This is a worrying and confusing time for small businesses up and down the country with business owners perhaps not clear on where they stand with obligations to employees or whether help is available to access.

Hopefully, our guide will provide some clarity on what help is out there for small businesses.

Help from the Government

The Chancellor has put together a package of measures designed to support small businesses through this difficult time and this includes advice on a Job Retention Scheme, deferring VAT and Income Tax payments and details of various grants and loan schemes, among many others.

Job Retention Scheme

All UK businesses with employees are eligible for government support in paying 80% of an employee’s wage, up to £2500 per month, initially for 3 months, for employees who have been asked to stop working but are retained on the payroll. These employees are designated as ‘furloughed workers’ and you should submit relevant information to HMRC in an application.

VAT and Income Tax

VAT payments are to be deferred for 3 months. Self-assessed Income Tax payments which would normally be paid in July are now deferred until January 2021. All UK businesses are eligible for these concessions and you don’t need to apply as this is automatic. You will have until the end of the 2020/2021 tax year to pay any accumulated liabilities.

If you have outstanding tax liabilities you could get support from HMRC’s Time to Pay service. Call them on0800 0159559.

SSP for Employees

 Small business employers, with fewer than 250 employees, will be able to claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid for absence due to the Coronavirus. 

Business Rates

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses are eligible for a business rates holiday for the 2020/2021 tax year. These businesses include café and small B & B owners, shops, music venues and others. This concession will be automatically applied to your 2020 council tax bill.

If You Don’t Pay Business Rates

Businesses which pay no business rates because of Small Business Rate Relief, Rural Rate Relief or Tapered Relief are eligible for a one-off grant of £10,000 to enable you to meet ongoing business costs.

Cash Grants for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Businesses

Cash grants of up to £25,000 per property, with a rateable value of £15,000-51,000, are available. Properties with a rateable value of up to £15,000 can claim a grant of £10,000. If you fall into the eligibility criteria for this grant you don’t have to do anything as your local authority will write to you. 

Nurseries that are occupied by providers of Ofsted’s Early Years Register and are wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage are also eligible for a cash grant.

Business Interruption Loan Scheme

UK businesses with an annual turnover of a maximum £45 million are eligible for support through the scheme which includes a payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and lender fees and will be administered through commercial lenders which are backed by the government-owned British Business Bank.

Finally, talk to your bank about help to defer payments on loans or overdrafts and to credit providers about payment holidays.

You can call the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for advice on support, on 0300 456 3565, or email at [email protected].