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What Support is Available for Businesses and Individuals During the COVID-19 Outbreak?

In times of crisis, there’s plenty of worry circulating so we wanted to take some time to help out on the financial side of things.

We’ve put together a short post on the measures the Government has taken to try and help businesses and individuals during this pandemic.

What Help Is Available for Businesses?

A few announcements regarding the safeguarding of businesses have already been announced. The Chancellor set out a series of temporary measures to support businesses including:

Who is entitled to the minimum wage?

Workers over the school leaving age are entitled to the minimum wage. This is the last Friday in June of the school year in which they turn 16. Once a worker reaches the age of 25, they are entitled to the NLW.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the new Coronavirus Job Retention scheme, government grants will cover 80% of the salary of PAYE employees who would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. The scheme, open to any employer in the country, will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March 2020 and will be open before the end of April. It will continue for at least three months and can include workers who were in employment on 28 February.

Sick Pay Relief

During the Spring Budget, the Chancellor announced that there would be Statutory Sick Pay relief for small businesses if your staff need time off work. This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per employee off work due to COVID-19.

Grant Funding

There is some funding available for certain small businesses. There is small business grant funding of £10,000 for those who receive small business rate relief or rural rate relief

There’s also a grant of £25,000 for retail, hospitality or leisure businesses available if your property has a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000

Business Rate Holiday

The Government also announced a 12-month business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses - the industries most affected by social distancing and self-isolating customers.

Lending Schemes

For additional financial help, there’s a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme which can provide up to £5 million to support SMEs. This will be provided by the British Business Bank.

Additionally, there’s a new lending facility provided by the Bank of England which will help support liquidity for large firms. This should help them bridge cash flow disruptions.

Tax help

Naturally, plenty of businesses will struggle to pay taxes during this time. If you think you are going to struggle during this pandemic, the HMRC Time to Pay Scheme will help businesses.

HMRC has opened up a special helpline for anyone struggling due to Coronavirus, the number is 0800 015 9559.

What Support is There for Individuals?

Sick Pay for Anyone Self-Isolating

Anyone who needs to self-isolate during the Coronavirus will be entitled to full sick pay. This is whether you are sick or are just self-isolating as a precaution. Sick pay will be available from day one of your absence, instead of the usual day four.

Support for the Self-Employed

Of course, the SSP measures might be a relief to employees, but what if you’re self-employed? The government has tried to make it easier for self-employed people to claim for Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance.

During the Spring Budget, it was announced that: “For the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for those who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating according to government advice, ensuring self-employed claimants will receive support.”

You will also be able to get advance payments upfront without needing to attend a Jobcentre interview, which should help in reducing the spread of the virus.

What about getting a sick note?

Of course, with it being so difficult, not to mention dangerous to visit your GP unless absolutely necessary, getting a sick note will be difficult.

That’s why a measure has been introduced which will allow you to get an alternate note using the online NHS 111 service. You can use this in your claim for SSP or Universal Credit.

Mortgage Relief and Support for Renters

For anyone worried about paying their mortgage, a recent announcement revealed that there is help at hand. New measures mean there will be a three-month mortgage payment holiday for homeowners and landlords who are struggling to pay.

While there won’t be any relief for renters yet, there will be a ban on evictions for the next three months even if renters struggle to pay their landlords.

Will This Be Enough?

While these measures will only combat some of the problems that arise from this virus, it should help some people who are worried about their finances and/or business during this difficult time.

Hopefully, with protective measures in place, this means we can start to slow the spread of the virus by encouraging people to reduce contact with others. We hope this will enable us to come out on the other side much quicker. In the meantime, we want to take this time to say stay safe!