Covid-19

We have created this page to support you, your business and your staff through the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please go through the relevant information and links below and let us know if you need any help with the different measures and schemes.
  • SMALL BUSINESSES BOUNCE BACK LOANS
    Britain’s small businesses will be able to apply for quick and easy-to-access loans of up to £50,000 from today – with the cash expected to land within days

    small businesses will be able to apply for quick and easy-to-access loans
    businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 with the cash arriving within days
    loans will be 100% government-backed for lenders, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form

    List of Approved Lenders, Please Click here

    PROVIDER                        APPLICATION FORM











  • SELF-EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT
    Self-employed workers who are impacted by the COVID-19 disruptions will be able to apply for a grant of 80% of their monthly profit calculated over a 3-year average (capped to £2,500).

    Check if you can claim, Click here

    Please click here to see how you can apply.

    Important note:  We suggest that you should make a claim yourself with HMRC, should you want us to make a claim on your behalf, our fee starts from £125 plus vat and varies from case to case.
  • CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME (FURLOUGHED EMPLOYEES)

    Broadly, the scheme is available to all UK employers with a PAYE scheme that started on or before 19 March 2020. It covers part of the salary of employees who would otherwise be laid off because of the crisis – known as ‘furloughing’.

    To access the support, employers have to ‘furlough’ employees, which means asking them to stop working but retaining them on the payroll. This is a formal process with employment law implications and needs to be followed through carefully. Only furloughed employees on the payroll on or before 19 March can be covered. HMRC will pay a grant worth 80% of an employee’s usual wages, up to £2,500 a month, and associated employer NICs and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on the subsidised wage. Note that furloughed employees cannot carry out work for their employer during furlough and there are also rules around volunteer work and training.

    The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least three months starting from 1 March 2020. We expect the scheme to be up and running by the end of April. It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

    Employers can use a portal to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage. Employers can use this scheme anytime during this period.

    The scheme is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 28 February 2020.

    Who Can Claim

    Any UK organisation with employees can apply, including:

     - businesses

     - charities

     - recruitment agencies (workers paid through PAYE)

     - public authorities

      You must have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 28 February 2020 and have a UK bank account.

      Where a company is being taken under the management of an administrator, the administrator will be able to access the Job Retention Scheme.

      Public Sector Organisations
      The government expects that the scheme will not be used by many public sector organisations, as the majority of public sector employees are continuing to provide essential public services or contribute to the response to the coronavirus outbreak.

      Where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, we expect employers to use that money to continue to pay staff in the usual fashion – and correspondingly not furlough them. This also applies to non-public sector employers who receive public funding for staff costs.

      Organisations who are receiving public funding specifically to provide services necessary to respond to COVID-19 are not expected to furlough staff.

      In a small number of cases, for example where organisations are not primarily funded by the government and whose staff cannot be redeployed to assist with the coronavirus response, the scheme may be appropriate for some staff.

      Employees You Can Claim For
      Furloughed employees must have been on your PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020, and can be on any type of contract, including:

       - full-time employees
       - part-time employees
       - employees on agency contracts
       - employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts

      The scheme also covers employees who were made redundant since 28 February 2020, if they are rehired by their employer.

      To be eligible for the subsidy, when on furlough, an employee can not undertake work for or on behalf of the organisation. This includes providing services or generating revenue. While on furlough, the employee’s wage will be subject to the usual income tax and other deductions.

      This scheme is only for employees on agency contracts who are not working.

      If an employee is working, but on reduced hours, or for reduced pay, they will not be eligible for this scheme and you will have to continue paying the employee through your payroll and pay their salary subject to the terms of the employment contract you agreed.

      Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to the employment contract by agreement. When employers are making decisions in relation to the process, including deciding who to offer furlough to, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way.

      To be eligible for the subsidy employers should write to their employees confirming that they have been furloughed and keep a record of this communication.

      Employees hired after 28 February 2020 cannot be furloughed or claimed for in accordance with this scheme.

      You do not need to place all your employees on furlough. However, those employees who you do place on furlough cannot undertake work for you.

      If Your Employee Is On Unpaid Leave
      Employees on unpaid leave cannot be furloughed, unless they were placed on unpaid leave after 28 February.

      If Your Employee Is On Statutory Sick Pay
      Employees on sick leave or self-isolating should get Statutory Sick Pay but can be furloughed after this.

      Employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance can be placed on furlough.

      If Your Employee Has More Than One Job
      If your employee has more than one employer they can be furloughed for each job. Each job is separate, and the cap applies to each employer individually.

      If Your Employee Does Volunteer Work Or Training
      A furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work or training, as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of your organisation.

      However, if workers are required to, for example, complete online training courses whilst they are furloughed, then they must be paid at least the NLW/NMW for the time spent training, even if this is more than the 80% of their wage that will be subsidised.

      If Your Employee Is On Maternity Leave, Contractual Adoption Pay, Paternity Pay Or Shared Parental Pay
      Individuals who are on or plan to take Maternity Leave must take at least 2 weeks off work (4 weeks if they work in a factory or workshop) immediately following the birth of their baby. This is a health and safety requirement. In practice, most women start their Maternity Leave before they give birth.

      If your employee is eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance, the normal rules apply, and they are entitled to claim up to 39 weeks of statutory pay or allowance.

      Employees who qualify for SMP will still be eligible for 90% of their average weekly earnings in the first 6 weeks, followed by 33 weeks of pay paid at 90% of their average weekly earnings or the statutory flat rate (whichever is lower). The statutory flat rate is currently £148.68 a week, rising to £151.20 a week from April 2020.

      If you offer enhanced (earnings-related) contractual pay to women on Maternity Leave, this is included as wage costs that you can claim through the scheme.

      The same principles apply where your employee qualifies for contractual adoption, paternity, or shared parental pay.

      Work Out What You Can Claim
      Employers need to make a claim for wage costs through this scheme.

      You will receive a grant from HMRC to cover the lower of 80% of an employee’s regular wage or £2,500 per month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that subsidised wage. Fees, commission, and bonuses should not be included.

      At a minimum, employers must pay their employees the lower of 80% of their regular wage or £2,500 per month. An employer can also choose to top up an employee’s salary beyond this but is not obliged to under this scheme.

      We will issue more guidance on how employers should calculate their claims for Employer National Insurance Contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions before the scheme becomes live.

      Full Time And Part-Time Employees
      For full time and part-time salaried employees, the employee’s actual salary before tax, as of 28 February should be used to calculate the 80%. Fees, commission, and bonuses should not be included.

      Employees Whose Pay Varies
      If the employee has been employed (or engaged by an employment business) for a full twelve months prior to the claim, you can claim for the higher of either:

       - the same month’s earning from the previous year
       - average monthly earnings from the 2019-20 tax year

      If the employee has been employed for less than a year, you can claim an average of their monthly earnings since they started work.

      If the employee only started in February 2020, use a pro-rata for their earnings so far to claim.

      Once you’ve worked out how much of an employee’s salary you can claim for, you must then work out the amount of Employer National Insurance Contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions you are entitled to claim.

      Employer National Insurance And Pension Contributions
      All employers remain liable for associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on behalf of their furloughed employees.

      You can claim a grant from HMRC to cover wages for a furloughed employee, equal to the lower of 80% of an employee’s regular salary or £2,500 per month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on paying those wages.

      You can choose to provide top-up salary in addition to the grant. Employer National Insurance Contributions and automatic enrolment contributions on any additional top-up salary will not be funded through this scheme. Nor will any voluntary automatic enrolment contributions above the minimum mandatory employer contribution of 3% of income above the lower limit of qualifying earnings (which is £512 per month until 5th April and will be £520 per month from 6th April 2020 onwards).

      National Living Wage/National Minimum Wage
      Individuals are only entitled to the National Living Wage (NLW)/National Minimum Wage (NMW) for the hours they are working.

      Therefore, furloughed workers, who are not working, must be paid the lower of 80% of their salary, or £2,500 even if, based on their usual working hours, this would be below NLW/NMW.

      However, if workers are required to, for example, complete online training courses whilst they are furloughed, then they must be paid at least the NLW/NMW for the time spent training, even if this is more than the 80% of their wage that will be subsidised.

      What You’ll Need To Make A Claim
      Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to the employment contract by agreement. Employers may need to seek legal advice on the process. If sufficient numbers of staff are involved, it may be necessary to engage collective consultation processes to procure agreement to changes to terms of employment.

      To claim, you will need:
       - ePAYE reference number

       - the number of employees being furloughed

       - the claim period (start and end date)

       - amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 weeks)

       - your bank account number and sort code

       - your contact name

       - your phone number

      You will need to calculate the amount you are claiming. HMRC will retain the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of your claim

      Claim

      You can only submit one claim at least every 3 weeks, which is the minimum length an employee can be furloughed for. Claims can be backdated until the 1 March if applicable.

      What To Do After You’ve Claimed
      Once HMRC have received your claim and you are eligible for the grant, they will pay it via BACS payment to a UK bank account.

      You should make your claim in accordance with actual payroll amounts at the point at which you run your payroll or in advance of an imminent payroll.

      You must pay the employee all the grant you receive for their gross pay, no fees can be charged from the money that is granted. You can choose to top up the employee’s salary, but you do not have to.

      When The Government Ends The Scheme
      When the government ends the scheme, you must make a decision, depending on your circumstances, as to whether employees can return to their duties. If not, it may be necessary to consider termination of employment (redundancy).

      Employees That Have Been Furloughed
      Employees that have been furloughed have the same rights as they did previously. That includes Statutory Sick Pay entitlement, maternity rights, other parental rights, rights against unfair dismissal, and redundancy payments.

      Once the scheme has been closed by the government, HMRC will continue to process remaining claims before terminating the scheme

      Income Tax And Employee National Insurance
      Wages of furloughed employees will be subject to Income Tax and National Insurance as usual. Employees will also pay automatic enrolment contributions on qualifying earnings unless they have chosen to opt-out or to cease saving into a workplace pension scheme.

      Employers will be liable to pay Employer National Insurance contributions on wages paid, as well as automatic enrolment contributions on qualifying earnings unless an employee has opted out or has ceased saving into a workplace pension scheme.

      Tax Treatment Of The Coronavirus Job Retention Grant
      Payments received by a business under the scheme are made to offset these deductible revenue costs. They must, therefore, be included as income in the business’s calculation of its taxable profits for Income Tax and Corporation Tax purposes, in accordance with normal principles.

      Businesses can deduct employment costs as normal when calculating taxable profits for Income Tax and Corporation Tax purposes.

      For up to date information, please visit HM Revenue & Customs website

    • CLAIM BACK STATUTORY SICK PAY -DUE TO COVID-19
      Find out if you can use the Corona-virus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to reclaim employees’ corona-virus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

      The Corona-virus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the current rate of SSP that they pay to current or former employees for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.

      If you’re an employer who pays more than the current rate of SSP you can only claim the current rate amount.

      The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks starting from the first day of sickness if an employee is unable to work because they either:

       - have corona-virus
       - cannot work because they are self-isolating at home

       Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim.

      For up to date information, please visit HM Revenue & Customs 
    • DEFERRAL OF VAT PAYMENTS DUE TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

      For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20th March 2020 until 30th June 2020. All UK businesses are eligible. Helpfully, the deferral is automatic. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment until after 30th June 2020.

      Businesses will be given until the end of the 2020/21 tax year (5th April 2021) to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

      Please ensure you have cancelled your direct debit.

    • DEFERRAL OF SELF-ASSESSMENT PAYMENTS DUE TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

      For Income Tax Self Assessment, payments on account due on 31st July 2020 will be deferred until 31st January 2021. The deferral is automatic. You do not need to be self-employed to be eligible for the deferment. No penalties or interest for late payments will be charged in the deferral period.

      The deferment is optional. You can still pay your payment on account on 31st July you’re able to do so.

    • IF YOU CANNOT PAY YOUR TAX BILL ON TIME

      All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time to Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. You are eligible if your business pays tax to the UK government and has outstanding tax liabilities.


      Our advice to any of our costumes who have missed a tax payment, or who believe they are at risk of missing the next payment due to COVID-19, is to call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559. If you’re worried about a future payment, call HMRC nearer the time.

    • CHECK IF YOUR RETAIL, HOSPITALITY OR LEISURE BUSINESS IS ELIGIBLE FOR BUSINESS RATES RELIEF DUE TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
      Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

      Eligibility

      You are eligible if your property is a:
      • shop
      • restaurant, café, bar or pub
      • cinema or live music venue
      • assembly or leisure property – for example, a sports club, a gym or a spa
      • hospitality property – for example, a hotel, a guest house or self-catering accommodation
      For further guidance, please visit HMRC website
    • CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): BUSINESS SUPPORT GRANT FUNDING - GUIDANCE FOR BUSINESSES
      This guidance sets out details and eligibility criteria for:

      • the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF)
      • the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)
       
      It informs businesses about the operation and delivery of the 2 funding schemes.

      Please see the full guidance on the link here.
    • APPLY FOR THE CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME
      The government announced a new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), delivered by the British Business Bank, launched on 23rd March 2020  to support primarily small and medium-sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.

      The scheme is for businesses with viable borrowing proposals, up to £5 million in value, that the COVID-19 outbreak has ‘interrupted’. Businesses can access the first 12 months of that finance interest-free, as the government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments. Businesses are eligible for the scheme if they:

      • are UK based, with a turnover of no more than £45 million per year
      • meet the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria.
       
      When the scheme was announced it was not open to businesses who could access loans on commercial terms. However, the government agreed these businesses can access the scheme if they self-certify the impact coronavirus has had on them and they have a viable borrowing proposal. Another change to the scheme means lenders cannot ask directors for personal guarantees on any loans under £250,000. Businesses with loans over £250,000 will have recoveries capped at 20 percent of the outstanding CBILS facility amount.

      The changes are backdated to 23rd March 2020.

      How to access the scheme The full rules of the Scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website:  https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/
    • APPLY FOR THE CORONAVIRUS FUTURE FUND
      This scheme will issue convertible loans between £125,000 to £5 million to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak.

      The Future Fund will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.

      These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

      The scheme will be delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank.

      The headline terms setting out the main features expected to apply to the loans are attached at the bottom of this page.

      For more information, please click here. 
    • APPLY FOR THE CORONAVIRUS LARGE BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME

      Under the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF), the Bank of England will buy short-term debt from large companies.

       

      This scheme will support your company if it’s 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.


      The scheme is delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the Bank of England.


      It will operate for at least 12 months, and for as long as steps are needed to relieve cash flow pressures on firms that make a material contribution to the UK economy.

       

      For more information, please click here.

    • MORTGAGE HOLIDAY - FOR HOME OWNERS
      The government announced a three-month mortgage payment ‘holiday’  to help those in difficulty as a result of COVID-19. Personal credit ratings for delaying payments for up to three months will not be affected. The repayments would still need to be made in the future and interest would still be payable.

      On 18th March 2020, the government announced emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation while this national emergency is taking place.

      No new possession proceedings will commence during the crisis. Landlords will also be protected as the three-month mortgage payment holiday includes Buy to Let mortgages.
    • FUNDING AND SUPPORT
    • SELF-EMPLOYED PEOPLE AND SOLE TRADERS
    • YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS AN EMPLOYER
    • MANAGING YOUR BUSINESS DURING CORONAVIRUS