All information contained on this site is believed to be correct at the time of going to press though it is advised that no direct reliance is placed solely on this website and that employers and individuals take advice from their usual legal advisor prior to taking any action.

With all the legislative changes and updates over recent days in these ever changing and uncertain times, we have prepared a summary of the current advice and support available.

Whilst our physical offices are closed following the ‘lock down’ advice, the team at NR Barton are working remotely from home. If you have any questions you should not hesitate to contact your engagement partner or manager who will be happy to assist; our contact details can be found here.

For anyone unsure of who to contact, we are still answering phones (01942 242245) and we are answering emails to accounts@nrbarton.co.uk.

This round up of guidance available to businesses during COVID-19 has been updated (as of 23 March 2020) to include information about the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as well as the other package of measures announced by the Chancellor to support business during COVID-19 pandemic, including:

Job Retention Scheme (furlough)
New Coronavirus Job retention scheme for employers (businesses and charities). This means that 80% of salaries are covered via HMRC grants with effect from 1 March 2020 for individual salaries of up to £2,500 per month. The grants service will initially last for three months and there is no limit on the amounts the government will provide to support jobs. The aim of the grants are for employers to keep their workers on and use the grants, rather than laying them off.

More information here: https://www.nrbarton.co.uk/news/blog/coronavirus-covid-19-job-retention-scheme-furlough/

Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
The government has announced a three-month deferral for VAT payments until end June for all UK businesses.

The VAT deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020 and is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period and any VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal. Clients who pay by direct debit are advised to cancel this if they do not want the payment taken in error.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, has launched to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The loans are guaranteed by the government up to 80% and are applied for through a selection of banking institutions. Our team are here to help with this if you’re unsure.

More information here: https://www.nrbarton.co.uk/news/blog/coronavirus-covid-19-business-interruption-loan-scheme-guidance/

Statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
The government will bring forward legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.

More information here: https://www.nrbarton.co.uk/news/blog/coronavirus-planning-for-business-recovery/

A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
HMRC will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. There is no action for businesses. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.

You can estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year using the business rates calculator.

Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rate Relief
The government are providing funding for local authorities to support small businesses that currently pay little or no Business Rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR). This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs. It is hoped that the funds will be with businesses by the end of April at the latest.

The current advice is that this will be processed automatically for relevant businesses by the local authority. As this evolves will provide further update.

Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
The government are to provide support for local authorities to award grants to small businesses in the leisure, tourism and hospitality sectors. This will provide a one-off grant of £25,000 to businesses in those sectors with rateable values between £15,000 and £51,000, to help meet their ongoing business costs. It is hoped that the funds will be with businesses by the end of April at the latest.

The £25,000 is expected to be processed via application to local authorities. As soon as we know more about the logistics of the process we will provide further update.

Extra protection for businesses with ban on evictions for commercial tenants who miss rent payments
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction, the government has announced.

For more information: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/extra-protection-for-businesses-with-ban-on-evictions-for-commercial-tenants-who-miss-rent-payments

A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms
Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies, those who do not qualify for the CBIL scheme. This will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.

All non-financial companies that meet the criteria set out on the Bank of England’s website are eligible. The scheme is now available for applications.

We’re here to help.

All the best

The NR Barton team