Wednesday, 25 March 2020

COVID-19: Support for self-employed and businesses

Many have been in touch with concerns and questions over the impact of coronavirus saying you are experiencing up to a 100% fall in trade. This unimaginable scenario is being played out alongside some extraordinary acts of kindness and those determined to volunteer and help others and improvise despite crippling personal circumstances. I applaud you. Thank you so much. However, I am also acutely aware that there are specific needs and problems.

There is information and guidance available from this link below. It contains a huge amount of information and should answer many of the questions you have. The site will be updated regularly:

Below is an outline of a few actions taken by the government.

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

  • Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)

  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England

  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank

  • A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans

  • The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

  • £10,000 grants to help smaller businesses in the months ahead.

  • An additional £25,000 grant has been announced for the hospitality, leisure, and retail businesses operating from small premises. It will cover those with rateable values between £15,000 and £51,000.

  • Postponing IR35

  • Deferring self-assessment tax requirements

  • The Treasury and banks have also coordinated support with the government measures.

  • There is an increased allowance on Universal Credit, making it available from day one. The minimum income floor no longer applies.

More detail on the support available can be found here:

I fully understand how you and other businesses must feel at present as these are very difficult times. The UK along with the rest of the world is facing unprecedented events. Millions of businesses and tens of millions of families are facing challenges not seen before in peacetime.

I have been in business myself for many years and know the challenges you must be facing with genuine concerns on how to get through this.

Part of the challenge is that the health crisis enveloping all parts of our society and economy presents unimaginable logistical problems (amongst other things) and so the planning and provision is a huge challenge. The Prime Minister is on record as saying, “We must act like any wartime government and do whatever it takes to support our economy. We must support millions of businesses and tens of millions of families and individuals through the coming months. And to do that the government machine must and will respond with a profound sense of urgency. Thousands of brilliant officials are already working round the clock, but we must do more and faster.”

Alok Sharma, Business Secretary, re-enforced the resolve of the government reiterating that this is only the opening salvo of governments determination to preserve businesses and jobs. 

He has said, “The Prime Minister has been clear that we will do whatever it takes to protect people’s health, to protect people’s livelihoods… We are ready to do more.”

There is more to come and the ways in which help, and support is delivered onto the front line will be rolled out as a matter of urgency. From the business perspective, I am doing all I can to ensure that come the day we are through this, we have in place the business’s that our crucial to our local economy.

Please be assured I am very much aware of your concerns and will continue to press the case and look forward to the government coming forward with plans of how they will support the self-employed in the coming days.

If you have any further questions or have any difficulty in access the support available, please do not hesitate to contact me