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COVID-19 Assistance with uncertainty - a message to our clients - news article image

COVID-19 Assistance with uncertainty - a message to our clients

18 Mar 2020

3 minute read

In the recent Budget announcement, the government, working with the Bank of England, announced a number of steps to try and protect and promote businesses in the UK. Yesterday, The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a further package of £330bn in loans and £20bn in other aid to help shore up the economy.

The Shaw Gibbs team are able to assist you with some of the measures that have been put in place.

Cashflow

We understand that cashflow will inevitably be an issue for businesses in the coming weeks. It is important that you plan your cashflow carefully and where shortfalls are predicted we can assist with these as follows: -

• The government has set up a dedicated team to assist businesses who may not be able to pay their taxes on time. Our teams may be able to look at arrangements for companies and individuals to pay taxes over a period of time. We have extensive experience in negotiating these ‘time to pay’ arrangements with HMRC and if you require any assistance on this, please get in touch

• The government has put in place a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, allowing businesses to access up to £5m of lending for periods between three months and up to 10 years. If you feel a loan is required, we have access to a wide range of lenders and can also assist you in submitting applications

Business rates discount

The retail discount has been increased to 100% for 2020/21 and has been expanded to include all firms in the leisure and hospitality sectors (regardless of size).

Businesses may need to apply to their local authority to obtain the discount and guidance will be published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) by 20 March 2020.

Dealing with a decline in income

We suggest you review your business costs and reduce those which are unnecessary, investigate whether costs can be spread rather than paying in one lump sum.

Where businesses feel that this support will not be sufficient to help them survive the decline in income, our dedicated Insolvency & Advisory team is available to help. We can support and guide directors through a range of services from assisting in negotiating positions with creditors, a moratorium with banks or through more formal insolvency procedures which are designed to protect the business or its creditors.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) reclamation


Businesses with under 250 employees will be able to reclaim the cost for any employee, who for a period of up to two weeks, has claimed SSP because of coronavirus. This includes self-isolation.

As existing systems are not setup to accommodate employer refunds of SSP, the government is working to set up a mechanism. This means that there is likely to be an unquantified delay in receiving the refund and therefore it is crucial that businesses keep records of phone calls or emails from employees confirming reason for sickness.

• If we prepare your payroll – we confirm that our system can cope with the SSP override.

• If we don’t provide your payroll - you will need to consult with your provider about whether their payroll system will facilitate the SSP override.

One-off cash grants of £10,000-£25,000

Grants are specifically available for small businesses that already pay little or no business rates under the existing Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR) or Rural Rate Relief. Also for those in the leisure and hospitality sectors with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

We are waiting for further guidance on how this will be accessed.

All of the above measures, and more can be seen on the government website of particular note is the COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses but do keep an eye out for regular updates on this.

Most importantly – do not panic

We understand that this is a highly stressful time but, we can assure you that we are on hand to support you - as we are to all of our clients. Try not to panic and do not rush in to any long-term decisions without speaking to us first.

Please contact your usual Shaw Gibbs contact if you have any questions.

COVID-19 Assistance with uncertainty - a message to our clients - news article image

Author:

Peter O'Connell

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