The global coronavirus pandemic naturally has a lot of people worried. Worried about their health and that of their loved ones, worried about paying their bills, getting the food and medicine they need, and worried about the businesses they’ve worked hard to build.
To help small- and medium-sized businesses who are facing difficulties and disruption as a result of the COVID-19, the government has introduced a series of measures.
Statutory Sick Pay Relief
The Chancellor has stated that small businesses with fewer than 250 employees could effectively get a refund for up to 2 weeks worth of Statutory Sick Pay they supply to employees.
Business Rate Relief
Due to the recent outbreak, the Government announced that there would be a 12-month business rates holiday for retail, hospitality, nursery, and leisure businesses in the UK.
Businesses in these industries are likely to be most affected by lost business as the government recommends people avoid crowded places and unnecessary social contact.
There are a several grants and funding options available to businesses who need help as a result of the impact caused by coronavirus.
Small businesses who receive Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) or the rural rate relief, and therefore don’t need help with business rates can instead receive grants of £10,000.
There is also a grant of up to £25,000 available for some retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. This is only if your property has a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 so this should provide some welcome relief for the smallest of businesses in the UK.
There are a couple of lending options available to businesses which should help to mend gaps in cash flow during the crisis.
First of all, there’s the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme which will be able to provide up to £5 million to small and medium-sized firms. This funding will be supplied by the British Business Bank.
Tax Help if You’re Struggling to Pay
For those who are struggling to keep up with tax payments, particularly the upcoming Payment of Account bill due in July, help is at hand. If you’re worried about tax, there is a helpline you can call for advice.
The number is 0800 015 9559. Lines are open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 8 pm and Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm.
Support for Lost Income if You’re Self-Employed
While employees can get access to SSP, if you’re self-employed, it’s a completely different story. If you’re currently struggling with lost income during this time and need support, there are some plans in place to make it easier to get help.
The Government has aimed to make applying for Universal Credit easier. The minimum income floor will be temporarily relaxed, you will be able to get advanced payments upfront and you won’t need to attend a Jobcentre interview to qualify.
There is also Employment Support Allowance for those who are unable to work due to sickness. This will be available to people affected by COVID-19 from day one of their sickness, rather than day seven.
While this will no doubt be a very difficult period for businesses and individuals, these measures should hopefully lessen the impact of this crisis.
How are you being affected by the COVID-19 crisis? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts and story.