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Help for Business Owners – How to Navigate the Coronavirus Crisis

The past couple of weeks has been one of the most surreal and difficult times many of us will have experienced. As the Coronavirus crisis has taken hold, the vast majority of us will have had to make adjustments to our work and personal lives, and get to grips with the new reality.

It has also been an extremely stressful time for business owners, many of whom may have seen a significant drop off in revenue over a very short period of time.

With new announcements being made on almost a daily basis, it can be hard for business owners to keep up. I’ve been working closely with clients over the recent days and weeks, looking at ways to help navigate the support available and also mitigate the impact from a business perspective.

As a trained accountant, the knowledge I bring as a business consultant could be invaluable to business owners in these times. I am also working with clients to help them put together comprehensive business plans – both in the short term to overcome the immediate hurdles, and also in the longer-term so that when things start to get to back to normal, there is a plan in place ready to roll out.

Here are details of some of the help currently available to business owners:

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The scheme will provide loans of up to £5 million, with no interest due for the first six months.

Business rate relief

 

All businesses will pay no business rates for 2020/21. The rateable value can be found on any business rates bill

 

Businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 will also be eligible for an additional cash grant of up to £25,000 (i.e. cash payment from the government) per business, to help them through this period.

 

Small businesses that are already eligible for 100% business rates relief will receive a grant of £10,000 (not £3,000, as previously announced) to help with business costs.

 

Taxes

 

Businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress will be able to negotiate ‘time to pay’ arrangements with HMRC without incurring late payment penalties. HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

 

VAT Payments by companies will be deferred until the end of June

 

Sick Pay

 

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to be paid from the first day of absence, not the fourth, where people have the virus or have to self-isolate, or care for such people.

 

Support through Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance for self-employed people and others not entitled to SSP.

 

Government Grants for Wage Payments

Employers will be able to access grants by the end of April from the UK’s tax authority to prevent them laying off workers. The government will cover the wage bill of 80% of gross wages in the private sector, up to £2,500 a month, for those not currently working due to the impact of Coronavrius. The payments will be backdated to March 1st March and the scheme will last a minimum of three months.

Non–Government Grants and Funding

I have also heard of a number of other grants schemes available across specific sectors. Some of these are being offered by large companies or other organisations with access to grant or emergency funding. Many of these are being run on a first come first served basis, so it is worth keeping in close contact and sharing knowledge with other businesses in your sector.

Please get in touch if I can be of any help in navigating any of the information. I can offer:

  • Accounting cover if your in-house team members are ill or unable to work
  • Cashflow analysis and planning
  • Negotiating with HMRC on your behalf
  • Financial forecasting to assist with loan applications etc

In these extremely difficult times, I hope everyone is keeping safe and well.

 

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