Hello and welcome to our special edition news round-up.  We hope you’re keeping safe and well during what is a very strange time for all of us.

With some businesses being forced to close down completely, many employees being furloughed, others working as normal and new government announcements taking place daily, there’s an overwhelming amount of information being thrown at us at the moment.

Below we cover all the measures which have been introduced to help support businesses and individuals during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you have any questions or would like help with anything discussed in this newsletter, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Adapting your business to life in lockdown

The UK was put into lockdown on 20 March forcing all non-essential businesses including shops, pubs, restaurants, gyms, cinemas, theatres and many more to shut immediately.

While the vast majority of businesses go into hibernation, it’s hoped that the government’s support will enable them to open again once it’s safe to do so. Sadly, there will be some who simply won’t be able to survive closure but at the other end of the scale, there will be businesses who manage to thrive because of COVID-19.

If you want to be one of the companies who prosper during the pandemic, it’s essential to repurpose or ‘pivot’ into new areas. This means that you need to think about selling or providing goods or services in a new way.

Many businesses who weren’t already online now are, restaurants have introduced a delivery service so they can continue to operate while adhering to social distancing rules and clothing manufacturers and engineering companies are now making PPE.

By adapting to suit the current climate, your business is far more likely to survive COVID-19 and you never know, the changes could even benefit you in the long-term.

If you’re looking for new opportunities and ways of operating your business, give us a call. Our One Page Plan Programme is helping clients to understand their goals, strengths, weaknesses and opportunities so they can come out of this pandemic bigger and better.


Updates on government support

As you’re no doubt already aware, the government has been announcing lots of different ways it will be offering financial help to individuals, businesses and those who are self-employed.

Below we’ve detailed the latest information we have regarding all the schemes. Ensure you stay updated by heading to our news page or following us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been introduced to provide financial support to businesses who have had to furlough employees. The aim is to allow employers to continue paying 80% of staff salaries so they don’t have to let people go or make redundancies. Because it’s a grant rather than a loan, the money does not need to be repaid.

The application portal officially opened on 20 April. On the day of the launch, the website was slow but this seems to have settled down now. There has however been several issues uploading data especially with overtime and bonuses, furlough periods, part-time and higher paid employees and employers being registered to use the portal.

Please contact us if you need help in any of these areas. It is unfortunately a time-consuming process as you need to upload data for each individual employee. Our advice is be patient and understand that thousands of other businesses are all trying to upload data at the same time. Talk to us before you make an application if you have any queries about eligibility or would like an estimate of the claim.


Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

The online service to make a claim is not available yet. HMRC aims to contact everyone who is self-employed by mid-May 2020. If you’re eligible for the scheme, you should receive payment by early June 2020.

Please contact us if you would like a copy of our spreadsheet calculator which will enable you to see if you qualify and provide an estimate of how much you will be able to claim.


Business Rates Relief

Rates relief is handled differently in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

We’re now seeing councils paying the grants to businesses. If you haven’t been contacted by your local council yet, please go to their website and register for grant support. Typically, you’ll be asked which grant you’re applying for and to provide your business details.


VAT and Self-Assessment Tax Deferral

UK VAT-registered business who have a VAT payment due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, have the option to defer payment or pay the VAT due as normal. Please note this doesn’t cover payments for VAT MOSS or import VAT.

The next deadline for self-assessment tax is 31 July for your second payment on account. You can delay making this payment until 31 January 2021 if you wish. Remember these amounts will have to be repaid in the future so if you’re in any doubt, talk to us.

HMRC will not charge interest or issue penalties on any amount deferred. Several of our clients have taken advantage of the deferral and have subsequently cancelled their direct debit with HMRC.


Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans

UK-based small and medium-sized business can apply for an interest-free loan of up to £5m.

While the scheme has faced severe criticism, it has been revamped in the last week. It was described as “too complicated” by the Governor of the Bank of England and banks are now responding.

£2.8bn of loans have already been agreed compared to the £1.1bn approved up to last week which means that banks are currently working through a large backlog. Only 16,624 applications have been approved out of 36,000.

The process requires past, current and future financial information including projections. We have a process to help you apply including a pre-qualification check. Please get in touch if you would like help securing finance under this scheme.


Other Government Support

There are a number of other government support schemes available for large businesses, exporters and those based in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information.


We hope you’ve found the above information helpful. As always, if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or drop us an email.  We’re operating as usual here at PKB to ensure that we’re on hand to provide you and your business with the support you need during these challenging times.


To read news and blogs from Rebecca Austin, click here >>