The Government has issued guidance and revealed a package of business support measures for employers and businesses to minimise the impact of coronavirus.

In last week’s budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a package of measures to provide support for public services, individuals and business to ensure the impact of COVID-19 is minimised.

A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, 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 per cent of any losses with no fees. This will unlock up to £1 billion pounds to protect and support small businesses.

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the Government in full. This will provide two million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.

A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

There will be a £3,000 cash grant to 700,000 of our smallest businesses, delivered by local authorities, and worth a total of £2 billion.

Finally, the Government is temporarily increasing the business rates retail discount in England to 100 per cent for 2020-21, for properties below £51,000 rateable value. Nearly half of all business properties will not pay a penny of business rates.

In addition, the decisions announced by the Bank of England on March 11 mean that banks are in a better position to provide additional credit to smaller businesses.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “The coronavirus clearly poses multiple challenges for businesses, and I know from regular calls with business representatives that many are concerned about the longer-term effects on investment, cash flow and the future of their businesses.

“Supporting companies through this period is a top priority and a whole-of-government effort. The measures set out in the Budget show that this government will support business through this turbulent time and keep the economy moving. We will continue to review these measures as the impact of the virus progresses.”

 Additional resources

  • The Government’s coronavirus action plan provides detailed information about the government’s response
  • The government has put a range of support in place for those who do not receive Statutory Sick Pay, including Universal Credit and contributory Employment and Support Allowance
  • ACAS has published information for employees and employers, including simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff
  • A number of private lenders are also making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including £2 billion from Lloyds Banking Group and £5 billion from NatWest