17 March 2020

Coronavirus – help for businesses in need

Businesses and employees alike are seeking help and advice about coronavirus.

As a business owner, you should keep up to date with Government advice here about how to look after your staff and slow the spread of infection.

If you are looking for business advice, please call your usual Bennett Verby manager or director. Our offices remain open for now but we have put measures in place for you to be able to contact one of our team if we are all put into isolation.

There is financial support available for your business as follows:

If you are concerned about cashflow and tax, HMRC have set up a helpline for businesses worried about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus. HMRC will discuss your specific circumstances to explore:

  • agreeing an instalment arrangement
  • suspending debt collection proceedings
  • cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately

The helpline number is 0800 0159 559 – and is an addition to other HMRC phone contact numbers.

Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm. The helpline will not be available on Bank Holidays.

Contact your credit suppliers to ask about repayment holidays, credit and overdrafts. You might be able to aid cashflow by relaxing repayments.

See if you can negotiate improved terms for payments and pricing with your suppliers.

Seek support from the Government. At the time of writing the measures are below, but as changes are happening at a rapid rate, click the link here for up to date information.

The Government package of measures to support businesses includes:

  • a statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs, so businesses with fewer than 250 employees will have 14 days’ sick pay per employee refunded.
  • a Business Rate Relief for small businesses and pubs as announced in the Budget.
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief. Check with your Local Authority whether you qualify.
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses with a turnover of less than £41 million who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance. To apply, visit this website and follow the information provided. 
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

If you are self-employed and not eligible for SSP, you can receive contributory Employment and Support Allowance at £73.10 per week from day one of sickness (rather than day eight) if you are self-isolating in line with advice or have contracted coronavirus.

If you are having difficulty or are in need of business advice, contact your usual Bennett Verby director or Manager. Please bear in mind we may take longer than usual to get back to you in these unusual circumstances.