Coronavirus is spreading rapidly, and the UK Government have announced how they will be supporting the UK economy, businesses and individuals during the outbreak. Rishi Sunak announced a new package of new measures to help businesses and individuals during the COVID-19 outbreak whilst delivering his Budget speech on Wednesday 11 March 2020.
This situation is changing all the time. We will update this page as soon as new information becomes available. For the most up-to-date advice, we strongly recommend you follow and read the advice from the UK Government here.
As of 13 March 2020, these are the measures the government has announced to help businesses and individuals during the Coronavirus outbreak:
Employees will get Statutory Sick Pay from day one
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has announced that employees will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from day one when self-isolating. Rather than having to wait until day four under the normal SSP waiting days rules. However, this change will be a temporary measure to respond to the outbreak and will lapse when it is no longer required.
The government will refund businesses the SSP cost
During the budget on Wednesday 11 March, the Government announced that they will refund the cost for businesses with fewer than 250 employees, for the cost of providing SSP for 14 days. It is hoped that this will provide over £2 billion for up to two million businesses.
Business rates will be removed
Business rates will be scrapped for thousands of small businesses over the next year to help support small businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak. Mr Sunak announced that businesses such as shops, cinemas, restaurants and music venues with a rateable value under £51,000 will not have to pay the tax for the next financial year.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The Chancellor also announced a new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The scheme will be delivered by the British Business Bank. This will enable businesses with a turnover of no more than £41 million to apply for a loan of up to £1.2 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. This will unlock up to £1 billion pounds to protect and support small businesses.
HMRC Coronavirus helpline
If you need to speak to HMRC about any outstanding tax liabilities or if you need support with your tax affairs, you can call the dedicated helpline set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress. They have announced that businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement to minimise the impact during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
Coronavirus support for the self-employed who have to self-isolate
In the Budget Rishi Sunak recognised that self-employed people and employees earning below the National Insurance Lower Earnings Limit are not entitled to SSP. However, he announced that the UK Government will offer financial support to these individuals through a ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit.
If you would like help with your Statutory Sick Pay or for any advice on your payroll duties during the Coronavirus please contact our expert Payroll team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01295 250401 or contact us here.
For advice on your business or personal tax affairs please call the HMRC helpline above on 0800 0159 559, or contact us here.
If you are an employee or employer looking for advice please refer to ACAS website.