COVID–19 Questions & Answers

Financial Support For Businesses

Job Protection Scheme

The current scheme is for four months from 1 March, 2020. The Government has advised it may be extended if necessary.

The scheme is open to all entities - i.e. business, charities recruitment agencies, public authorities, etc. - with a UK Payroll scheme, provided such scheme was created and started prior to 19 March, 2020. The scheme is also open to individual employers who use PAYE for their employees and a real time information (RTI) submission was notified prior to 19 March, 2020.
When a company is in administration an administrator is able to access the scheme provided there is a reasonable likelihood of the employees being rehired. As to “a reasonable likelihood of being rehired”, the Government has suggested a future sale of the business by way of an example.

To be eligible for the grant, employers must provide their employees with written confirmation that they have been furloughed. Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to the employment contract by agreement. When deciding which employees to furlough, equality and discrimination laws apply in the usual way. If an employer wishes to furlough a number of their employees it may be necessary to engage in collective consultation. Employers should obtain employment law advice where they are unsure.

The scheme is available for all contracted employees, including part-time, agency and flexible or zero hours contracts. The employee must have been on employed and on payroll prior to 19 March, 2020. Employees who were employed prior to 28 February but have subsequently ceased to be employed, can be re-employed and then furloughed.

Furloughed employees cannot undertake any work for, by or on behalf of the employer’s organisation or any linked or associated organisation.

Any employee must be furloughed for a minimum of three weeks. It is possible to place an employee on furlough more than once but each period of furlough must last for a minimum of three weeks.

Tax Deferral and Business Rates Relief

Any deferred VAT as a result of coronavirus, must be paid on or before 31 March, 2021.

At the time of writing (29 April, 2020) there is no requirement to notify HMRC that the VAT payment is being deferred.

No, currently all payments due at the end of the deferral period - currently 30 June, 2020 - are due as usual.

Time to pay arrangements which started before 20 March, 2020, should still be paid.

Yes - businesses in the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors do not need to pay business rates for the 2020/2021 tax year. Neither do nurseries - although local authority run nurseries are not eligible.

Where your property is a shop, restaurant, café, bar, pub, cinema, live music venue, assembly or leisure property - e.g. a sports club, gym or spa - or a hospitality property, like a hotel, guest house or self-catering accommodation, then you are eligible for business rate relief. Nurseries are eligible if they are not local authority run and they provide early years foundation stage education and are on Oftsted’s Early Years Register.

No action is currently required and your local authority will apply the discount to the relevant properties. You can contact your local council if you are not getting relief and believe that you are eligible.

Small and Medium Sized Businesses

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A payment made by the Government to cover the first 12 months of interest payments together with any fees applicable to relevant finance obtained under the CBILS.

The Government has published a list of 40 accredited lenders which includes all of the major clearing banks.

UK-based businesses with an annual turnover of up to £45m who would, but for the coronavirus pandemic, have a viable business proposal. You must certify that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus. The full rules, eligibility and how to apply can be found on the British Business Bank Website.

Banks, insurers, reinsurers (but not brokers), public-sector businesses, grant funded further education establishments and state-funded schools.

Coronavirus Future Fund

Coronavirus Bounce Back Scheme

UK-based businesses who were not an “undertaking in difficulty” on 31 December, 2019, and which have been negatively affected by coronavirus. If you are claiming funding via the CBILS then you are not eligible for the Coronavirus Bounce Back Scheme. However, if you have borrowed up to £50,000 under the CBILS, it is possible to transfer a CBILS loan to the Bounce Back Scheme and you will be able to arrange this direct with your lender prior to 4 November, 2020.

Support for Large Businesses

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Businesses with a turnover between £45m and £250m can access finance of up to £25m through the scheme and businesses with a turnover in excess of £250m can access up to £50m.

The accredited lenders offering the CLBILS scheme are listed on the British Business Bank website.

UK-based businesses with an annual turnover in excess of £45m who would, but for the coronavirus pandemic, have a viable business proposal according to the lender. In addition, the lender must consider that the business will be able to trade through any short to medium term difficulties. You must certify that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus. The full rules, eligibility and how to apply can be found on the British Business Bank Website.

Businesses who have received a facility under the Bank of England’s COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (see below) together with banks, insurers, (but not brokers), public-sector businesses, grant-funded further education establishments and state-funded schools.

The Bank of England’s COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

The full eligibility criteria is available on the Bank of England’s website, but broadly all those companies who make a “material contribution” to the UK’s economy are eligible to participate.

Directors’ Duties

Please note: These FAQs have been prepared for ease of reference as a summary of
the help available for businesses throughout these COVID-19 times. Nothing in this
note is to constitute legal, financial, tax or any other professional advice. Businesses
should always seek professional advice where required.
The situation around COVID-19 is fast paced and changes frequently. Every effort
has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information at the time of publication
however readers should always check the Government’s website for the most up to
date position.

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