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Coronavirus support

Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees:

The Government will pass legislation shortly to allow small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

  • This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  • Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
  • Eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home comes into force.

We will keep you fully informed of any developments on when the repayment mechanism for employers will be finalised.

Support for businesses that pay business rates

There will be a business rates retail holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to the relevant local authority. Guidance for local authorities on the business rates holiday will be published by 20 March.

We will keep you informed of these developments as and when they happen.

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

Additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR) has been announced by the Government. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.

If your business is eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, you will be contacted by your local authority – you do not need to apply.
Funding for the scheme will be provided to local authorities by government in early April. Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.

We will keep you up to date with the latest news.

Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch shortly to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.

Details will follow and we will support any clients needing assistance with obtaining this support.

Support for businesses paying tax

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time to Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559. Please contact us if you want our help here.

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COVID-19 update

As a family run business, the wellbeing of our team is and has always been paramount. Our priority right now is making sure that our team is safe and that we are able to service all of our clients as usual. We understand that this is an incredibly worrying time, and we wanted to take a moment to assure you that we’re following the advice from the Government, NHS, and World Health Organisation. Things are changing daily and weekly, but here’s a little update from us.

The office

All our team were sent home on Tuesday and by lunchtime, we were all set up and working from home.

Telephone

We are still taking phone calls as usual on our normal number and Ashleigh is able to help just the same as before. The only difference at the moment is that the person that you need to speak to will have to call you back, which in most cases is straight away.

Online

Emails and all cloud based platforms are still working as usual, so, for example, the process of uploading receipts to ReceiptBank is working as usual. Access to Xero has not been affected.

Our team

It has been fantastic to see just how resilient we are as a team, and it really does prove that as a team we can do anything. We are using Teams and WhatsApp to communicate throughout the day as well as scheduling in a team catch up every few days by video call.

Updates to help your business

At the moment, we are all obviously waiting for the daily 5pm update from the Government, and we will try to get something out as soon as possible when the updates are there. These will be posted on our social channels (Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn). In between updates, we are of course here to help guide you through this minefield as best as we can.

We hope that whilst everyone’s situation is different, you are able to focus on the positives, no matter how small, and know that this will come to an end.

Stay safe and look after one another.

Many thanks,

Caroline and Dan.

First update following Government announcements

Given the recent situation that has arisen with COVID-19, we thought it would be helpful to provide you with our first update following the Government announcements.

SSP

SSP is now payable to employees from day one if they are absent due to COVID-19 (rather than having to wait and not receive anything for the first 3 days).

Companies can reclaim SSP payments to employees for up to 2 weeks. Anything over that period will NOT be reclaimable.

We aren’t 100% sure, but we anticipate that the SSP will be reclaimed by receiving a credit against your PAYE liabilities. i.e. there’ll be no immediate cash flow benefit to this, but when PAYE becomes due, the amount payable for a period will be reduced by the SSP refund credited to your PAYE account.

Business Interruption Loans

These loans are available up to £5m.

These will be available from next week and businesses must apply through their high street bank and not with the government.

The loan is basically guaranteed by the government up to 80%. We think this will only be available to businesses who will be able to prove they have experienced losses. You won’t just be able to get a nice cheap loan!

The loan has no interest on it for the first 6 months.

Business Rates

All businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sector will pay NO business rates for the next 12 months. The local authority will deal with these over the next few weeks.

£10,000 Grant

This grant is available to ANY business that is eligible for small business rate relief (SBRR). The business must either rent a property or own a property.

You are eligible for SBRR if your business:

– Has a property with a rateable value of less than £15,000
– And, your business has only one property (generally – in some instances it is still available if you have more than one property).

You can find the business’ rateable value on the rates statement for the year.

Anyone eligible for this grant needs to do nothing; the local authority will contact the business in the coming weeks.

£25,000 Grant

This grant is available for businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors that have rateable values between £15,001 and £51,000.

Guidance on this will be provided to the local authority by 20th March so clients can contact them from next week for more information.

Information is coming out daily and we will share as much as possible as soon as it becomes available. Until then, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will help wherever we can.

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The Big Build

As most of our clients will know, we have expanded considerably in the last 2 years. We have seen the addition of several new members of staff to help us keep up with our increasing workload and growing client base. However, the building that we currently occupy simply isn’t big enough, and we are now in the process of building new, purpose built, premises in Burscough, just a few of miles down the road.

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