March 23, 2020

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Five ways the Government are Supporting Businesses

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set out a package of temporary measures to support UK businesses through this period of disruption caused by the COVID-19 / Coronavirus outbreak. We’ve outlined some of the main Coronavirus Government business support and you can also find more information and guidance on the website.

1. COVID-19 / Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Government are going to pay up to 80% of people’s wages for an initial three-month period for employees that would otherwise have been laid off during the pandemic. All UK businesses are eligible to apply for the scheme for payments of up to £2,500 per-worker per-month, in order to keep employees on the payroll.

It is understood that the scheme will be backdated to 1 March 2020. We are in contact with and await HMRC guidance to understand any requirements for payroll software.

As an employer you need to:

  • Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’ and notify your employees of this change in employment status. Changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.
  • Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required (we will communicate this to all Moorepay customers once this is clear).

For more information you can read our Job Retention Scheme FAQs blog.

2. Deferring VAT and Income Tax Payments

To give businesses a cashflow boost, VAT payments are being deferred until 30 June 2020, with £30 billion worth of tax on businesses being deferred. All UK businesses are eligible and will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills. The Covid-19 support for businesses guidance states that “this is an automatic offer with no applications required”.

3. Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Relief Package for SMEs

SSP is being paid to all qualifying employees from day one for COVID-19 / Coronavirus related sickness, including self-isolating. This measure will last for at least eight months and is available to all eligible employers with fewer than 250 employees. This refund will cover up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19 / Coronavirus.

This emergency legislation (2020 no 287) was passed via a statutory instrument to amend the Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982. This confirms that a person who is self-isolating to prevent infection or contamination with the Coronavirus disease, is deemed as being unable to work.

Moorepayhr has been updated to reflect this change and will be deployed this week. Product release notes to follow shortly afterwards.

4. Support for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Businesses that Pay Business Rates

From the beginning of the 2020/21 tax year, businesses in the retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery sectors will not pay any business rates for the next 12 months. This will apply to their next Council Tax bill in April 2020. Businesses in these sectors can estimate the business rate charge they will no longer have to pay this year using the business rates calculator.

In addition, The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

5. The COVID-19 / Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme Offering Loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank

The new temporary COVID-19 / Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme was launched on 23 March 2020. It’s delivered by the British Business Bank, through over 40 participating providers. Designed to support small and medium-sized businesses, it offers term facilities, overdrafts, invoice finance facilities and asset finance facilities.

The full rules of the scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website.

Moorepay customers who have any questions or require any further information, should contact their Payroll / HR Contact for more information.

If you’re not a Moorepay customer and would like to find out how we can support your business, please telephone 0345 184 4615. 


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About the author

Hannah Booth

About the author

Hannah Booth

A graduate of Lancaster University and holder of a Professional Certificate and CAM Diploma in marketing and digital marketing, Hannah is our Communications & Content Manager. Hannah is responsible for all customer communications for Moorepay, and for leading on and producing key content on legislative and industry topics for the Moorepay knowledge centre.

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