In the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has announced a wide-ranging package of measures to try to ease the pressures on businesses, including:
- a business rates holiday (extended to 12 months on 20 March); cash grants; mortgage holidays; loan guarantees to businesses; and a delay to changes to IR35 until April 2021
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme;
- deferring VAT payment
- The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will now be interest free for twelve months and further credit measures will be introduced for medium and large enterprises.
Grants for self-employed individuals
After much concern about the position of self-employed individuals, this scheme was announced on 26 March 2020. The amount of the grant is similar to that for employees - 80% of average monthly trading profits, up to £2,500 per month, for 3 months. The grant can be claimed by the self-employed whether they work on their own or in a partnership.
The grant is limited to those with self-employed profits of less than £50,000 in 2018/19 (or as an average over the tax years 2016/17 to 2018/19). In addition, at least half of the claimant's earnings must be from self-employment and so those with significant employment income will not qualify.
HMRC will use their own records to determine who is eligible for a grant and are asking people not to contact them for the moment as it will only delay the implementation of the scheme. They also warn against following email or text links to scamming sites - the scheme will only be available through the gov.uk website
A further grant of up to 70% of average monthly trading profits, covering a further three months, was announced on 29 May 2020. Applications for this further grant may be made from August 2020.
For more details of these schemes please see: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/
This note gives general guidance and an overview but is not intended to be legal advice.
The situation in relation to COVID-19 is developing rapidly: we have sought to ensure that the contents are accurate as at the date of publication but you are advised to check for the latest information.
Public Health England provides public health information and up-to-date information is available here.
Guidance for employers and employees provided by Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, is also available here.
For any legal advice on specific circumstances please contact your usual Howard Kennedy Employment Team contact.