Covid-19 update Friday 20th March

The Chancellor made some further announcements this afternoon which the government hope will help the UK’s businesses to survive the Covid-19 pandemic, I have to say I was surprised at the level of help offered in the Coronavirus Job retention scheme and we hope that what sounds like a great initiative in theory works in practice as it will put a lot of pressure on HMRC who are managing these loans.

We think we have summarised the main announcements here and members can call us for clarification and advice when we reopen on Monday morning, in the meantime have a good weekend and take care of yourselves.

The big announcement was the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, offering government grants which will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month. The scheme is open to any employer in the country and will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and will be available for at least 3 months. The chancellor made several announcements this afternoon
Government will defer the next quarter of VAT payments for firms, until the end of June.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme Loan will be interest free for 12 months, not 6 as previously announced. Available from Monday.

Cafes, pubs and restaurants must close from tonight, night clubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres have also been asked to close as soon as they reasonably can.

He announced the suspension of the minimum income floor for self-employed, meaning they can access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees.

For the self-employed, the next self-assessment payments will be deferred until Jan 2021.

An increase of Universal Credit standard allowance, for the next 12 months, by £1,000 a year and an increase of the Working Tax Credit basic element by the same amount.