Monday 11th May 2020

Summary of latest government announcement for business

The furlough scheme remains active until at least the end of June, announcements are expected soon about the future of the scheme beyond that,

Government is encouraging those that can’t work from home to return to work from Wednesday 13 May 2020, in some sectors.   
Government has published sector specific advice regarding safety in the workplace with coronavirus, which can be found here.  
We can refer you to a health and safety specialist for H&S advice,  or to WBW solicitors for employment law advice.

Some specific sectors remain on enforced shutdown and a timetable has been set out when the government will look at reopening, including non- essential shops from June and leisure/hospitality not before July.
The latest FAQ can be read here

Business insurance

While most business insurance will not cover loss of profits due to the virus, we have seen a client successfully receive a substantial claim because the wording on their policy specifically insured against an opposed shutdown by authorities
“If you are unable to trade due to government or local council directives”.  As such it may be worth checking your policy to see if your business interruption is covered.

SEISS Self Employed Income Support

All sole traders and partnerships should have had our email last week and should have an HMRC invitation to check their eligibility for a claim and may wish to claim if profits have been lost and the business is still trading. Ensure you have set up your tax account this week ready to make any claim.  The rules are not obvious and some newer businesses may not receive a grant where as other businesses will receive more than they might expect.  See our website for details here.

Bounce Back Loans

Many clients successfully applied for and received loans last week, with most banks coping well with the applications.  There were some banks that had issues, it may be possible to apply to a bank other than your normal bank.  See our previous email or website for details here.

Wednesday 15th April 2020

Support for Self-employed (Sole Traders & Partnerships) - Updated - Click here to see our updated webpage

Monday 14th April 

 A brief update on how some of the various support options are progressing:

  • Job retention scheme expected to launch next week, allowing you to claim subsidy for furloughed workers (including directors who are only doing statutory duties and should have a board minute in place). If we process your payroll we will be in touch.
  •  Self-employment support – HMRC should contact you in June, we will help at that time.
  • Grants- Click these  Torbay and Teignbridge webpage links for application details, the  first grants have been paid out, other areas search for your local authority support page.
  • Scams- beware of online and phone scams, e.g. invites to apply for a grant, or you’re being prosecuted for tax debts.  We have seen many clients reporting such scams, never make payments or give out bank details to an unknown source.
  • Loans- the Government backed loan conditions have eased and we are seeing some loans being issued- speak to your high street bank, we can help with the application.

Monday, 6th April

The government updated its guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme over the weekend. If you plan to issue a claim under the scheme, we strongly advise you to review the updated guidance which can be found at the following link:

For further information, please see our Job Retention Scheme webpage here

Wednesday, 1st April 

We have added a COVID-19 overview and quick links page for your ease of reference, take a look here

Thursday 26th March

Support for self-employed through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19).   See our Self-Employment page here

Wednesday 25th March

Companies to receive 3-month extension period to file accounts during COVID-19 

  • As of 25 March 2020, businesses will be able to apply for a 3-month extension for filing their accounts.This joint initiative between the government and Companies House will mean businesses can prioritise managing the impact of Coronavirus.   Click here to see full guidance.

Business Rates and Grants

  • On 25th March it was announced that estate agents, letting agents and bingo halls are to be added to rates holiday:  Click on link for further information… 

Monday 23rd March 

Guidance - Businesses and premises to close 

On 23 March the Government stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives. All non-essential premises must now close. Latest guidance issued by Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government click here for the Guidance report.

Friday 20th March 

The Government announced the following additional measures, we recommend you consider the additional support before closing businesses or making redundancies:   

  • Enforcing cafes, pubs, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, theaters, gyms, leisure centers to close now, indefinitely, but can restaurants can provide take outs. 
  • Job protection- Government to help pay wages- any employer small or large, charitable or non profit is eligible for a grant. Can apply for a grant for 80% of salary up to £2500 a month, for workers kept on who cannot work due to Corona Virus shutdown. Grants backdated to March 1st.   First grants within weeks but definitely by end of April. Grants to run for 3 months at least. No limit on number of employees. Employers may need to bridge the gap until receiving a grant by getting a loan and repaying it with the grant.
  • Previously announced loan scheme will now be 12 months interest free, up from 6 month interest free previously announced
  • Deferring next quarter of VAT payments April/May/June payable at end of 2020.
  • Universal credit standard allowance and working tax credit element each increased by £1000
  • Self employed can access Universal credit with no minimum income floor, essentially self-employed same sick pay as SSP.
  • Next self assessment payments (July 20) deferred until January 2021.
  • Housing benefit increased 30% to help renters

Last week saw the Government response to the COVID-19 crisis quickly ramp up, with advice to increase social distancing and self-isolation, and to work from home where possible. This has seen businesses in the hospitality, retail and leisure industry immediately impacted and in some cases in danger. However, on 17 March 2020 further support was announced for business and we will be updating and supporting clients daily.

With enforced shutdowns in effect in France, Ireland and much of Europe these measures are likely to increase and go on for months, so this is likely to be the most testing trading times of our lifetimes, but there are many steps that can be taken to both prevent the spread of the virus and ensure your business comes out of the crisis in the best possible shape.

We would ask clients not to make any major decisions such as putting a business up for sale or closing the business without speaking to us first, there may be options available. 

Further support is being announced on an almost daily basis and while action may be imperative please give due consideration to possible support before implementing redundancies or business closure.

Your action plan

What your business can do -

  • Make a plan to follow the latest government guidance and consider the long term impact on sales and operations. Consider possible home working and staff flexibility 
  • Consider the likely impact of staff absences due to sickness, isolation, childcare issues (schools may be forced to shut or relatives no longer able to give care)
  • Plan cash flow with regard to the above points, consider if tax can be deferred, if finance will be required
  • Consider your personal situation and outgoings and what you need to draw from the business 
  • Check insurance policies or speak with your insurer
  • If staff hours must be cut consider contracts and legal obligations, get advice if necessary.
  • Track COVID-19 related absence and sickness