Please see below a summary of key reliefs and provisions announced so far….

INDIVIDUALS & SELF-EMPLOYED  

1.      Universal Credit and other benefits Self-employed may be able to claim Universal Credit if their business has temporarily closed. 

Universal Credit standard allowance – the amount you’re paid each month – increased by £1,000 a year.  The current Universal Credit standard allowance ranges between £251.77 and £498.89 depending on your age and circumstances.  You may be able to claim Universal Credit if certain conditions apply.   

Self-employed Universal Credit minimum income floor suspended for everyone affected by coronavirus.  The Universal Credit minimum income floor applies to those who’ve been self-employed for more than a year.  It’s used to work out how much Universal Credit you get on top of your earnings and is based on what you’re expected to earn rather than your actual wages in reality.   

Self-employed may also be able to claim contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).  You need to have two to three years’ worth of National Insurance contributions to be eligible.  

2.      Deferred self-assessment income tax and VAT payments Payments due in July 2020 under self-assessment pushed back to January 2021.  No need to apply, this is automatic.    VAT payments have also been delayed from now until 30th June.  No need to apply, this is automatic.   

3.      Loan, mortgage and credit card holiday
You may be entitled to loan, mortgage and credit card payment holidays, as well as having interest or fees on debts frozen.  Contact your financial provider to see what it’s offering.  

4.      Renters in social and private accommodation Tenants will be protected from eviction during the coronavirus outbreak.  

5.      Employees The introduction of a new job retention scheme will cover up to 80% of wage costs (details to be confirmed) backdated to 1 March for a period of three months or longer, if needed, for small businesses, charities and not for profit organisations. Grants due to be available to business within weeks.  Speak with your employer to understand how they will use this option to help you.   

ALL UK BUSINESSES
EMPLOYEE COSTS
1. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
Outline Reimbursement of ‘furloughed’ workers costs Reimbursement of 80% of wage costs but restricted to £2,500 per month Clarification awaited regarding exact inclusions (e.g. benefits etc) How to access support Details of reimbursement programme to be confirmed by HMRC in due course To be reported via portal currently being finalised by HMRC (details regarding employees that have been furloughed and their earnings) Requirement to designate and inform employees that they are ‘furloughed’ workers (effectively employees are still employed and on payroll, but cannot work) Changing the status of employees is subject to existing employment law (furloughing employees may be subject to negotiation depending on contents of employment contracts)  

2. Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate
Outline SSP rebate paid to employers for employees absent due to coronavirus Restricted to 2 weeks’ SSP per employee Restricted to businesses with <250 employees (as at 28.2.2020) How to access support To be confirmed – system for reimbursement in progress

TAX COSTS  
1. VAT deferral Outline Deferral of VAT payments due between 20.3.2020 and 30.6.2020 Deferred VAT will be payable by the end of March 2021 Other refunds & reclaims should still be paid as normal How to access support Automatic deferral but advisable to cancel direct debit mandates (HMRC are unlikely to have capacity or ability to prevent direct debits being taken)
2. Time to pay arrangements Outline Allows payment of tax liabilities over an agreed, deferred period Subject to agreement and dependant on circumstances of business/individual How to access support If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559 If you’re worried about a future payment, call HMRC nearer the due date

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE  
1. Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) Outline Bank loans and overdrafts guaranteed by the Government Restricted to 80% guarantee on loans & overdrafts of up to £5m Restricted to businesses with turnover <£45m Requirement to meet British Business Bank eligibility criteria (see https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/our-partners/) How to access support Available through the British Business Bank’s 40+ accredited lenders, which are listed on the British Business Bank website.  In the first instance, businesses should approach their own provider – ideally via the lender’s website.   They may also consider approaching other lenders if they are unable to access the finance they need.  

PREMISES  
1. Small Business Grant Scheme Outline £10,000 cash grant Available to any business in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief or Tapered Relief How to access support Scheme should apply automatically Local authorities should confirm details directly with business in due course
2. Protection from eviction for commercial tenants Outline Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction No business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment up until 30 June How to access support Scheme should apply automatically when the Coronavirus Bill receives Royal Assent  

RETAIL, LEISURE & HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
1. Business Rates Holiday Outline Business rates holiday for the 2020/21 tax year for all businesses in the sector How to access support Relief should be automatic Local authorities should reissue rates bills in April 2020

2. Cash grant scheme
Outline
– £10,000 cash grant for premises with rateable value < £15,000 or
– £25,000 cash grant for premises with rateable value < £15,001 – £50,000

How to access support:
– Scheme should apply automatically
– Local authorities should confirm details directly with business in due course

About Eirlys Jones

Eirlys is the Head of Operations at North Wales Tourism and can be contacted at eirlys.jones@nwt.co.uk or connect with her on LinkedIn you can also follow her on Twitter @EirlysJones5