Coronavirus Support - Update 23/03/20
We are aware that all of you are concerned with what options you have available to help with cashflow over the next few weeks due to Coronavirus.
On Friday the government introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
This involves support for employers to cover 80% of the cost of an employee who is unable to work due to the Coronavirus.
The furloughing of employees in this way is an attempt to stop employers having to pay people off. As this affects their current contracts of employment and will need their consent, it may be worth taking advice from ACAS or an employment law service if you can.
Timescales for these funds being accessible look to be a few weeks away. The chancellor said "I can assure you that HMRC are working night and day to get the scheme up and running and we expect the first grants to be paid within weeks – and we’re aiming to get it done before the end of April."
Applications can be backdated to 01/03/2020 however for applicable employees. HMRC will know from the weekly/monthly payroll submissions submitted to them for March which employees/employers have been affected by this already. This will hopefully help to avoid abuse of this scheme and claims for employees who are/have been working during the month.
We have been asked if the employer must fund the other 20% of the salary but as per the info on this link we don’t think that you have to:
The application for this looks to be done through a new online portal which is being set up currently, we will of course be monitoring this situation and contacting you when this is live to get claims in.
There is still a number of unanswered questions regarding this unprecedented government action especially relating to zero hour contracts, directors salaries etc but we will try and update you if there is any more clarity on this.
These links gave some other useful info if you want to look into this:
The chancellor also made allowances for any VAT payments due to HMRC to be deferred, stating "no business will pay any from now until the end of June; and you will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills"
This is another useful assistance with cashflow. If you think this would be of use to you and you currently have a direct debit set up with HMRC, and usually do not receive a VAT repayment, you may want to cancel this for now to avoid any VAT payments being taken from your account automatically.
Further info on the chancellor’s speech from Friday are available here:
Meantime one of the earlier announcements, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now available starting from today. The interest free period on these loans has been extended from 6 months to 12 months meaning this could be an option for businesses needing a stop gap until the money for furloughed employees comes through. There is a variety of options on these loans including:
To access these loans, you can use this link which shows a number of lenders who are all involved with this.
More information is included on the Gov.uk support for businesses link as follows:
The relief offered on business rates seems to be dealt with through the council and automatically applied to all who are eligible. If you currently pay this by direct debit it may be worth contacting the applicable council and asking if this can be stopped for now while this is implemented.
Hopefully some of this info will assist in helping you find a way through this difficult time and please let us know if there is anything we can do to help.
Best Wishes & Stay Safe
Gavin & The Team