What financial help is available to SMEs hit by coronavirus?

If you’re a business owner struggling with the impact of the coronavirus crisis, there is financial help at hand. Here is a run down of the financial support currently offered by the UK government.

What financial help is available for SMEs affected by coronavirus?

The government has announced a £30 billion package of measures to help business owners, including grants, loans and help with sick pay.

Help with sick pay

The government has announced that statutory sick pay (SSP) will now be payable from day one of absences, instead of day four, for anyone taking time of because of coronavirus.

To help businesses who might struggle to pay staff during this period, business owners can claim up to 14 days’ worth of SSP  payments.

This benefit is available to all businesses that employed fewer than 250 people on February 28, 2020.

To claim this benefit, make sure you keep a record of staff absences due to coronavirus, remembering that your employees don’t need to provide you with a note from their GP.

Help with wages

To try and avert an unemployment crisis, the government will pay grants to cover 80% of employees’ wages, up to a total of £2,500 per month. The scheme will be live from April, with no limit on the funding available to pay wages.

Help with business rates

The government has announced that business rates will be deferred for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Any businesses eligible for discounted rates during the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by the local authority.

Help with tax and VAT

If the coronavirus crisis means your business is having trouble paying any tax it owes, ask about Time to Pay by calling the HMRC COVID-19 helpline on 0800 0159 559 to talk about support.

A VAT deferral scheme is also in place so no business have to pay VAT from now until end of June.

Help if your business has to close

Business interruption insurance is a type of cover designed to protect against any losses if your business has to close unexpectedly. The trouble is, the cover on offer isn’t quite as comprehensive as expected, and so the government has set up a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) for borrowing of up to £5 million through the British Business Bank.

To be eligible, your business must meet the following conditions:

  • It must have been trading for at least two years.
  • It must be able to show maintainable turnover during the current crisis.
  • It must not have any adverse credit or CCJs.
  • It must be a UK-based SME with annual turnover of up to £45 million.
  • It must generate more than 50% of its turnover from trading activity.
  • Your CBILS-backed facility will be used to support primarily trading in the UK.
  • You wish to borrow up to a maximum of £5m. (Finance terms are to six years for term loans and asset finance. For overdrafts and invoice finance facilities, terms will be up to three years).

How a conference call can help your business

If you have employees working from home, the simplest way to get everyone together to get business done is to get everyone together on a conference call. Go to https://www.conferencecall.co.uk/conference-call to find out how you can get up to 100 people on a single call, from any country across the world.

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