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Coronavirus: latest updates for businesses and individuals

The UK Government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19) includes measures to protect businesses and individuals from its economic impact.

In response to the pandemic, we’ve developed a range of services that will help you navigate the impact of coronavirus on businesses. With the increasing financial pressure on HMRC, we expect to see greater numbers of HMRC enquiries and we would therefore strongly recommend that you take out tax fee protection cover. As a client of BKL we can offer you a tax fee protection service. Please speak with your BKL contact who will be able to provide you with a quote for this service.

We’ve also created a dedicated coronavirus hub with guidance, information on the government’s support schemes and how to respond to coronavirus.

On this page you will find a summary of key details announced by the government to support businesses and individuals. We’ve also developed a bespoke form to claim for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Updated: 1 December

Support for businesses

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – UPDATED 15 NOVEMBER

Government grants for up to 80% of salary of employees who would otherwise be laid off and are furloughed up to £2,500 per employee, backdated to 1 March. In addition, the grant covered employer National Insurance Contributions (NIC) and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions until 31 July 2020.

– CJRS closed to new entrants from 30 June, so to comply with the minimum three-week furlough rule new entrants must have been furloughed by 10 June. Employees on statutory maternity/paternity leave and military reservists who return to work after 10 June may still be furloughed, but only if they work for an employer who has previously furloughed employees.

– From July the number of employees an employer can claim for in a claim period, which cannot straddle month ends, cannot exceed the maximum number claimed for in an earlier claim period, so if some employees have alternated between working and being furloughed they should all be furloughed at some point in a June claim.

– From July, CJRS has allowed flexible part-time working. CJRS will pay employee costs (up to the threshold) for the time they are furloughed, while employers will pay employees for the time they are working.

– In July, CJRS continued to pay 80% of wages up to £2,500 per month plus employer NIC and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions for the hours employees don’t work.

– In August, CJRS paid 80% of wages up to £2,500 for the hours employees don’t work. Employers were required to pay employer NIC and pension contributions.

– In September, CJRS paid 70% of wages up to £2,187.50 for the hours employees don’t work. Employers were required to pay a minimum of 10% of wages for the hours employees don’t work plus employer NIC and pension contributions.

– In October, CJRS paid 60% of wages up to £1,875 for the hours employees don’t work. Employers were required to pay a minimum of 20% of wages for the hours employees don’t work plus employer NIC and pension contributions.

– In November, CJRS paid 80% of wages up to £2,500 for the hours employees don’t work. Employers were required to pay employer NIC and pension contributions.

For periods ending on or before 31 October 2020, the last date that employers can submit or change claims was 30 November 2020.

Statutory redundancy payments to furloughed employees who are made redundant are to be based on normal wage rather than on a reduced furlough rate.

Update 5 November: CJRS has been extended to 31 March 2021. The scheme will continue to pay 80% of wages up to £2,500 for the hours employees don’t work. Employees did not need to have been previously furloughed to be eligible for the scheme from 1 November, and the scheme remains open in respect of flexi-furloughed employees. Employees are eligible if the RTI covering their payroll was submitted before 31 October.

Update 13 November: Claims for furlough days in November 2020 must be submitted by 14 December 2020.

Update 15 November: For claims from December onwards, HMRC will publish employer names and an indication of the value of the claim.

Office holders (including directors), salaried members of LLPs and agency workers are eligible for the scheme as long as they are properly furloughed and do not for example undertake any revenue generating function during their period of furlough. This also applies to salaried individuals who are directors of their own personal service company. The furloughing should be ratified by formal decision of the board/LLP.

Visit our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme page for more information, including details of our CJRS claim form which can help you in preparing your claims.

Administrator: HMRC. Access the scheme here.

Payments to be made in six working days after claims submitted on a first-come first-served basis.

How we can help:

Our specialists in HR and employment can help you and your team. Visit our support for businesses page for further information.

Job Support Scheme (JSS) – Open

JSS was due to start on 1 November 2020 and run for six months. Following the extension of CJRS, JSS is now expected to start on 1 April 2021 after CJRS finishes, unless plans change.

Assuming that JSS goes ahead as per the details initially announced:

JSS is open to all employers – businesses who did not use CJRS will still be able to use JSS.

JSS will start the day after CJRS finishes and run for six months. It is open to all employers – businesses who did not use CJRS will still be able to use JSS.

Employees will need to work a minimum of 20% of their usual hours. For every hour not worked the government will pay 61.67% of the employee’s usual pay, capped at £1,541.75 per month. The employer will pay 5% of the employee’s usual pay for the hours not worked up to a maximum of £125 per month. This means employees will receive at least 73% of their pay, where they earn £3,125 a month or less.

The employer will be reimbursed in arrears for the government contribution. The employee must not be on a redundancy notice.

JSS is open to all employers with a UK bank account and a UK PAYE scheme. All SMEs will be eligible; large businesses (i.e. businesses with more than 250 employees) will be required to demonstrate that their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus, by demonstrating turnover in a 3 month period ending between 31 August and 7 November (these dates may change) has remained equal or has decreased compared to the previous year, and will be restricted from making capital distributions to shareholders.

Our Job Support Scheme page

Administrator: HMRC

Job Support Scheme – Closed

The JSS has been expanded to support businesses required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions.  The government will pay two thirds of each employee’s salary, up to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month.

The scheme will commence alongside JSS Open.

Employers will be reimbursed in arrears, and are responsible for any employer’s NIC and pension contributions due on these payments.

Our Job Support Scheme page

Administrator: HMRC

National Restrictions Support Grants – UPDATED 12 NOVEMBER

Businesses in England that are mandated to close by the government during the national lockdown are able to claim additional grants. Businesses required to close during the current national lockdown include non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses.

For the current lockdown from 5 November to 2 December the grant will be:

– £1,334 for businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of less than £15,000

– £2,000 for businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of less than £51,000 or occupying a property or part of a property with annual rent or mortgage payments of less than £51,000

– £3,000 for businesses occupying larger properties

Update 12 November: Businesses that operate primarily as in-person venues, but which have been forced to close those services and provide a takeaway-only service instead (such as restaurants) may also be eligible for the grant. Businesses which have chosen to close, but have not been required to close as part of national restrictions, will not be eligible.

Administrator: Local authorities

Local Restrictions Support Grants (Open) – (LRSG (Open)) – NEW SECTION 12 NOVEMBER

Businesses in England that have not had to close but which have been severely impacted due to local restrictions in High or Very High alert level areas (“Tier 2” and “Tier 3” areas) may be able to claim discretionary grants. Businesses must have been established before local restrictions were introduced to be eligible.

The grant will be:

– £934 per 28 day period for businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of less than £15,000

– £1,400 per 28 day period for businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000

– £2,100 per 28 days period for businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of greater than £51,000

Businesses in any area which has been under enhanced restrictions can backdate their grants to August.

Businesses which have been forced to close may instead be eligible for LRSG (Closed).

Administrator: Local authorities

Local Restrictions Support Grants (Closed) - (LRSG (Closed)) – NEW SECTION 12 NOVEMBER

Businesses in England that were open but were then required to close due to local restrictions in Very High alert level areas (“Tier 3” areas) may be able to claim grants.

To be eligible, businesses must be required to close for at least 14 days and must not be subject to national restrictions since 23 March (such as nightclubs) – the latter are covered by alternative grants as outlined below. Businesses that operate primarily as in-person venues, but which have been forced to close those services and provide a takeaway-only service instead (such as restaurants) may also be eligible for the grant.

The grant will be :

– £667 per 14 day period for businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of less than £15,000

– £1,000 per 14 day period for businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000

– £1,500 per 14 day period for businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of greater than £51,000

Businesses such as nightclubs which have been required to remain closed due to national restrictions since 23 March, and have not reopened as another type of business, are now able to claim grants from 1 November. The grant will be:

– £667 per 14 day period for businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of less than £15,000

– £1,000 per 14 day period for businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000

– £1,500 per 14 day period for businesses occupying a property with a rateable value of greater than £51,000

Administrator: Local authorities

Christmas grant for 'wet-led pubs' – NEW SECTION 1 DECEMBER 2020

Pubs in Tiers 2 and 3 that predominantly serve alcohol rather than food can apply for a one-off £1,000 grant in lieu of Christmas trade.  This is in addition to the LRSG (Closed).

Administrator: Local authorities

Job Retention Bonus (JRB) – UPDATED 5 NOVEMBER

There will be a one-off taxable payment of £1,000 to UK employers for every employee furloughed under CJRS who remains continuously employed from the end of the claim period of the last CJRS claim in respect of each employee until 31 January 2021.  Employers may keep the JRB – it is not designed to be passed on to employees.

Update 5 November: Now that CJRS has been extended to March 2021, JRB will now not be paid in February 2021. The government said they will redeploy a retention incentive at the appropriate time.

Employers who have repaid CJRS grant amounts will be ineligible for the JRB.

Administrator: HMRC

Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) – UPDATED 20 NOVEMBER

Term loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 for up to six years, capped at 25% of turnover. No repayments in first 12 months. Government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there will be no fees or interest in the first 12 months. Government has set out a rate of interest at 2.5% for the remaining period of the loan.

The application consists of a simple form and loans can be made within two days of application. To be eligible, businesses must not have been ‘undertakings in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019, which for businesses more than 3 years old means accumulated losses cannot exceed 50% of subscribed share capital. Businesses in difficulty may still be eligible subject to State Aid rules.

Applications must be made before 31 January 2021.

Under the new Pay as you Grow options (outlined below), BBLS borrowers will all be offered the choice of more time and greater flexibility for their repayments.

Update 11 November: BBLS lenders can now offer businesses a ‘top-up’ to their existing Bounce Back Loan if they originally borrowed less than the maximum amount available to them.

Administrator: There are currently 29 accredited lenders, who are administered by the British Business Bank.

We have more information on the Bounce Back Loan scheme here.

Pay as You Grow – NEW SECTION 24 SEPTEMBER

The government will give all businesses that borrowed under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme the option to repay their loan over a period of up to ten years.

UK businesses will also have the option to move temporarily to interest-only payments for periods of up to six months (an option which they can use up to three times), or to pause their repayments entirely for up to six months (an option they can use once and only after having made six payments).

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) – UPDATED 2 NOVEMBER

Government provides 80% guarantee against debt finance and will cover fees and the first 12 months’ interest payments for facilities from £50,001 up to £5m. Loans available for up to 6 years

Insufficient security is no longer a condition to access the scheme. Lenders will not take personal guarantees for facilities below £250,000. For facilities above £250,000 personal guarantees may still be required, at a lender’s discretion, but

(i) they exclude the Principal Private Residence (PPR); and

(ii) recoveries under these are capped at a maximum of 20% of the outstanding balance of the facility after the proceeds of business assets have been applied.

Companies claiming R&D tax credits
The CBILS is a so-called Notified State Aid, that is an EU approved Government subsidy, as are Research & Development (R&D) tax credits. A company cannot have two Notified State Aids for the same project and therefore companies already in receipt of R&D tax credits may be restricted from claiming loan scheme support as well (and vice versa). Please contact us if you have any concerns on this matter.

It should also be noted that a company can only claim an R&D tax credit if its last set of statutory accounts are prepared on a going concern basis. As a statutory requirement, HMRC have indicated that they have little discretion here, so careful consideration should be given to any accounts disclosures signed off in the current crisis.

Borrowing proposals must be viable were it not for COVID-19. Businesses with less than 50 employees and turnover/balance sheet total of less than £9 million are not ‘undertakings in difficulty’ unless they are subject to insolvency procedures or in receipt of rescue aid. Businesses with more than 50 employees or more than £9 million turnover or balance sheet total will be subject to the ‘undertaking in difficulty’ tests set out by the European Union which include that accumulated losses at 31 December 2019 cannot exceed 50% of subscribed share capital, though these rules do not apply to businesses less than three years old. For larger businesses the EBITDA/interest ratio must be more than 1.0 and the debt/equity ratio less than 7.5.

The EU has relaxed its State Aid rules so that businesses with fewer than 50 employees and turnover less than £9 million will be exempt from elements of the ‘undertaking in difficulty’ test.

Under the Winter Economy Plan, the government intends to allow CBILS lenders to extend the term of a loan up to ten years.

Update, 2 November: Applications for new CBILS remain open till 31 January 2021.

Administrator: British Business Bank via 117 participating providers
UK businesses with turnover up to £45m eligible

How we can help:

Based on our experience, our conversations with businesses and banks, and the economic challenges presented by coronavirus make creating or revising financial forecasts even more crucial. Our services include:

– Creating fully integrated budgets incorporating profit & loss, balance sheet and cashflow statements

– Developing flexible forecasts allowing users to sensitise by amending assumptions

– Generating weekly or monthly cashflow forecasts to see businesses through the coronavirus pandemic

– Critiquing existing forecasts

– Assisting you in compiling a business plan to support your fundraising efforts

Visit our support for businesses page for further information.

Our assessment of CBILS’ first month is here.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) – UPDATED 2 NOVEMBER

Government provides 80% guarantee against debt finance facilities. UK businesses with turnover over £45m eligible.

Facilities available for between 3 months and 3 years. Facilities limited to £25m for businesses with turnover from £45m to £250m, and limited to £200m for businesses with turnover above £250m. Lenders will not take personal guarantees for facilities below £250,000. For facilities above £250,000 recoveries on personal guarantees cannot exceed 20% of losses after all other recoveries have been applied.

From Tuesday 26 May, the maximum loan size available under CLBILS was increased from £50m to £200m.

Companies borrowing more than £50m through CLBILS will be subject to restrictions on dividend payments, senior pay and share buybacks during the period of the loan, including a ban on dividend payments and cash bonuses, except where they were previously agreed.

Administrator: British Business Bank via participating providers
Scheme opened on Monday 20 April. There are currently 27 lenders offering CLBILS loans.

Update, 2 November: applications must be made before 31 January 2021.

Time To Pay

Case-by-case arrangements for businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, to defer their tax liabilities under a payment plan to be agreed with HMRC. This potentially applies to all forms of taxation due to HMRC.

HMRC’s policy is to offset any subsequent R&D tax credit claims against amounts deferred under a Time to Pay arrangement. Thus, irrespective of any agreed payment plan, the outstanding tax liabilities due to HMRC will be offset in full before repayment of the balance of the R&D tax credit is made.

Administrator: HMRC
Dedicated HMRC helpline is 0800 0159 559
More details are available on the government page If you cannot pay your tax bill on time.

VAT – UPDATED 20 NOVEMBER

The quarterly VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June will be deferred until 31 March 2021. VAT returns should still be filed on time.

No application needed, though Direct Debits may need to be cancelled. Where Direct Debits were not cancelled, firms may be able to obtain a refund. The quickest way is to submit a Direct Debit Indemnity Claim to the bank. Alternatively, taxpayers can request repayments from HMRC.

The deferral scheme ended on 30 June and any payments due after that date should be made on time (subject to any time to pay arrangements agreed in advance with HMRC). Cancelled direct debits should be set-up again in enough time to allow HMRC to take payment.

Under the ‘New Payment Scheme’ announced in the Winter Economy Plan, businesses which deferred VAT that was due in March to June 2020 till March 2021 will now be able to choose to pay via 11 equal interest-free instalments over the financial year 2021/22. All businesses which took advantage of the VAT deferral can use the New Payment Scheme. Businesses will need to opt in, but all are eligible. HMRC will put in place an opt-in process in early 2021.

Update 20 November: Eligible businesses will have to opt in themselves to the payment scheme using a Government Gateway account. Agents will be unable to opt in for them.

There will be a cut in the VAT rate from 20% to 5% for the hospitality and tourism sectors from 15 July 2020 until 31 March 2021 (following an extension under the Winter Economy Plan).

This reduced rate will apply to supplies of food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, pubs and cafés, as well as hot takeaway food. In addition, the 5% rate will apply to accommodation bookings and leisure attractions such as theme parks and cinemas.

Administrator: Automatic

If you are notifying HMRC of a decision to opt to tax land and buildings, the time limit has been temporarily extended from 30 days to 90 days from the date the decision to opt was made. This applies to decisions made between 15 February and 31 October 2020.

From 1 May 2020, HMRC also introduced VAT zero rating for:

– E-publications: brought forward from 1 December.

Personal protective equipment: temporary; for supplies of PPE made between 1 May 2020 and 31 October 2020.

The Construction Services Domestic Reverse Charge will be delayed from 1 October 2020 until 1 March 2021 due to the impact of the coronavirus on the construction sector. We have more information here.

Protection from eviction

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent until 30 September protected from eviction. However, this is not a rental holiday. In September, the protection for businesses from eviction has been extended till the end of 2020.

Statutory demands and winding up petitions issued to commercial tenants are to be temporarily voided until 30 September. Changes will also be made to prevent landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery unless they are owed 189 days of unpaid rent.

Administrator: Automatic

Business rates retail discount

Increased to 100% for the next 12 months and extended to leisure & hospitality sectors

Administrator: Automatic from Local Authorities via (reissued) council tax bill

Small Business Grant Fund

Grant of £10,000 per property to businesses if rateable value of commercial property is under £15,000. This grant is subject to tax.

Administrator: Automatic from Local Authorities
Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has published guidance for local authorities.

Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund (LADGF)

Councils have been given additional funds to make grants available to businesses who would not otherwise qualify such as businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties and bed & breakfasts. The grants are for £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000 at the council’s discretion.

As of 26 May, businesses who are eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) or the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) are now eligible to apply for the LADGF scheme as well.

We have more details available here.

Administrator: Automatic from Local Authorities
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has published guidance for local authorities.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

£25,000 grants per property to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from premises with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000. This grant is subject to tax.

Administrator: Automatic from Local authorities Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has published guidance for local authorities

Small Business Recovery Grants

£20 million funding has been made available to offer grants for between £1,000 and £5,000 to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) to help them recover from the effects of coronavirus.  The grants will provide access to new technology and other equipment, as well as professional legal, financial or other advice to help them get back on track.

Administrator: Growth Hubs

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

Payable from Day 1 for eligible individuals diagnosed with coronavirus or those unable to work because of self-isolation
More information about SSP for affected employees

Administrator: Employers

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

A new online service has been launched for small and medium-sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees. This scheme will allow businesses with fewer than 250 employees to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.

Further details with a link to making claims are here.

Administrator: HMRC

Extension for filing accounts

Businesses now receive an automatic extension for filing accounts, confirmation statements and certain other filings at Companies House if the filing deadline falls between 27 June 2020 and 5 April 2021.  For accounts the filing deadline is generally extended by 3 months.  Companies who previously applied for an extension do not receive a further extension.

Administrator: Companies House

Suspension of wrongful trading provisions

There will be a temporary suspension of the wrongful trading provisions, applied retrospectively from 1 March 2020, meaning the threat of personal liability against company directors will be removed during the lockdown. The suspension requires a change of legislation and Parliament is currently in recess until at least 21 April. The idea is to reassure directors that the difficult decisions they have to make about the future viability of their business will not have to be unduly influenced by the exceptional circumstances which are entirely beyond their control. Our view is that directors should remain cautious until the new legislation is in place.

Administrator: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Trade credit insurance guarantee

Businesses with supply chains which rely on trade credit insurance and who are experiencing difficulties maintaining cover due to Coronavirus will get support from the government. Due to Coronavirus businesses risk having credit insurance withdrawn, or premiums increasing to unaffordable levels. To prevent this from happening, the government will temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions currently supported by trade credit insurance. The guarantee will be delivered through a temporary reinsurance agreement with insurers currently operating in the market, provisionally until the end of 2020.

As of June, the government has provided a £10 billion guarantee to re-insurers for nine months backdated to 1 April.

Administrator: UK Government

The guarantees will cover trading by domestic firms and exporting firms and the intent is for agreements to be in place with insurers by end of May.

Future Fund – UPDATED 4 NOVEMBER

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on 20 April he is to establish a new Future Fund to support the UK’s innovative businesses currently affected by COVID-19. These businesses have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as CBILS, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit, and typically rely on equity investment.

The scheme will deliver an initial commitment of £250m of new government funding which must be matched by private investors. Eligible business must have raised £250,000 privately in the last five years.

The fund will provide convertible loans between £125k and £5m on a matched basis. The loan will convert to equity if not repaid before the next qualifying funding round, a sale or an IPO, at a 20% discount rate. The interest rate on the loan will be at least 8%.

Companies who have participated in highly selective accelerator programmes are among those eligible, even if their parent company is outside the UK, though they must still meet the ‘substantive economic presence’ tests (that half or more employees are UK-based and/or half or more revenues are from UK sales).

Further details are available here.

Administrator: British Business Bank

Applications opened on 20 May and must be made before 31 January 2021.

Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) – UPDATED 2 NOVEMBER

Larger business ‘making a material contribution to the UK economy’ can finance working capital by selling commercial paper maturing in 1 week to 12 months. Businesses do not need to have previously issued commercial paper. Businesses must be in ‘sound financial health’, evidenced by an actual appropriate credit rating.

CCFF participants that wish to borrow money beyond 12 months from Tuesday 19 May are subject to restrictions on dividend payments, senior pay and share buybacks during the period of the loan, including a ban on dividend payments and cash bonuses, except where they were previously agreed.

Businesses that have drawn under the CCFF are now able to repay their drawings early if they choose to do so.

The CCFF will remain open until 23 March 2021. New borrowers must apply before 31 January 2021.

Administrator: Bank of England via participating banks

Further details available on the Bank of England website.

Sustainable Innovation Fund

A new £200m fund has been launched to provide financial support to businesses to keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive. Aimed at new tech and R&D intensive businesses, funding could go towards developing new technologies focused on making homes and offices more energy-efficient to cut bills, creating ground-breaking medical technologies to treat infections, or reducing the carbon footprint of public transport.

In a move to support more ‘climate-positive’ behaviours, businesses could also make use of the fund to develop smart sustainability-focused projects – from apps encouraging people to cut down their food waste to sustainable biodegradable packaging.

Administrator: Innovate UK

If your business is is a small or medium sized enterprise that’s undertaking R&D that results in a scientific or technological advance or clarification of an area of scientific or technological uncertainty, you could be eligible for R&D tax credits. We have more information here.

Technology challenges

Funding of up to £25,000 available to technology companies who can find digital ways to support people staying at home, e.g. providing remote social care, boosting volunteer sector, improving mental health support.

Fast Start Competition: Grants of up to £50,000 also available to technology and research-focussed businesses to develop new ways of working and help build resilience in industries such as delivery services, food manufacturing, retail and transport.

As of 20 May, the funding available has been doubled to £40m.

Administrators: NHS TechForce19, Innovate UK

Apprentices, trainees and work placements

A new grant of £2,000 will be made available to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021.

Employers who provide trainees with work experience will be awarded a further £1,000 per trainee.

Under the Kickstart Scheme which launched on 2 September, £2bn has been allocated to fund 6-month work placements for people aged 16-24 and deemed at risk of long-term unemployment. Funding will cover 100% of National Minimum Wage for 25 hours per week plus associated National Insurance Contributions and automatic pension enrolment contributions.

Administrator: UK Government

Business rates holiday for nursery business

Business rates holiday for 2020/2021 tax year for properties rented by Early Years nurseries

Administrator: Automatic from Local Authorities via (reissued) council tax bill

Dairy Hardship Fund

Dairy farmers will be entitled to grants of up to £10,000 to cover 70% of their lost income during April and May. More details will be issued in due course.

Administrator: Dairy UK and Defra

Deferral of air navigation charges

Airlines will be able to defer the payment of charges for air navigation services in UK and European airspace for the months of February 2020 to May 2020 for up to 14 months.

Administrator: EUROCONTROL

Support for individuals

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and Grant Extension – UPDATED 25 NOVEMBER

Grants to self-employed individuals and partners in partnership of 80% of their historic profits capped at £2,500 per month. Income must be negatively impacted by coronavirus. Only applicable if trading profits are less than £50,000 per annum and more than half of total income comes from self-employment. Eligible individuals must have completed a 2018/19 tax return. Applications for the grant closed on 13 July.

It is possible to ask for a review of both the taxpayer’s eligibility status and the award amount.

Eligible individuals can claim a second taxable grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits capped at £6,570 in total. This will be made as a single payment. Applications opened on 17 August.

Individuals will need to confirm their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus on or after 14 July. Individuals do not need to have claimed for the first grant to be eligible for the second and final grant.

You can use this government portal to ask HMRC to verify you had a new child which affected your SEISS eligibility.

The SEISS Grant Extension, announced as part of the Winter Economy Plan, will be limited to self-employed individuals who are currently eligible for SEISS (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants). The scheme will last for 6 months, from November 2020 to April 2021.

The extension will be in the form of two taxable grants.

Update 5 November: The first grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January. This initial grant will cover 80% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.

The second grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February until the end of April. The government will review the level of the second grant and set this in due course.

Update 25 November: Eligibility for the November-April grants is restricted to businesses that are actively continuing to trade but are facing reduced demand due to coronavirus, or to businesses that have been trading but are temporarily unable ty do so due to coronavirus. The portal for the November-January grant is open from 30 November.

More information about the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

Administrator: HMRC

Self-employed individuals can check their eligibility here. HMRC calculate the grant themselves – the application is to supply bank account details. Payments to be made in 6 working days after applications submitted.

Mortgage holiday – UPDATED 6 NOVEMBER

Mortgage borrowers can apply for a payment holiday. Both residential and buy-to-let mortgages are eligible. Interest will continue to be charged on the amount they owe and didn’t pay.

As of 2 June, customers still experiencing payment difficulties can request a full or part payment holiday. Customers yet to apply for a payment holiday were given until 31 October to do so. The current ban on lender repossessions of homes was extended to 31 October.

As announced by the government on 31 October, the end date for mortgage payment holidays has been postponed. Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file.

Update 6 November: The FCA has proposed that borrowers be eligible for two mortgage payment holidays of up to 6 months in total. Borrowers who have taken one 3 month holiday will therefore be entitled to another one.

Administrator: Direct from lender

Borrowings holiday – UPDATED 6 NOVEMBER

Temporary measures are being implemented to introduce a 3 month payment freeze for motor finance, buy-now pay-later (BNPL), rent-to-own (RTO) and pawnbroking agreements. For high-cost short term credit (including payday loans) payments will be frozen for one month with no additional interest to be charged. Freezes are intended for customers facing temporary payment difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Update 6 November: The FCA has proposed that borrowers of motor finance, BNPL, RTO and pawnbroking agreements be eligible for payment deferrals of up to 6 months in total. Borrowers who have taken one 3 month deferral will therefore be entitled to another one.

On 19 June, the FCA has proposed to extend payment freezes on credit cards, store cars and personal loans for customers in difficulty for a further 3 months to 31 October. Individuals yet to request a payment freeze can still request one till that date. A similar deadline would apply to arranged interest-free overdrafts of up to £500.

Administrator: Measures introduced by FCA (Financial Conduct Authority)

Borrowers apply direct to lenders.

Rent holiday and ban on eviction - UPDATED 6 NOVEMBER

Tenants can apply for a 3 month payment holiday. No one can be evicted from their home or have their home repossessed over the next 3 months. On 7 June, the ban on evicting renters has been extended by two months to 23 August.

Update 21 August: The ban on evicting renters has been extended by 4 weeks, taking the total ban to 6 months. In addition, landlords must provide tenants with 6 months’ notice to evict them in all but the most serious cases, until at least 31 March 2021.

Update 6 November: Evictions will not be enforced during the national lockdown until at least 11 January 2021.

Administrator: Direct from landlord

Temporary changes to the Statutory Residence Test

HMRC have stated that the Statutory Residence Test (SRT) will be amended to ensure that days spent in the UK between 1 March 2020 and 1 June 2020 by people working on COVID-19 related activities will not count towards the days counting in the SRT.

Refund of season tickets

People working at home can apply for a refund of their season tickets

Administrator: Relevant rail operators, including Transport for London (TfL)

Income tax

Income tax self-assessment payments due on 31 July 2020 can be deferred till 31 January 2021. You do not need to be self-employed to be eligible for the deferment. No penalties or interest will arise.

Taxpayers will be given more time to pay taxes due in January 2021. Taxpayers with up to £30,000 of self-assessment liabilities due will be able to use HMRC’s self-service Time to Pay facility to secure a plan to pay over an additional 12 months. This means that self-assessment liabilities due in July 2020 will not need to be paid in full until January 2022. Interest will be applied to any outstanding balance from 1 February 2021.

Administrator: The July 2020 deferral was automatic.

For the January 2021 deferral taxpayers will be able to sign up for the Time To Pay service online after filing their 2019/20 tax return.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

When a person buys a dwelling, they pay a higher rate of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) where the property is not the only dwelling that they own. This is known as the Higher Rates for Additional Dwellings (HRAD). A payment of HRAD will be refunded where the new property replaces the person’s main home and the previous main home is sold within three years of buying the new home.

As a result of coronavirus, the government has announced its intention to change the HRAD legislation, meaning that people can receive a refund where they sell their previous main residence outside the three year period. The legislation will apply where the three year period ended on or after 1 January 2020 and the previous main residence is sold after the three years.

A temporary increase to the Nil Rate Band of Residential SDLT in England and Northern Ireland, from £125,000 to £500,000, will apply from 8 July 2020 until 31 March 2021.

Administrator: HMRC

Universal Credit

Self-employed people can now access full Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay

Administrator: HMRC

Rules on carrying over annual leave relaxed

Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to coronavirus will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years

Administrator: Automatic

Cycling schemes

The Fix Your Bike Voucher, worth £50, enables people to make old bicycles roadworthy. The application portal is here.

The Cycle To Work scheme, which enables employees to buy a tax-free bike – an effective saving of between 25% and 39% – has been extended to cover e-bikes.

Administrators: UK Government, HMRC

Hardship fund

£500 million fund to provide council tax relief to those receiving Local Tax Council Support.

As of 11 June, the government has distributed an additional £63m to local authorities to help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to coronavirus.

Administrator: Local Councils

Eat Out to Help Out

The government funded a 50% discount of up to £10 per head on eat-in meals, at any participating restaurant, café, pub or other eligible food service establishment. The discount could be used unlimited times and was valid Monday to Wednesday on any eat-in meal (including on non-alcoholic drinks) for the entire month of August 2020 across the UK. Participating establishments were fully reimbursed for the 50% discount.

Participating restaurants must have been registered as a food business with their local authority on or before 7 July. Claims for payment could be made weekly and the last claim must have been made by 30 September. Payments were made within five working days of claims being submitted.

Administrator: HMRC

Free car parking for NHS and social care staff

NHS and social care workers will be exempt from paying for parking charges at on-street parking and council-run car parks. Some NHS trusts have already provided free parking to NHS staff and government funds are available for the other NHS trusts to do so likewise.

Administrator: Local councils and NHS trusts who will issue passes to staff to use whilst on duty

Life assurance for health and care workers

Families of frontline NHS staff and social care workers who die from coronavirus in the course of their frontline essential work will receive a £60,000 payment.

Administrator: NHS Business Services Authority

Employers will initiate claims on behalf of the deceased’s families

Travel arrangements for critical workers

The Congestion Charge, Ultra Low Emission Zone and Low Emission Zone in London have all been suspended. NHS workers will be given a code to waive the access fee for Santander Cycles, meaning any journey under 30 minutes is free for them.

Administrator: Automatic from the Mayor of London and TfL

Support for charities

Funding for the charity sector

The Government has announced £750m funding for the charity sector. £370m will be provided to small charities working with the vulnerable. £360m will go to charities providing essential services supporting the most vulnerable – of this £200m will go to hospices, St Johns Ambulance, Citizens Advice and charities supporting vulnerable children, the disabled and victims of domestic abuse.  £20m will be donated to the National Emergencies Trust. The Government will also match funding £1 for £1 raised during the Big Night In on 23 April (being hosted on the BBC) which will support Comic Relief and Children In Need.

Funding for adoptive families to meet needs arising from coronavirus outbreak

Up to £8m available for emergency support including online counselling and couples therapy for families whose adopted children may have already suffered trauma and be made more anxious owing to the uncertainty of the effects of the virus.

Administrator: Adoption Support Fund via local authorities and regional adoption agencies

Aid to prevent second wave of coronavirus

£200m will back UK charities and international organisations to help reduce mass infections in developing countries which often lack the healthcare systems to track and halt the virus

Administrator: Department for International Development

Emergency funding to support most vulnerable in society

The Government has announced £76 million extra funding for charities to support survivors of domestic and sexual abuse, vulnerable children and their families and victims of modern slavery.

For further information, please get in touch.

Daniel Shear

Partner, Corporate Finance