In an interconnected global economy, the new coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) is affecting UK businesses and their operations. It has resulted in restrictions on travel and public gatherings, as well as supply chain disruptions and market uncertainty. We share some practical steps you can take to help manage the impact of COVID-19 on your business.
This page is updated regularly to give the latest news and resources for business owners. We’ve pooled together all our experts’ advice and sources of support together in one place. This should make it easier for you to find useful information and to know what your next steps are at this challenging time.
Keep up to date with the latest developments and advice
Have a plan
In case all or some of your workforce have to self isolate put together a plan as to how you will manage this process now. Here are a few practical things to consider:
- How will you communicate to your customers what is happening
- Can you divert your phone system
- How will the workforce communicate with each other if working from home
- Do you have up to date contact details for all your workforce
- If staff would need to connect to a computer network remotely check they can do this now
- Is it possible to split departments and segregate from one another to reduce the risk that everyone in a single department is affected
Keep your staff informed
Firstly, keep everyone updated as to what you are doing to reduce the risk of exposure in the workplace. Ensure everyone knows what they should do in the event that they do experience symptoms.
To avoid uncertainty you should also communicate to your staff the company sickness policy and how this would apply in different circumstances.
Financial support for businesses
The Government announced in the Budget a number of measures they are introducing to support businesses that are affected by COVID-19.
- a statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
- a Business Rate Relief for small businesses and pubs
- small business grant funding of £3,000 for all business in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
Full details can be found on the GOV.UK website
Struggling to pay your tax because of COVID-19
If you are having difficulty or believe you will have difficulty paying your taxes on time HM Revenue & Customs have set up a new Coronavirus helpline.
Where possible you should call HMRC before the tax liability falls due to discuss a payment plan. If you do not contact HMRC and don’t settle your liabilities on time you may incur a penalty. HMRC Coronavirus Helpline – Telephone: 0800 015 9559
Sick pay for Self-Employed
For the self employed who find themselves out of work or have to self isolate, it is now simple to make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance. https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
For the Business Interruption Loan schemes contact your bank as they will be the lenders that administer the loans. You can find out more information on the British Business Bank website. https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/
Government launches coronavirus business support finder tool
The Government have launched a new tool to help businesses quickly and easily identify what support is available to them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can find the tool at: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder
The Future Fund
HM Treasury have published details of a new scheme called the Future Fund. This new scheme, which is set to go live in May, is aimed at start-up high growth businesses which rely on equity investment and are unable to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The Government will issue convertible loans of between £125,000 and £5,000,000, which need to be matched by private investment.
The scheme, when launched, will be run in partnership with the British Business Bank.
Full terms of the loans and eligibility can be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/880119/Convertible_Loan_Key_Terms_-__Final_Version_.pdf
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Going Live
HMRC have announced that the scheme will be open on 13 May with the first claims being paid into bank accounts on 25 May or within six working days of making a claim if later.
HMRC have already started to contact individuals that they believe may be entitled to claim.
It is possible to check your eligibility by using HMRC’s online checker. You will need your Unique Tax Reference (UTR) Number and National Insurance Number. Once you have checked your eligibility you will be given a date as to when you should make your claim.
Those who are eligible will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to three months’ profits), paid in a single instalment.
Full details of the scheme can be found here.