UK Government: What are they doing to Support Businesses?
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UK Government: What are they doing to Support Businesses?

Coronavirus is the biggest threat that the world has had to face for some time. In a matter of weeks, it’s disrupted life, business, transport and the economy. In this blog, we explore what the Government are doing to support SMEs.

On Wednesday 11th March, the new Budget was announced. Whilst it seems like Coronavirus was only in its very early stages, it was a focal point of the talk. Here are some of the plans to support business owners during this challenging time. 

Business Rates are Being Suspended 

The Government knows that the coming months aren’t going to be easy for businesses. It seems like they’ve tried hard to take some meaningful action and support the industries that are likely to be affected. 

Business rates have been suspended for those in the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors with a rateable value less than £51,000. This is a really important step, and something that could save businesses up to £25,000

There will be an array of businesses who are likely to gain from this fantastic Budget announcement, all of which are from industries that rely on high footfall. Museums and art galleries, cafes and restaurants, gyms, pubs, bars and restaurants, will all benefit.

If your business falls into the above and will feel the relief of not paying business rates, make sure you do something wise with the money. Now is the time to plan and prepare, use your savings wisely.

Government Grants 

There are some businesses that wouldn’t benefit from the rates relief announced in the Budget. This includes some of the UK’s smallest companies who are already exempt from paying them. It’s predicted that there are around 700,000 in this category and soon, they’ll be able to access a £3,000 grant. 

Again, if this is something you’re interested in, make sure you use the money wisely to see you through this difficult time. It’s not yet been announced how businesses can apply, but keep checking for updates and something should be available soon!

Government Loans up to £1.2m

A key announcement in the 2020 Budget is surrounding the new Coronavirus Interruption Loan. The scheme will be delivered by the British Business Bank and will help businesses to access vital loans and overdrafts.

The way the scheme has been put in place will ensure it works for both the lender, and the business. It will enable owners to access funding which in typical circumstances they might struggle to obtain.  

At the moment, the scheme is still in the early stages, but the government is reassuring owners that they’re working hard to get it up and running soon. Keep checking to see where it’s up to! 

The concept has been taken from the Enterprise Finance Guarantee which allowed business owners to access up to £500,000. With this in mind, it’s good to know they’re not coming up with the solution from scratch, they’re simply adapting something that’s already in place and working well. 

Statutory Sick Pay 

Another big announcement from the Budget was regarding sick pay. At this time, it’s predicted that thousands of people will be infected with Coronavirus over the coming months. When this happens, each individual will have to self-isolate to prevent the virus spreading, but they’ll also be very unwell and in need of rest. It’s going to be difficult for employers to temporarily lose valuable staff members. 

Anyone eligible who has to self-isolate, even without showing symptoms, will receive statutory sick pay from day one. It works out at £94.25 per week. That’s good news for employees, but what does it mean for business owners?

Well, any business that has less than 250 employees will have the statutory sick pay of each employee covered for 14 days. 

We understand the uncertainty that business owners are currently facing, as it’s something we’re facing ourselves. It’s a difficult time, which nobody was prepared for. 

We want you to know that we’ve been supporting SMEs across the UK for over a decade. We will continue to do so throughout this period. 

If you need anything, please contact 0800 151 0980.