COVID-19 Economic Update 20/3/2020

coronavirus business

As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc with everyone’s lives and economy, we just want to make sure that we keep our clients up to date with the latest from a business perspective.

Employers

Guidance for employers and businesses, the government covid-10 webpage is updated regular; we suggest bookmarking this page for the foreseeable and checking it regularly.

From 13 March Statutory Sick Pay ‘SSP’ can now be claimed by those self-isolating because of COVID-19.

The government is bringing in legislation for SSP to be paid from day 1 rather than the usual day 4. Once in place, the legislation will apply retrospectively from 13 March 2020.

Currently SSP is £94.25 per week.

Employers will be entitled to reclaim the costs of SSP for absence caused by COVID-19 for up to 2 weeks for each employee from 13 March 2020.  The mechanism for repayment to employers is yet to be set up.

Remember, maintain a record of staff absence. From 20 March 2020 onwards, those who have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate, will be able to obtain an ‘isolation note’ by using the 111 NHS website, this replaces the usual ‘fit note’.

Self-employed

If you are not eligible for SSP because you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week and you have COVID-19, or are advised to self-isolate, it has now been made easier to make a claim for Universal Credit ,‘UC’, or the new style Employment and Support Allowance, ‘ESA’.

Business Support During COVID-19 Disruption

The government has set up a support for businesses webpage which is updated regularly with details of the support they are putting in place for businesses during the COVID-19 crisis, we suggest you bookmark it and visit it regularly to stay up to date.

Business Rates

There are big changes being made to business rates, for those small businesses who are in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief grant funding of £10,000 is being provided, this is anticipated early April  2020 once central government provides local councils with the funds.

There will be grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a business rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000, again anticipated to be available early April 2020.

Any questions about the above should be directed to your local council, however, it is worth pointing out at the time of writing this posting local authorities may still be waiting for guidance on these schemes from central government.

Time to Pay – COVID-19

If you have missed or think you might miss your next tax payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The scheme will be available from early next week, week commencing 23 March 2020, more details can be found here on the British Business Bank website.

The scheme will now be interest free for 12 months as announced by the Chancellor tonight.

Announced Tonight 20 March 2020 by the Chancellor of the Exchequer

Coronavirus job retention scheme back dated to 1 March 2020 paying grants up to 80% of employee’s salary up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for retained workers. The scheme will initially be open for 3 months, with further extensions if needed. We will provide further details once we know how HMRC will be dealing with this.

Until the end of June 2020 quarterly VAT payments will be deferred and business will have until the end the financial year to repay these VAT bills.

31 July 2020 self-assessment tax payment has been delayed until January 2021.

Increase in Universal Credit standard allowance by £1,000 per year for the next 12 months.

The working credit tax element is also being increased by £1,000 a year for the next 12 months.

Self-employed will now get access in full to Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay for employees.

A further £1bn will be made available to cover 30% of house rental costs.

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