announced that businesses who deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June 2020 will now have the option to pay in smaller payments over a longer period.

Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, you can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022, interest free.

You will need to opt-in to the scheme, and for those who do, this means that your VAT liabilities due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 do not need to be paid in full until the end of March 2022.

Those that can pay their deferred VAT can still do so by 31 March 2021.

Find out more here 

VAT reduction extended

The temporary reduced (5%) rate of VAT for businesses in the hospitality sector will be extended until 31 March 2021

Mortgage Holidays

Mortgage payment holidays still apply. Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file. The FCA will announce further information.

Business Rates Holiday

Those businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure will not have to pay business rates for 2020-2021 financial year. You local council will apply this automatically. More information here 

Full refund on statutory sick pay due to Covid-19

Businesses with less than 250 employees as of 28th February 2020 will get a full refund from the government on 14 day of Statutory sick pay per employee who has been off sick with Coronavirus, on or after 13th March 2020.

Your employee doesn’t need a doctor’s note from your employee, but they do have to either:

  • have had coronavirus
  • be unable to work because they’re self-isolating
  • or be shielding in line with public health guidance

Keep records of all absences and statutory sick pay payments due to Covid-19.

Find out more here 

Employing young people

There are currently 2 schemes available to support young people in to work. If you are interested in a employing a young person check out the apprenticeship scheme or kick start scheme or you can use both.

  • Apprenticeship scheme

If you are interested in employing younger staff, consider an apprentice or the kick start scheme

  • £1,500 for every out-of-work 16-24-year-old given a ”high quality” six-month work placement
  • £2,000 for every under-25 apprentice taken on until the end of January, or £1,500 for over-25s

Find out more here

  • Kick Start Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

This is part of the government’s Plan for Jobs and aims to create hundreds and thousands of new, fully funded jobs across England, Scotland and Wales. The first placements are likely to be available from November.

Funding will cover for each job placement:

  • 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week
  • the associated employer National Insurance contributions
  • employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions

There will also be extra funding to support young people to build their experience and help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart Scheme funded job.

Find out more here

The scheme is aimed at employers who want to recruit 30 or more staff. However Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Wenta and Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce are working in partnership in order to become an ‘intermediary’ for small businesses in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and North London to access the Government Kickstart Scheme.

If you’re a Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire or North London business, you can now register your interest for this scheme here 

Before applying, please read the below eligibility requirements.

The Kickstart Scheme job placements must:
• Be for a period of 6 months
• Be for at least 25 hours per week (employers can pay for more hours)
• Be paying at least the National Minimum Wage through PAYE (employers can pay more if they wish to do so)
• Be paying the statutory employer duties for the health, safety and welfare for young people, National Insurance and pension contributions
• Include support for young people to help them get work after they finish their Kickstart Scheme job
• Not replace any existing or planned jobs
• Not cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment

More time to pay corporation Tax

As of 25 March 2020, if your business is registered with Companies House, you can apply for a three-month extension to the deadline for filing your accounts. Businesses granted this extension won’t get the usual late payment penalty.

Commercial Eviction Ban

Landlords cannot evict businesses out of properties if they are struggling to pay rent until end of March 2021.

The Government has published a code of practice to encourage commercial tenants and landlords to work together to protect viable businesses.Click here to read it. 

Summary

Most of this information has been taken directly from the Government website.Every business has a unique set of circumstances it is important to claim only for what you are entitled to. If we can help and advise you about any of the support on offer, please do get in touch.

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