The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.
This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:
- a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
- a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
- a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
All UK-wide employers with a PAYE scheme will be eligible – this includes the public sector and charities.
How to access the scheme
You will need to:
- designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
- submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)
- HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.
Self-employment Income Support Scheme
Use this scheme if you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have lost income due to coronavirus.
Who can access the scheme?
You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:
- have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
- traded in the tax year 2019-20
- are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
- intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
- have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19.
Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income come from self-employment. This is determined by at least one of the following conditions being true:
having trading profits/partnership trading profits in 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your total taxable income
having average trading profits in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your average taxable income in the same period
If you started trading between 2016-19, HMRC will only use those years for which you filed a Self-Assessment tax return.
HMRC will use data on 2018-19 returns already submitted to identify those eligible and will risk assess any late returns filed before the 23 April 2020 deadline in the usual way.
If you have not submitted your Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, you must do this by 23 April 2020.
How much you will receive
You will get a taxable grant which will be 80% of the average profits from the tax years (where applicable):
- 2016 to 2017
- 2017 to 2018
- 2018 to 2019
To work out the average, HMRC will add together the total trading profit for the 3 tax years (where applicable) then divide by 3 (where applicable), and use this to calculate a monthly amount.
It will be up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months.
You will be paid the grant directly into your bank account, in one instalment.
How to apply
You cannot apply for this scheme yet.
HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online.
Individuals do not need to contact HMRC now.- Self Employment Income Support Scheme
After you apply
Once HMRC has received your claim and you are eligible for the grant, they will contact you to tell you how much you will get and the payment details.
If you claim tax credits you will need to include the grant in your claim as income.
Other help available
If you are a director of your own company and paid through PAYE you may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.
Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
Government is supporting businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.
For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.
All UK businesses are eligible.
This is an automatic offer with no applications required.
Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period.
Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period.
VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.
You are eligible if you are self-employed.
This is an automatic offer with no applications required.
No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.
HMRC is also administering the Time to Pay offer (see below) to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities.
Statutory Sick Pay Relief Package for SME’s
Government is bringing forward legislation to allow small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.
In order to be eligible:
- your business is UK based
- your business is a small or medium-sized and employs fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020
A rebate scheme is being developed by Government. Further advice is available here
Expanded Retail Discount
The government has introduced business rates discount for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the financial year 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. We have now received some guidance from Government on eligibility criteria.
Most businesses involved or related to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will be eligible including:
- Shops, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, pubs, cinemas and live music venues
- Sport and leisure facilities, clubhouses, tourist attractions
- Hotels, guest houses and self-catering accommodation.
Businesses that may be visible on the high street, but are not covered are:
- Financial services (eg. banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, payday lenders, pawn brokers)
- Medical services (eg. doctors, dentists, vets, osteopaths, chiropractors)
- Professional services (eg. solicitors, accountants, financial advisors, insurance agents)
- Post office sorting offices
How do I receive the rates discount?
You do not need to apply. We have applied the discount to accounts for Eastbourne rate payers and revised bills were issued on the 24th of March. We are currently updating accounts for Lewes District Council rate payers and the amended bills will be sent shortly.
For more information see GOV.UK - Support for those affected by COVID-19 or visit our Business Rates reliefs and discounts page.
Business Rates Nursery Discount
The government will introduce a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
You are eligible for the business rates holiday if your business is based in England
Properties that will benefit from the relief will be hereditaments:
- occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
- wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage
The discount will be applied to eligible accounts and revised bills will be issued as soon as possible.
Business grants and funding
As part of the package of measures to support businesses, local authorities are due to administer the following:
- Small Business Grant Funding (SBGF) of £10,000 for businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) funding of £10,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value up to £15,000 and £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000
We are working hard to identify eligible businesses and will be contacting all eligible rate payers within the next couple of weeks.
You can download frequently asked questions about the grants and funding below:
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
A new temporary scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, has now launched to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to access bank-lending and overdrafts.
The CBILS scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value, with the first six months of the finance interest-free. More information and eligibility criteria are available here
Time to Pay Service
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
How to access the scheme
If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, you should call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
Businesses housing the homeless
Government has stated that where hotels, hostels, and B&Bs are providing rooms to support homeless people, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies, they should remain open.
Guidance on the closure of all retailers that sell non-essential goods and other non-essential premises is available from Gov.uk
Rent support for businesses
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. These measures, included in the emergency Coronavirus Bill currently going through Parliament, will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next three months.
The change will come into force when the Coronavirus Bill receives Royal Assent. It will last until 30 June, with an option for the government to extend if needed.
Covid Corporate Financing Facility
The Bank of England has also opened its new lending facility for larger firms, called the Covid Corporate Financing Facility. The scheme is a cost-effective way to raise working capital for companies experiencing severe disruption to cash flows. It is open to firms that can demonstrate they were in sound financial health prior to the coronavirus pandemic. More information is available at Bank of England
Still have questions?
If you have a specific question regarding your business, please complete the Business enquiry form below and a Council Officer will get back to you as soon as possible.
Business enquiry form