COVID-19 UK government response: Schemes created to date by the UK government

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • Grants will be available to cover 80% of the wages (up to a max of £2500 per month) of any employee who would otherwise have been laid off due to COVID-19.
  • The scheme will run initially for 3 months but may be extended.
  • Claims can be backdated to 1 March 2020.
  • No limit on the size of business or sector that is eligible.
  • Applications will be made to HMRC through a new online portal.
  • Affected employees will need to have been individually identified and notified. There will be employment law and contractual issues to be addressed.
  • Website information:
  • The scheme is expected to be in place by the end of April.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS):

  • Established for businesses with turnover of up to £45m.
  • Lending scheme through the British Business Bank; facilities up to £5m with government meeting interest costs for the first 12 months. Finance terms are from three months up to 10 years for term loans/ asset finance and up to three years for revolving facilities/invoice finance.
  • The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed guarantee against 80% of the outstanding facility balance, potentially enabling a ‘no’ credit decision from a lender to become a ‘yes’.
  • The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt.
  • If the accredited lender can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the scheme, they will do so.
  • Borrowers will approach accredited lenders who will then apply to the scheme.
  • To qualify, businesses must:
    • Be UK based, with turnover of no more than £45 million per annum
    • Operate within an eligible industry sector (a small number of sectors are not eligible for support)
    • Be able to confirm that they have not received de minimis state aid beyond €200,000 over the current and previous two fiscal years
    • Have a sound borrowing proposal, but insufficient security to meet the lender’s requirements
    • Full eligibility criteria will be published shortly
  • Any eligible business interested in CBILS should, in the first instance, approach one of the 40+ accredited lenders with their borrowing proposal.
  • Website information:
  • Further information, including details of the lenders providing access to this scheme, will be announced in the coming days and the scheme should be available from early week commencing 23 March 2020.

Grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

  • A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from premises with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
  • Smaller grants (£10,000) will be available for businesses in these sectors operating from premises with a rateable value under £15,000.
  • Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to the relevant local authority. Guidance for local authorities on the business rates holiday will be published by 20 March.
  • Funding will be provided via local authorities.
  • Economic Development Officers at your local town or city council should be able to advise on local arrangements.
  • Website information:

Rates Relief

  • A 100% business rates discount will be available for retail, leisure and hospitality venues with no limit to Rateable Values.
  • The relevant government department has issued a Guidance Note to Local Authorities clarifying which specific types of property are covered by the 100% relief.
  • Properties which have temporarily closed due to government advice on COVID19 should be treated as occupied for the purposes of this relief.  All property occupiers in the retail, leisure  and hospitality sectors including shops,  cinemas, restaurants, music venues,  museums, art galleries, theatres, caravan  parks, gyms, small hotels, B&Bs, guest  houses, sports clubs, night clubs and club  houses and nurseries will receive 100% rates  relief between 1 April 2020 and 31 March  2021.
  • Additional property types that are not listed but fall within the overall description may be eligible and advice should be sought.
  • Local Billing Authorities will run and administer the process. They should have knowledge of the applicable properties and there is a fund to be made available by central Government to support in the administration of the reliefs.
  • Website information:

Income tax deferral

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

  • Scheme funding is expected to be available from 1st April 2020.
  • This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.
  • It will cover businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR).
  • The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will provide guidance for Local Authorities on how to administer these grants shortly. If you are an eligible business, your Local Authority will then be in touch in the coming weeks to provide details of how to claim this money.
  • Website information:
  • Funding for the scheme will be provided to local authorities by government in early April.

VAT deferral

Time to Pay arrangements (TTP)

  • HM Treasury has announced a stepping- up of resource for its existing TTP scheme and a specific COVID-19helpline.
  • TTP allows a business to defer current tax debts (principally corporation / income tax, payroll taxes and VAT) by converting settlement to instalments over a 3-12 month period.
  • Directors are expected to provide written confirmation that the instalments will be made on time.
  • Any business is theoretically eligible to apply.  It is, however, critical to ensure supporting facts (and documentation) are available to evidence cashflow concerns.
  • HMRC expect the taxpayer to demonstrate that other sources of finance have been pursued and exhausted.
  • Businesses with a Customer Compliance Manager should discuss this with them in the first instance.  All others are encouraged to contact HMRC’s helpline on 0800 0159 559.
  • However, we recommend that you speak to us in the first instance as we can provide support with presentation of information & evidence. 
  • Website information:
  • Further detailed guidance is awaited from HMRC as to the level of information they require to support a claim and confirmation of whether TTP will be extended to prospective (as opposed to just current) tax liabilities.

Statutory Sick Pay “SSP” for small or medium-sized businesses

  • SSP for qualifying employees is now payable from day 1 for those who self-isolate or are unwell because of COVID-19 (the first 3 days are normally unpaid). The current rate of SSP is £94.25 per week.
  • Small and medium- sized employers may recover this cost where SSP has been paid as a result of COVID-19 from 13 March for a maximum of two weeks’ sickness per employee.
  • It will cover businesses with fewer than 250 employees.
  • The government has committed to working with employers to work out a mechanism for recovering eligible amounts.
  • Website information:
Call Now Button