Apart from the obvious fears surrounding the public's health and welfare, the Coronavirus outbreak is also going to have a huge impact on businesses.
The Chancellor announced in the Budget a few measures to be introduced to help businesses during the outbreak.
Businesses which are currently eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief will be provided with a one-off grant of £3,000 to help meet their ongoing business costs.
Funded by the government, these grants will be administrated by local authorities. Details of how to apply have not yet been released, but I will keep an eye on this, and update when the information is available.
The Business Rates discount for retailers will be increased to 100% for one year, and will be expanded to include the leisure and hospitality sectors. The planned discount for pubs will increase to £5,000.
- Businesses that already receive the retail discount in 2019/20 will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.
- Businesses eligible for the newly expanded retail discount and new pub discount may need to apply to their local authority to receive the discount.
A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will launch in the next few weeks to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.
Small and medium sized businesses and employers will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence of their employees due to COVID-19.
- Up to 2 weeks SSP can be claimed per employee who has been off work due to COVID-19.
- SSP will be available to those who are self isolating in line with the Government advice, and will start on day 1 of their absence, rather than day 4.
- Fit notes from the Doctor will not be required, these can be obtained from the NHS 111 service.
The Government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds of SSP.
For further information or advice on measures to help your business during the Coronavirus please contact Carolyn Mouat, Tel: 01670 772572.