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COVID-19 Update - 23 March

Monday 23rd March 2020

Welcome to the second week of our team all working off site, but still available to you.

Fortunately, all our team remain in good health currently and as we said, are working on VPNs and all of our internal systems, software and files are accessible by the team and we will be working normally and will be available to assist you by telephone and email.

In the meantime, please communicate with us electronically, post is being monitored, but will be slower than emailing us.

Our contact details are
 

Khushal khushal@kingsleymaybrook.com 07894 200077
Ian ian@kingsleymaybrook.com 07930 354786
Anjana anj@kingsleymaybrook.com 07768 920188
Agata agata@kingsleymaybrook.com 07805 916064
Qunay qunay@kingsleymaybrook.com 07539 225943


Below is a round up of what we understand are the current business support packages unveiled by the government. Some of these are very new indeed and we do not have all of the details yet, and as always this is a rapidly changing situation, we are simply trying to keep you all updated on the latest developments.

If you have Business Premises

Business Rates

If you are in the Hospitality, Leisure or Retail markets, then you will pay no business rates at all for 20-21. This will be administered by your local authority.

In addition, small businesses in the above sectors with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will get a £25,000 grant. Again, this will be administered by your local authority.

Lastly if you are NOT in the above sectors and your business is in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief, then you will get a £10,000 grant.

NOTE THIS IS NOT A GENERAL GRANT TO ALL SMALL BUSINESSES YOU HAVE TO BE PAYING RATES AND IN RECEIPT OF SBBR TO GET THIS GRANT.

Lastly, please this is with local authorities to administer, we suspect this will not be a quick process.

If you have Employees (we do not yet know if this includes directors only)

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

We are still awaiting full details on this, but the government says it will apply to ALL UK employers, and you will be able to apply for 80% funding for the wages of employees who would have otherwise been laid off subject to them being on a “furlough” (holiday). Note that it is a requirement of the scheme that the employee is laid off, this cannot be used to pay staff who are working.

The moment we find out the full details and mechanism for claiming we shall let you know.

Please check employment contracts for any challenges here.

Statutory Sick Pay

With immediate effect SSP will be payable from the first day of sickness, or self-isolation of staff, It’s only £94.25 a week per employee, and as yet the Govt has not given us the repayment mechanism, we will advise any businesses with payroll how this works when we have more details. Plus, we are dependent on payroll software suppliers to amend the programs, but they are usually very quick with this.

HR Matters

There is a complex HR situation potentially with notice periods if you wish to lay off staff, with statutory lay off pay, as well as parental rights to unpaid leave for childcare in emergencies. We will try to assist where possible, but you may have to seek legal advice. An excellent source for both employers and employees is here

https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

Specifically, for the self-employed

The government has been criticised for not doing enough for the self-employed, and this is certainly an area to keep your eye on as changes may come quickly, however so far this is the position as we understand it.

Statutory Sick Pay

With immediate effect self-employed can ask for statutory sick pay at the same rate as an employee, not much at £94.25 a week, but more than you would have got previously.

Universal Credit

The “minimum floor” level for the self employed which basically used to keep down benefit payments has been removed “for the duration of the outbreak” This often criticised methodology would have kept Universal Credit payments down to almost minimum for most self employed people, and this restriction has now been lifted.

For ALL Businesses of any kind

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

  • A Government scheme, whereby the government will guarantee up to 80% of loans
  • All banks will participate fully in this scheme but at the moment the Government is still working on the details.
  • Full details of the scheme are to be announced but it will replace the previous EFG scheme
  • More info available here: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/
  • The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan
  • The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.
  • Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.


More details on this will be available from the banks and other lenders shortly, and we will keep you updated.

VAT

If you are registered for VAT, then you do not have to make you next VAT payment for ANY payment due from the 20th March through to the 30th June 2020.

HMRC say you will have to catch up by the end of 20/21 (March 2021) but this is a major cash break for businesses.

Self-Assessment Tax.

Your payment on account for July 31st 2020 is cancelled, instead it will be payable on the 31st January 2021.

Paying Tax and NI

The government has said that they will look kindly on time to pay schemes, they have published a contact number of 0800 0159 559. We have not yet had any experience of this service and we will feedback as it becomes clearer.

Asset Re-financing

If your business has assets in the balance sheet, it may be possible to look at some re-financing options, please do contact us if you would like us to assist with this.

Factoring/Invoice Discounting

This is also a potential alternative, but is complex and full of pitfalls, please do talk to us if you are considering this, it will only work if your clients are going to pay within usual 90 days and will bring forward money.

Insurance

Some businesses will have business interruption insurance, so check your policy carefully you may be able to make a claim through your insurers. Unfortunately, many policies exclude pandemics.

Personal Finances

The government has agreed with most mortgage lenders to offer a 3-month payment holiday, it will not change what you owe, and interest will be running, but it may give you breathing space. Please apply direct to your lender.

For people who rent, there is no automatic right to a rent payment holiday, however your landlord will be able to apply for the 3-month payment holiday on their mortgage and there is a complete ban on all evictions and eviction proceedings for 3 months. Talk to your landlord or agency if you are having financial problems.

If you are working from home and used to commute to work with a season ticket, you may now get a refund on this ticket, this is very new, but we think applies to British Rail and London Transport.

We will continue to monitor developments and will be emailing updates as they happen. The Kingsley Maybrook team is here and supporting you through what will undoubtably be a difficult time for many businesses.

 

Stay healthy, practice social distancing and follow government advice please.

Kind regards,

Kingsley Maybrook