Since last week's Budget announcement, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, yesterday increased the number of financial benefits that will be guaranteed to small and large businesses as part of an initial £330bn package, and will be available by the Government from Monday 23rd March. This is incredible support assisting you to pay rent and employee salaries, purchase stock and pay suppliers.
- Business rates have been suspended for shops, cinemas, restaurants and hotels with a rateable value of less than £51,000. Find out more here. A £3,000 grant for firms eligible for small business rates has also been made available, and this will be rolled out via local councils.
- Businesses with under 250 employees will be refunded statutory sick pay payments for 2 weeks for employees that have been asked to self-isolate as a result of symptoms.
- Business interruption loans of up to £5m (as a temporary replacement of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme) will be made available for small firms with a t/o less than £41m, with no interest due for the first 6 months. If you think you might need to apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), contact an accredited lender authorised by the British Business Bank. Find out more here.
- The Bank of England has cut interest rates to 0.25%, and banks have announced they will be relaxing requirements for overdraft extensions and loans applications so, if you need to request this, please speak to your local branch or business bank manager.
- Self-employed workers requiring to self-isolate will be entitled to claim contributory Employment Support Allowance, available from day 1.
- HMRC has a set up a telephone helpline on 0800 0159 559 to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus.
- Chief treasury secretary Steve Barclay has announced that the IR35 tax reforms, which we're confirmed to go ahead on 1st April in last week's Budget, have now been pushed back by one year to April 2021, noting that the move is "a deferral not a cancellation and the Government remains committed to reintroducing this policy."
For the full breakdown of Government support,please click here.
The team at local consultancy, Employee Management Limited, have produced a range of further materials to assist employers with managing the HR and Employment Law issues surrounding the Coronavirus situation, including a Q&A document for staff and template Temporary Homeworking Policy. If you would like to receive a copy of these, please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find out more here.
Whilst many business are concerned about the negative impact of Coronavirus, some are taking the opportunity to review business processes and systems, and plan future marketing activities for example. There are some great articles online from business leaders, including this one at MoneyControl.com. You may want to consider ideas to help your business deal with the current situation, and to potentially come out stronger once the pandemic has settled down.
LOOK AFTER YOURSELF & YOUR STAFF
The feedback we have seen is that whilst employees are concerned about catching the virus, many are equally concerned about being asked to stay at home / to self-isolate, and the impact this could have on their mental health. Look at setting up regular Zoom meetings or Google Classroom sessions so that your staff can still feel part of a team with face to face contact. There are also support groups that have been set up on Facebook for example, for self-isolating people to be able to access resources and support if needed.
If you have any concerns about Coronavirus affecting your business, and are not sure who to speak to, please know that you can contact our Managing Partner, Les Leavitt or one of the team here at LWA. Call us on 0161 905 1801 in Manchester, or 01925 830 830 in Warrington. We're here to help.