They say a week's a long time in politics...COVID-19 has certainly given politics a run for its money. In last month's newsletter, we were anticipating newly appointed Chancellor Rishi Sunak's first post-Brexit Budget and what it might mean for things like Entrepreneur's Relief or the National Insurance threshold.
Just four weeks later, and the Spring Budget is now long forgotten. UK schools are closed, citizens are on lock down, and the economy has come to a screeching halt. As of 30 March, the Treasury has announced measures to support UK businesses and individuals affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) to the tune of more than £440bn.
The current economic conditions mean businesses are having to trade under extremely challenging conditions. This has a staggering impact on business owners, employees and individuals, and it seems we're just at the beginning.
To help you navigate through these unprecedented times, we have put together key insights and practical guides. Our dedicated Coronavirus Hub is designed to help you with planning, trading and safeguarding your business through the difficult days to come, and to prepare for a better tomorrow.
We will also be hosting a live Coronavirus Updates Webinar Tuesday 31 March, to cover the key measures that have been introduced to support businesses. You can find out more details below.
Now more than ever is a time to reflect on the things that really matter. We hope you are all keeping healthy and safe during these uncertain times.
Join us for our Coronavirus Updates Webinar
Support for UK businesses
Date: Tuesday 31 March
Over the past few weeks, to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chancellor has introduced a number measures to support SMEs and businesses during these difficult times.
During our live webinar, our team will talk you through the latest measures and how to better understand what they mean for you and your business.
If you're unable to watch the webinar live, we will send through a recording after the event.
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: how it works, eligibility, restrictions and how to claim
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan: how it works, preparing your business for application, and alternative funding options
- Additional COVID-19 measures from the government including the Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), HMRC's Time to Pay, tax deferrals, and business grants.
Visit our Coronavirus Hub for all the latest updates
The spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to dominate the news, with major implications for businesses across Sussex, the UK, and the World.
Our Corinavirus Hub aims to keep you and your business up to speed with the latest updates as they come in, offering you general business guidance and short-term action planning during these uncertain times.
The Chancellor has introduced nearly £440bn worth of measures to support small and medium sized businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak, including:
- Self-Employed Income Support (SEISS)
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Statutory Sick Pay Relief Package
- Business Rates Holiday
- VAT deferred payment
Government support for businesses
As uncertainty develops and businesses feel the impact of the behaviour changes across the UK as a result of the current pandemic of Coronavirus (COVID-19), businesses of all sizes need to consider the potential impact on their activities and finances and plan accordingly.
In light of the current situation, the Government has announced ongoing enhancements to earlier announcements on public services and business support. These are to provide an economic response which 'will be one of the most comprehensive in the world.'
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees' salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the payroll, otherwise described as 'furloughed workers'. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant.
The CJRS will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1st March and is initially open for 3 months but will be extended if necessary. It can include workers who were in employment on 28 February. Any employees that have already been made redundant form 1 March can therefore be reinstated to the payroll and instead be reclassified as furloughed workers.
All UK-wide employers with a PAYE scheme will be eligible: this includes the public sector, Local Authorities and Charities.
Self-employed income support
On 26 March, following significant pressure, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced new measures to help the self-employed and freelancers with the Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
Self-employed individuals will be able to apply for a grant of up to 80% of average monthly trading profits for a 3-month period. This will be calculated by looking at average trading profits over the last 3 tax years (2016/17 to 2018/19) or shorter period where applicable. Like the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), this is subject to a maximum claim of £2,500 per month. The maximum total grant is therefore £7,500.
The plan will be backdated to March and cover up to 95% of the self-employed, according to the Chancellor. Payments are set to be made to up to 3.8 million people.
Government support for individuals
The Chancellor has announced an unprecedented package of measures to support businesses and individuals during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
If you are experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19, the following measures may help:
- Changes to Universal Credit
- Statutory Sick Pay
- Financial support - mortgages and rent
- Financial support - loans and credit cards
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Announced in the 2020 Budget, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) supports the continued provision of finance to UK Small and Medium Entity businesses (SMEs) during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The scheme went live on Monday 23 March and will initially run for six month
The scheme is designed to support SMEs who don't meet a lender's normal lending requirements for a fully commercial loan or other facility, but whose borrowing proposal would be considered viable were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic, and for which the lender believes the provision of finance will enable the business to trade out of any short-to-medium term difficulty caused by COVID-19.
Comment from our Wealth Management Team
Over the course of the last week, global investment markets continue to show extreme volatility with big swings in values during the relevant day of trading and ultimately, large losses seen at market close.
Add to these market moves, the fact that individuals are naturally worried about their own health and that of their loved ones, concerns over the practical implications of looking after younger children who require adult supervision, and the logistical problems associated with carrying on work, these are indeed, worrying times.
Ultimately, we are unable to predict the outcome of the Coronavirus, the length of time that draconian measures are in place, or the long-term effects on the investment markets.
We do know that there is already considerable support internationally from both Central Banks and Governments, with the likelihood of further assistance in the coming days and weeks. Whilst there will be a feeling that Governments can do more in each jurisdiction, the fact that that support is being shown on an international basis, does provide some belief that there will ultimately be a time when we 'come out the other side'.
Planning for business recovery
The current UK and global economic conditions mean businesses are having to trade under extremely challenging and unprecedented conditions.
Now more than ever, real-time working capital management and the robustness of business continuity arrangements are key. We would urge businesses who foresee a requirement for additional support or finance to act promptly, even as a precautionary measure.
We outline the 4 business-critical areas you should focus on:
- Applying for funding
- Management information
- Cash management
- Government support
Coast to Capital Backing Business Grants
The Coast to Capital Backing Business Grants is a £2 million fund that has been set up to provide grants to small businesses and social enterprises in our area who have been affected by COVID-19.
You can apply for a grant of £5,000-£25,000 to fund specific measures to help you to adapt, evolve and innovate to the various economic impacts brought about by the pandemic. This fund has been set up to help up to 400 organisations in the Coast to Capital area.
Our priority is the health of our staff and clients, and we have made the decision to postpone all events and seminars until further notice.
We will be hosting webinars during this time.
- Coronavirus Updates Webinar: 31 March - click here to register
- Coronavirus: Self-Employed Income Support Scheme
- Coronavirus: Job Retention Scheme
- Coronavirus: VAT Deferral Update
- Coronavirus: Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- Coronavirus: Planning for business recovery
- Coronavirus: Government support for businesses
- Spring Budget Summary 2020
- MHA Legal Benchmarking Report 2020
- MHA Manufacturing & Engineering Report 2019-20
- DAC6 fact sheet
For a full listing of our resources and information sheets, visit our resources page on the MHA Carpenter Box website.