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No doubt as you read this, you’re feeling worried. Chances are you’re socially distancing and doing your bit to help the UK counter the alarming effects of Covid-19. I share your concerns. I’m worried about my family, my colleagues and friends, and my clients. 

It’s time for us all to step up, and all do what we need to combat the virus. For concerned clients, you need help; trustworthy, professional and dedicated people on your side. Let me assure you that I’m committing my Manchester based team to support your business to get through this crisis using as much of my time and knowledge as is required.

In the first instance, let’s have a quick review of some of the critical legislative changes you may need to be aware of to help you protect your business and from which we can start our work.

Employee Retention Scheme

While all the current support on offer from the Exchequer is remarkable, this is the most extraordinary. Never has such a move been made in war or peacetime. In a landmark intervention to prevent mass job losses, the government has committed to pay 80% of the wages of employees at risk of redundancy or being laid off up to a maximum of £2500 pm. Any PAYE employee of a limited company can apply via HMRC.  

While there are more details to come, a visit to the gov.uk online portal is where to start

Support for the self-employed/sole traders and partners is less generous. Although unprecedented, these workers will only be eligible to claim universal credit at the same rate of SSP rated at £95.85 weekly from April 2020. 

Apply for Universal Credit at www.universal-credit.service.uk. There may be more on this particular area over the coming days. 

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

The government has committed to back bank loans to small businesses from the 40+ accredited lenders and partners of the British Business Bank. Many are high street banks and building societies. 

The government will guarantee the first 80% of the loan. The liability for the remaining 20% will remain with the business. The maximum facility is £5m. The monies will be made available as quickly as possible with no need for security or personal guarantors for loans of up to £250K. The government will pay the first 12 months interest and fees. 

The intention is to help businesses to bolster cash flows and bridge reductions in revenues. Obviously, this is still a loan that will need to be paid back over six years and remember they will bring an element of drag to future post-Covid-19 cash flows. To apply initially consult www.british-business-bank.co.uk

Small Business Grants

In the March 20 budget, the initial Coronavirus support grant was set at £3k. This has now increased to £10k. It means any business operating from premises who qualified for 100% rates relief can apply for £10k grant to help with overhead costs.

Hospitality Business Grants Of £25,000

Small businesses in the hospitality, leisure and nursery industries will receive a 12-month business rates holiday. Additionally, those occupying properties with a rateable value between £15 – £51K are eligible for a grant of up to £25k. 

For this and the Small Business Grant and how they work go to the website of your local authority to find out more about the arrangements in place.

HMRC – Time to Pay

HMRC is taking a supportive line on taxation delays and deferrals. Income tax due in July will be deferred until January 2021. VAT payments for March will be delayed until June 2020.  

For further clarity, you may need to speak to HMRC but do note the lines will be understandably busy. It may be useful to cancel any automated payments such as direct debits or standing orders so you don’t ‘accidentally’ pay as you won’t get this back!

Other Support/Info’

SSP Changes

Sick pay will now be payable from day one of a notified illness or related to the need to self-isolate. Alas, it’s hardly a trove of riches with statutory sick pay amounting to a mere £94.25 per week for a maximum of 28 weeks. Again, how this will be administered is expected soon but is likely to be via the PAYE system.

Mortgage Holidays

Homeowning clients can take a 3-month mortgage holiday. There is also provision currently for renters with legislation preventing landlords from evicting tenants due to rent arrears.

IR35 Delayed

The controversial and worrying amendments to IR35 will not now be implemented until April 2021 offering much-needed relief to contractors. 

Interruption Insurance

One must-do check is to see if your business insurance has an interruption provision. If so, insurers have committed to paying without onerous procedures.

Interest Rates

The Bank of England has slashed interest rates to a historic low of 0.1%. As dramatic as that looks, it comes off the back of very low rates, so the impact may only be marginal. At the same time, The Bank has bought £200bn of government bonds as we see the return of Quantitative Easing. 

The impact is hard to estimate given the fluid nature of the virus, but we can reasonably expect The Bank to make further moves as they see fit.

Enso, Here To Help

That’s a lot of information to absorb, I know. What you can count on is my support to get your business through this challenging time and set you fair to rebuild when the crisis is over. Please call:

  • If you need advice on how to cut business costs and expenses
  • Want to look for ways to pivot your business to support the Coronavirus effort or change your business model
  • Want to develop your cash flow in the face of difficult trading. 
  • Need proof of payroll required to access the Employee Retention Scheme or Universal Credit Applications
  • Need help and guidance with CBILS loans especially in compiling the necessary documents and background information to make expedient applications
  • Want me to speak with HMRC on your behalf regarding tax, VAT, SSP or any other revenue-related issue. 

We’re here to help. You’ve trusted Enso with your business in better times, and we’ll step up to help you through these difficult circumstances.

The information above is subject to change, and further measures may be announced over the coming days. Keep coming back to the blog, and I’ll add more detail as it’s issued. I’ll also look to offer some hints and tips to help you through the next few difficult months.   

Finally, look after yourselves and do what’s right to protect everyone. That’s the only way we’ll put this behind us as soon as possible.

Call me and my team today on 07792 686479 or email me at adam@meetenso.co.uk and let’s talk about how we can help. We’re in this together, and we’ll get through it together.

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