MFW Corona Virus Covid-19 Update

Posted by karengray - March 19, 2020 9:27 am Coronavirus COVID-19 Hub page

Contacting us

Due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and following advice from the government to close offices and work from home our offices are now either closed or will be closed as at the end of 24 March.   For revised details on how to contact us please click here.

We are compiling a list of frequently asked questions from our clients. This will be updated as we are fielding these questions. You can find our responses on our Coronavirus FAQ page.

What is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

For updated details on the CJRS please visit our dedicated Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme page.

6 April – Payroll Updates

Claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

HMRC have issued guidance on reclaiming back Statutory Sick Pay during the coronavirus pandemic.  The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the current rate of SSP that they pay to current or former employees for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.  If you are an employer, who pays more than the current rate of SSP, you can only claim the current rate amount.

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks starting from the first day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they either:

  • have coronavirus
  • cannot work because they are self-isolating at home

Please note that employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim.

How does the scheme work?

The scheme can be used by employers if they:

  • are claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • had a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020

What types of employment does the scheme cover?

The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • employees on agency contracts
  • employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts

How long will the scheme last?

The government have not issued any details as to how long the scheme will last due to the current uncertainty that COVID-19 is causing.  Instead, they have advised that they will let employers know in due course when the scheme will end.

Records you must keep

It is important that you keep records for at least 3 years following your claim.  Records should include:

  • the reason why an employee could not work
  • details of each period when an employee could not work, including start and end dates
  • details of the SSP qualifying days when an employee could not work
  • National Insurance numbers of all employees who you have paid SSP to

When can I claim?

The online service for reclaiming SSP is not available yet.  HMRC will provide a further update when this service goes live. 

Direct Earnings Attachment (DEA) update

As an employer, you may need to deduct money from an employee who owes the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). These are known as Direct Earnings Attachment or DEAs.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak however, The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will be writing to employers asking them to temporarily stop benefit debt repayments for April, May and June.  They will write to employers again if this is going to be extended for a further period.

For  more information please read the following documents which have been issued by the government:

DEA’s – A Guide for Employers

DEA’s – A More Detailed Guide

These guides provide information on:

  • how to operate and make payments for a Direct Earnings Attachment
  • what your legal responsibilities are

Chancellor Rishi Sunak takes further action to small businesses and announces new scheme for larger companies to get help with business loans

Today the Chancellor has promised support to relax the rules for small businesses to claim the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

So far, £90 million of these loans have been approved since the CBILS launched last week, providing almost 1,000 businesses affected by COVID-19 with funding.  To maximise the support available, the Chancellor is today extending the CBILS so that all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this time.

Rishi Sunak has today stepped in, in response to the issues that some small businesses have been facing in their application process. This included the strict conditions imposed by many of the 40 authorised lenders, such as personal guarantees required for loans under £250,000. By stepping in the Chancellor is helping more business to receive the loans. His measures include:

  • extending the current loan scheme so more small businesses can benefit
  • banning lenders from requesting personal guarantees on loans under £250,000
  • promising that the government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees.
  • introducing a new scheme (CLBILS) to bolster support for larger firms not currently eligible for loans
  • the Chancellor has also written to lenders to urge them to process these claims quickly in order to help support the economy, jobs and businesses.

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Scheme (CLBILS)

Almost £1.9 billion support corporate finance has already been claimed via a scheme operated by the Bank of England.  The Chancellor has also extended this today with a further commitment of £1.6 billion

The new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will ensure that more businesses are able to benefit from government-backed support with the government providing a guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million. This will provide lending banks with the confidence to lend to more businesses which are impacted by coronavirus but which they would not lend to without CLBILS.

Loans backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest and further details of the scheme are to be announced later this month.

For loans greater than £250,000, personal guarantees will now be limited to just 20% of any amount outstanding on the CBILS lending after any other recoveries from business assets. Lenders were already prohibited from asking business owners to put their house on the line, but today’s changes will provide further reassurance regarding personal assets during this difficult time.

We will keep you posted on any further information, as it is announced.  In the meantime, if you need more help or guidance with applying for loans during this time, including preparing financial forecasts

1 April

Can the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme be claimed for Sole directors?

Sole directors usually take some of their remuneration via PAYE and, this is typically paid at a level just above the NIC threshold with the remainder of their income taken as dividends.  Therefore, directors can claim the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) but only on the portion of PAYE income and not on the dividend amount.

To be eligible directors need to cease working.  Whilst we expect statutory duties can still be carried out, directors are not allowed to conduct any services or revenue generating work .  If a director carries on working or works for reduced hours, they will not be eligible to claim CJRS.

How to claim

You should at write a company letter advising the director that they have been furloughed and the director should confirm their agreement.  Keep a copy to support any CJRS claim.

Calculating a ‘regular wage’

A ‘regular wage’ can be calculated in one of two ways:

  1. as either the higher of the same month’s income from the previous year or,
  2. the average monthly earnings from 2019-20 tax year. 

To qualify for CJRS you must continue to pay wages, as well as National Insurance and tax to directors and when the portal is up and running make a claim for CJRS which provides 80% of their regular wage up to £2,500 per month.

Income from CJRS is subject to Corporation Tax.

27 March updates

New HMRC helpline to help speed up enquiries

The new number is: 0800 024 1222

The original 0300 will now be redirected. Opening hours – Monday to Friday 08:00 to 16:00

Support for businesses through deferring VAT and Income Tax payments (updated 24 March & 26 March)

  • The government will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax payments for three months. If you are self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will now be deferred to January 2021.
  • If you choose to defer paying your VAT, you must pay VAT due on or before 31 March 2021.
  • Please note that VAT MOSS payments are not included.
  • This is an automatic process so you don’t need to make a special application. If you normally pay by Direct Debit you should contact your bank to cancel your Direct Debit as soon as you can, or you can cancel online if you’re registered for online banking.
  • Businesses should, however, continue to file their VAT returns by their due date.
  • For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.
  • Eligibility – support is available for all UK businesses.
  • How to access the scheme – this will act as an automatic process and you will not need to make an application for it.  Businesses will not be required to make a VAT payment during this period and taxpayers will have until the end of the 2020/21 tax year to pay any liabilities.
  • VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
  • After the VAT deferral ends VAT payments due following the end of the deferral period will have to be paid as normal. Further information about how to repay the VAT you have deferred will be available soon.
  • Income Tax – Self Assessment payments due 31 July 2020 will now be deferred until 31 January 2021.  You are eligible if you are due to pay your second self-assessment payment on account on 31 July. This is also an automatic process with no application process.  No penalties for late payment are to  be charged in the deferral period. New change – You now do not need to be self-employed to be eligible for the deferment. The deferment is optional. If you are still able to pay your second payment on account on 31 July you should do so.
  • Further clarification is needed from HMRC, but the current understanding seems to be that the deferral applies to any taxpayer who was self-employed during the 2018/19 tax year.
  • Be aware though any clients having to make a payment on account due to having dividend or rental income, then the normal due date of payment (31 July 2020) will stand.
  • We will update you on more information as we are notified.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – updated 27 March to include links on how to make a claim

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

The scheme allows employers who cannot cover staff costs due to Covid-19 to access support to continue paying part of the employees’ wages.

To access the scheme Employers will need to:

  • Classify an employee as a furloughed worker – this is a change in an employee’s employment status
  • Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed via a new online portal.

To qualify for this scheme, the employee should not undertake work for the employer while they are furloughed. 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. We will keep you updated once the portal goes live.

Get an update on the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme on our Coronavirus FAQ page. We raised some questions about the CJRS and would like to pass on advice we have received from our professional body the ICAEW (the Institute of Accountants in England and Wales). To view further details on CJRS and furloughing workers please click here.

Members of the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) can also download a letter template which they can use to notify their furloughed employees but this is subject to copyright. For more information please visit the FSB website.

25 March updates

Government announces launch of new Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp

This free to use service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19) and reduce the burden on NHS services.

Designed to help

  • Correct misinformation about Coronavirus COVID-19
  • Drive home the importance of the self-isolation message to stay home, protect the NHS and save lines

The GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service WhatsApp is an automated ‘chatbot’ service to allow the British public to get access to answers to the most common question they are fielding about COVID-19.  This includes information on:

  • Coronavirus prevention and symptoms
  • Updates on the latest number of cases in the UK
  • Advice on staying at home
  • Travel advice for essential keyworkers
  • Myth busting

How to set this up

To opt-in for this service add the number 07860 064422 to your phone contacts.  Then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.  You will then be able to select from a user menu so that you receive relevant guidance from GOV.UK as well as links for further information

Business grants/rates update

We have received an e-bulletin from Swale Borough Council which states “This morning we have received the detailed guidance from Government on the grants that are being made available to support business and we will be writing to eligible companies about how to apply.  All of the grants announced to date are associated with commercial properties that sit within certain business rate categories and we will be able to identify all those that are eligible.  We will write to those businesses, asking them to complete a form, on the Councils website, providing payment and other details required by Government.  We can then arrange payment as swiftly as possible”. 

They have suggested keeping up to date by signing up their their e-bulletin so if you are a business in the Swale area you can do this here. Or visit their website for more details.

For links to COVID-19 business advice from other Local Authorities in Kent download our document.

Fraudsters beware

Please be very mindful that in this stressing times there remain unscrupulous people who think nothing of trying to steal money from others due to phishing, spamming and other bogus activities.

HMRC warn of phishing

HMRC have already reported on a range of current phishing and scam. You can get more details about what they have reported here. They have also provided additional details of the latest phishing scams related to the coronavirus outbreak with these details extracted from the above link:

HMRC is aware of a phishing campaign telling customers they can claim a tax refund to help protect themselves from the corona outbreak.

Do not reply to the email and do not open any links in the message.

The email has been issued in various formats. An example of this scam is below:

Example of a scam email which is asking the user to click on hyperlinks to get a refund.

But this phishing is not only targeting HMRC communications and we are likely to see this unfortunately ramped up during the COVID-19 crisis by despicable people who look to use this time to prey on the vulnerable and even those who might just make a momentary lapse of judgment . We have been posting additional information this morning through our Twitter channel to try an help spread this news.

In addition, we have some further information on helping you to protect your money below:

Other help to protect your money from fraudsters:

Help for commercial tenants

The government have issued a press release today promising support for commercial tenants who are unable to make their rent payments due to the coronavirus.

These measures form part of the emergency Coronavirus Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament.  The Bill means that no business will be evicted from their premises during this period but businesses will have to pay back this rent after this time.

The government are also looking at how they can also help commercial landlords in this period. 

Once the Bill is passed and/or we have received more information we will provide an update for you.

We are also currently awaiting information to help self-employed individuals and hope to have confirmation of details, or further information, from the government by the end of the week.  In the meantime, please speak with your local MFW partner if you need further advice and support.

24 March updates

The government has started releasing some of the information to provide further details on grants and loans. Here is the latest news:

Business Rates Expanded Retail Discount 2020/21: Coronavirus Response – Local Authority Guidance

The government have issued guidance notes on the above. To view these please click here.

Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund Guidance

The government have issued guidance notes on the above. To view these please click here.

Coronavirus – Business support to launch from today 23 March

Businesses can access government support from today.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced further details for people and businesses including:

  • the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • help deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • 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
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

For further details of support for businesses and employers click here.

HMRC Time to Pay

HMRC have scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a direct result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities. Further details can be found here:  https://www.gov.uk/difficulties-paying-hmrc

Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees

New legislation to allow small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19 with eligibility as follows:

  • Refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
  • UK employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible (numbers as at 28 February 2020)
  • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  • Employers are required to maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
  • Eligibility period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force
  • The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible
  • A rebate scheme is currently being developed, with further details expected soon,

Support for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that pay business rates

  • A business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
  • Businesses which received retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.
  • Eligibility – your business is based in England and is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector
  • properties to benefit are defined as mainly being used as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues; for assembly and leisure as hotels, guest & boarding premises and; self-catering accommodation.
  • Accessing the scheme is automatic and will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge.

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

  • The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.
  • Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000.
  • Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
  • Eligibility – your business must be based in England and be within the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector
  • properties that will benefit from the relief are those used wholly or mainly as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues; for assembly and leisure as hotels, guest and boarding premises and; self-catering accommodation
  • Access to the scheme is automatic.  Local authorities will write to you if your business is eligible for this grant.  Further details are expected to be announced shortly.

Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

  • The government is introducing a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.  You are eligible is your business is based in England and include the following:
  • occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
  • wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage
  • Once again this is an automatic process and will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

  • The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.  For your business to be eligible, it must be based in England, already benefiting from SBBR and/or RRR, you are a business that occupies property.

Support for businesses through deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

  • The government will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax payments for three months. If you are self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will now be deferred to January 2021.
  • For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.
  • Eligibility – support is available for all UK businesses.
  • How to access the scheme – this will act as an automatic process and you will not need to make an application for it.  Businesses will not be required to make a VAT payment during this period and taxpayers will have until the end of the 2020/21 tax year to pay any liabilities.
  • VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
  • Income Tax – Self Assessment payments due 31 July 2020 will now be deferred until 31 January 2021.  This is also an automatic process with no application process.  No penalties for late payment are to  be charged in the deferral period.

HMRC Time to Pay

HMRC have scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a direct result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities. Further details can be found here:  https://www.gov.uk/difficulties-paying-hmrc

  • Businesses and self-employed individuals finding themselves 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.  However, arrangements are agreed by HMRC on a case by case.
  • If you have missed a tax payment already or believe you will miss your next payment due to COVID-19 then do call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.  You can also speak with one of our tax advisers for more help.

Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees

New legislation to allow small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19 with eligibility as follows:

  • Refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
  • UK employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible (numbers as at 28 February 2020)
  • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  • Employers are required to maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
  • Eligibility period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force
  • The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible
  • A rebate scheme is currently being developed, with further details expected soon,

Support for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that pay business rates

  • A business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
  • Businesses which received retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.
  • Eligibility – your business is based in England and is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector
  • properties to benefit are defined as mainly being used as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues; for assembly and leisure as hotels, guest & boarding premises and; self-catering accommodation.
  • Accessing the scheme is automatic and will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge.

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

  • The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.
  • Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000.
  • Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
  • Eligibility – your business must be based in England and be within the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector
  • properties that will benefit from the relief are those used wholly or mainly as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues; for assembly and leisure as hotels, guest and boarding premises and; self-catering accommodation
  • Access to the scheme is automatic.  Local authorities will write to you if your business is eligible for this grant.  Further details are expected to be announced shortly.

Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

  • The government is introducing a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.  You are eligible is your business is based in England and include the following:
  • occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
  • wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage
  • Once again this is an automatic process and will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

  • The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.  For your business to be eligible, it must be based in England, already benefiting from SBBR and/or RRR, you are a business that occupies property.
  • Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant and further guidance is expected shortly.

Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

  • A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, to support primarily small and medium-sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.
  • The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.
  • You are eligible if your business is based in the UK with a turnover no greater than £45 million per year.  In addition,  your business must meet other British Business Bank (add link) eligibility criteria.
  • Details of the Scheme, together with a list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website. In the first instance you should talk to your bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them. Ask your local MFW office for further help in preparing forecasts in order to assist your application.  The scheme will start during week commencing 23 March.

Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

  • Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies to support larger companies cash flow.  It will also help to support corporate finance markets to help ease the supply of credit to all firms.
  • All UK businesses are eligible. Further details of the scheme and how to apply are expected shortly.

Business insurance

It is important to check your policy, those businesses that opted for cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered.  However, as insurance policies differ significantly, businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their provider.

COVID-19 help for employees

The government have also issued help for employees. This information can be accessed here:

HM Treasury Support for those affected by COVID-19

HM Treasury have issued details on more support for those affected by COVID-19. You can access that information here.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

Starting from Monday 23 March 2020 this scheme will be provided via the British Business Bank through their participating partners. This scheme provides more attractive terms with the aim of supporting finance to businesses at this time. Further details can be found here. Or ask us for more help.

Help if you are unable to file accounts with Companies House on time

Here you can find out more details if you are unable to file your accounts on time at Companies House due to the coronavirus.

Government announces more support for small businesses

17 March – The Chancellor Rishi Sunak today announced unprecedented support for business and workers – to protect against the economic emergency caused by the coronavirus. For more details click here:

SLC Coronavirus (Covid-19) update

SLC issues updated guidance for applicants, current students and those repaying their student loans in response to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Added 20 March 2020

Guidance for charities

Guidance to help with running your charity during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch next week to support primarily small and medium sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments. Further details, including on the lenders providing access to this scheme will be announced in the coming days, and the scheme will be available from early week commencing 23 March 2020.

Coronavirus – HMRC Time To Pay Support Line

As announced in the Spring Budget, HMRC has now set up a dedicated helpline to assist businesses and self-employed individuals with time to pay arrangements for their taxes if they are having difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak. To access the link please click here.

Business rates

As announced in the Spring Budget, shops, restaurants, cinemas and music venues with a rateable value of up to £51k will have no business rates for the next year. The 10,000s of businesses currently in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors but not covered above will also see an extension to the 100% retail discount (for businesses with a rateable value of less than £51k).  A review of business rates will also be conducted prior to the Autumn Budget, with further information to follow.

Small Business Rate Relief cash grants

Businesses eligible for the Small Business Rate Relief will be entitled to a £10,000 Cash Grant.

Direct business grants

The government will be providing support to small businesses that pay little or no business rates due to the Small Business Rate relief (SBRR).  Local authorities in England, will be providing approximately 700,000 small businesses, those are currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate, with up to £10,000

Businesses with premises of a rateable value of less than £51,000 will receive grants of up to £25,000 from their Local Authority.  For more information, please contact your Local Authority.

Help for the self-employed

  • Self-employed workers who are not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be able to claim contributory Employment Support Allowance with benefits expedited from day one and not, as currently, day eight.
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for employees will be provided from day one instead of day four.  SSP will also be available for those people advised to self-isolate, even if the illness has not yet presented.  Sick notes would also shortly be available via NHS 111 rather than through GPs.
  • Costs of SSP caused by coronavirus outbreak will be refunded for up to 14 days for businesses with fewer than 250 employees.

IR35 Off-payroll working rules update

The government have postponed reforms to off-payroll working until April 2021. For more details click here.

Paying suppliers promptly during coronavirus

Our regulatory professional body, the Institute of Accountants in England and Wales (the ICAEW) has posted details of their advice online to help businesses better manage their cash flows at this difficult time. You can read their article on paying suppliers promptly during Coronavirus here.

Government to grant permission for pubs and restaurants to operate as takeaways as part of coronavirus response

Planning rules will be relaxed so pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways during the coronavirus outbreak. Further details are awaited.

Mortgage help

Homeowners and landlords can apply for a three month mortgage holiday from their lenders. The consumer champion Which has issued some helpful advice on how you can apply for a mortgage holiday. You can read that information here.

An update on what we are doing

Click here for details of what we are doing at McCabe Ford Williams during the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Please keep visiting this page for updates, as we get them, on help and support for you and your business. If you do need our support then please do contact your local MFW office for more assistance.

Our additional services to help you cope

As time moves forward, many businesses will see an impact on staff absences caused through self-isolation.  We can help with any immediate needs to cover key functions.

Our services include: 

To access the link please click here.

  • Virtual financial staffing cover
  • Virtual FD services
  • Cash flow forecasting
  • Financial forecasts to help you in obtaining business loan funding from banks
  • Advice with loan repayment holidays, overdraft extensions etc.
  • Bookkeeping
  • Payroll & BACS services
  • Credit control and business continuity services
  • Cloud accounting software solutions Alternatively, please contact your local MFW office (link) for further information as to how

If you need any assistance please do not hesitate to contact your local MFW office.