Business in Challenging Times
We appreciate you are no doubt being inundated at present with emails from all angles telling you what you can or can’t do. So we will keep this relatively short and to the point!
We, just like you, are in business and appreciate fully the challenges we currently face as business owners. We are seeing with increased significance the effect the reaction to Coronavirus is having on businesses so we are here to help. We can confirm that our offices are open and will remain so as long as we are able to. In the unlikely event that we cannot keep the office open, we will advise you of this but will ensure that all contact you make with us is captured whether that is a call to the office number, a mobile or an email.
There are number of measures which have been outlined in the budget last week and in the Chancellors press conference yesterday to help businesses survive and ride out the storm, the main areas being:
1. The government, via the banks, are providing up to £330bn via a guaranteed loan scheme for businesses to help them cope with the effects of business interruption relating to Coronavirus. Whilst this isn’t “free money”, it should be accessible and provide short term liquidity to businesses and be interest free for 6 months. Details are limited at this stage but should be fully announced by Monday 23 March. We suggest you consider this as an option if you are finding it difficult to meet your commitments to staff, suppliers etc. It was initially announced during the budget but had been beefed up in yesterday’s announcement. They have given this support the rather snappy title of Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme or CBILS for short. We will contact you again once we have further details about how this will operate.
2. The effect of Coronavirus on the workforce may be significant so measures were announced in the budget last week. Should you have staff who fall ill or are self-Isolating due to risks they may face then you must start to pay them SSP straight away rather than waiting the usual three qualifying days. You as an employer can then reclaim all SSP that is paid to such staff affected directly by Coronavirus from HMRC for the first 14 days you pay it.
3. Businesses who currently benefit from Small Business Rates Relief will get more support in the form of a grant amounting to £10,000 (increased from £3,000 just yesterday). This is being administered by local authorities who, according to the Chancellor, are fully able to provide such support. We would therefore suggest you speak to them directly.
4. In addition, businesses in the hospitality sector will be given full rates relief for 2020/21 and may benefit from a grant of £25,000, again from the local authority – contact them as soon as possible if this relates to you
5. HMRC have been primed to provide businesses with time to pay arrangements for VAT, corporation tax, PAYE and other taxes as a way of improving cash flow. BEWARE of contact from organisations offering to obtain payment arrangements for a fee – you don’t need to engage them – you can do this yourself for free. Be frank with HMRC and don’t be afraid to request an arrangement you will feel comfortable adhering to. The dedicated number for HMRC is 0800 0159 559
6. If you are seriously affected by the recent government directives on socialising and interacting, such as pubs, restaurants etc, it will be worth speaking to your insurers about the ability to make a claim on your policy. Whilst it was widely reported in the press this was being rejected by insurers, apparently this has now been discussed at the highest level and insurers are prepared to pay out in some circumstances.
Above all, if you have queries, concerns, challenges or questions regarding your business please get in touch with us via your usual contact, by calling 0191 487 7074 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Inspire Team