Changes to Furlough/Self Employed Schemes:
The UK Government have confirmed that the Job Retention Scheme and Self-employed schemes will continue, with some changes as the lockdown continues to be gradually eased.
The changes are summed up here:
Wednesday 6th May 2020 – additional grants announced by Welsh Government for charities in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector.
Monday March 30th 2020 – the Welsh Government announced a new £1.1bn package for Welsh Businesses affected by COVID-19, including an Economic Resilience Fund. You can see full details of this here:
UK Government Bounce Back Loans
The UK Government have launched an additional ‘Bounce Back Loan’ scheme for businesses – this scheme is intended to help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.
Support for Businesses
Business Advice Helpline: 0300 060 3000
Any business affected can receive practical advice on support, whether this support is provided through the Welsh Government or the UK Government via the Business Wales helpline.
Guidance is also available online at:
Food and drink venues, pubs, bars, clubs, cinemas, casinos, gyms, museums, leisure centres, betting shops and galleries.
As of March 20th, these businesses are to be closed. Where relevant, they can still operate as takeaway only.
Job Retention Scheme
The UK Government will cover up to 80% of employees’ wages for employees that would otherwise be laid off, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month per employee as a grant. This support will last for at least 3 months.
This can be backdated and apply to employees who were on payroll as of 28 February even if they have since been let go.
Employers will need to:
- Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change – (this remains subject to existing employment law)
- Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (when it’s launched) HMRC will administer the scheme which is currently being put in place.
Employers needing short term cash flow support to meet payroll costs in the meantime, may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (see below) which will be available from next week or loans from Development Bank for Wales (see below).
Welsh Government grants
The Welsh Government has announced a grants scheme for Welsh businesses hit by coronavirus.
- A £25,000 grant for businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, with a rateable value of £12,001 – £51,000.
- A £10,000 grant to all businesses eligible for small business rates relief with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.
Payment arrangements will be automatic and eligible business will receive confirmation of grant automatically in the next week or so.
UK Government has announced that VAT payments for the next quarter (Apr-Jun) will be deferred, to be paid by the end of the year.
Business rates relief
The Welsh Government has announced that:
- All retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less will receive 100% business rates relief in 2020-2021.
- Pubs with a rateable value of between £51,000 and £100,000 will receive a £5,000 reduction on their bill in 2020-2021.
HMRC – Time to Pay Scheme
A Time to Pay scheme is also available whereby all businesses and self-employed people in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time to Pay service.
These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call 0800 0159 559.
Statutory Sick Pay
The UK Government is bringing forward legislation to allow small and medium sized businesses and employers across the UK to reclaim statutory sick pay paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.
- This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19.
- Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020.
- Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19.
- Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
- Eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home comes into force.
Development Bank of Wales
The bank has equity and loan funding it can make available immediately to otherwise healthy small businesses to help them through the cash flow and other challenges they may face.
Please contact: 0800 587 4140 or
The Welsh Government has announced that all businesses already supported by Development Bank of Wales will have a three-month capital repayment holiday.
Other measures are being considered and we will circulate further information as soon as possible.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans
The UK Government has set up a temporary coronavirus business interruption loan scheme through the British Business Bank and it will support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. Loans are interest free for 12 months.
Lenders will be provided with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.
Businesses and banks will not be charged for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £1.2 million in value.
The loans will be available from next week and there is a list of British Business Bank-accredited lenders here:
Self-employed and freelancers
Self-assessment tax payments on account due this year are to be deferred until January 2021.
The introduction of IR35 (which would have extended the tax liabilities of people working via their own service companies) will be delayed for 12 months.
The minimum income floor in Universal Credit will be temporarily relaxed for all self-employed people. Self-employed people will be able to access Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay.
The Welsh Government is setting up a fund specifically for self-employed people affected by coronavirus. We will provide the details as soon as we get them.
The Welsh Government has introduced a 3-month interest payment holiday if you are on Help to Buy mortgage.
The UK Government has also announced a 3-month mortgage payment holiday. In the first instance, talk to your mortgage provider.
The UK Government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that the advice (at that stage) to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim as long as all other
terms and conditions are met, where businesses have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure.
For insurance policies that cover losses from the effects of “notifiable diseases”, please note that Covid 19 has been classified as a “notifiable disease” in all parts of the UK (in Wales with effect from 6 March 2020: Health Protection (Notification)(Wales) Regulations 2020).