On 17 March 2020, the Chancellor announced the latest package of measures to support businesses.
Having already set out the first stage of our response to tackle Coronavirus in the previous week's Budget - a £30 billion package of support for people and businesses - we promised to do whatever it takes to support our economy through this crisis – and we will do whatever it takes. So, we have now announced an unprecedented package of government-backed loans and guarantees to support business.
We will make available an initial £330 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15 per cent of our GDP – so any businesses who needs access to cash to pay their rent, the salaries of employees, pay suppliers or purchase stock, will be able to either access a government-backed loan or a cash grant of up to £10,000. We will also provide tax cuts for British businesses worth nearly £20 billion.
This means standing behind businesses small and large If demand is greater than the initial £330 billion we are making available today, we will go further and provide as much capacity as required. That means any good business in financial difficulty who needs access to cash to pay their rent, the salaries of their employees, pay suppliers, or purchase stock, will be able to access a government-backed loan, on attractive terms.
If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
We have never faced an economic fight like this one but we are well prepared. We will do whatever it takes and we will get through this.
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Anthony Browne MP
package of measures to support businesses including:
- a statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
- a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
In further detail:
A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.
For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.
A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
There will be a £10,000 cash grant to our smallest businesses, delivered by local authorities. Small businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief will be contacted by their local authority - they do not need to apply. The funding will be provided to local authorities in early April. Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.
ENSURING YOUR WORKPLACE IS AS CLEAN AS POSSIBLE
It is important for businesses which remain open that the envrionment is as safe for your workforce as possible. Please find below advice on how best to prepare and ensure your office, shop or site is as clean as possible:
- cleaning an area with normal household disinfectant after someone with suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people;
- if an area can be kept closed and secure for 72 hours, wait until this time has passed for cleaning as the amount of virus living on surfaces will have reduced significantly by 72 hours;
- wherever possible, wear disposable or washing-up gloves and aprons for cleaning. These should be double-bagged, then stored securely for 72 hours then thrown away in the regular rubbish after cleaning is finished;
- using a disposable cloth, first clean hard surfaces with warm soapy water. Then disinfect these surfaces with the cleaning products you normally use. Pay particular attention to frequently touched areas and surfaces, such as bathrooms, grab-rails in corridors and stairwells and door handles;
- if an area has been heavily contaminated, such as with visible bodily fluids, from a person with coronavirus (COVID-19), consider using protection for the eyes, mouth and nose, as well as wearing gloves and an apron;
- wash hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, and after removing gloves, aprons and other protection used while cleaning.