Category: Other

Coronavirus Business Update

By Wendy McNulty

26 May 2020

To support our clients and local businesses during the coronavirus outbreak, we will be collating all essential information here.

There is still much uncertainty on how the coronavirus will affect businesses, but to try and provide stability during this time, we have set up this page.

Alongside the information we provide here, keep up-to-date with the government guidance.



  1. Available support | Businesses
  2. Available support | UK High Street
  3. Available support | Charities
  4. Available support | Individuals and Self-Employed
  5. Paying your tax bill
  6. More time to file your company's accounts
  7. Changes to insolvency rules
  8. Changes to reporting for FCA regulated firms
  9. Precautions SB&P are taking

Available government support | Businesses

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 
Unlimited grants, covering 80% of an employee's salary, up to a total of £2,500 a month, will be available to help employers cover wages of their employees who they would otherwise have laid off during this crisis.

The portal is now open. Read more about who you can claim for and how to claim in our guide to furlough.


Covid Corporate Financing Facility 
This facility is available to larger firms and concerns the Bank of England buying short-term debt. This will help businesses who have been affected by short-term funding squeezes.

All UK businesses are eligible. You will need to liaise with your bank to access the scheme. Or, you can visit the Bank of England page to see if you are eligible and for further details.


Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme 
The British Business Bank will support SMEs through loans of up to £5 million. No interest will be due for the first 12 months as this will be covered by the government. To instil confidence for lenders, the government will guarantee 80% of each loan.

To be eligible, businesses need to be UK based, with a turnover of no more than £45 million per annum. You also need to meet the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria.

View and apply for the scheme here. If you have any questions during the application process get in touch with your Relationship Partner or email


Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme 
The scheme has been extended. The maximum loan size available has been increased from £50 million to £200 million. However, companies that claim more than £50 million will be asked to agree to not pay dividends and to exercise restraint on senior pay. The scheme is available to large businesses with an annual turnover of above £45 million.

Further information on the scheme can be found on the British Business Bank website


Future Fund
For early stage businesses that are not eligible for existing coronavirus schemes, loans ranging from £125,000 to £5 million are available.

To be eligible, your business must be UK based and previously raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from investors in the last five years. You must also be able to match the funding you claim for from third party investors.

The fund launched on 20 May. See if you are eligible here. 


Small Business Bounce Back Loan. This scheme provides micro loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 (subject to a ceiling of 25% of turnover) with the government supplying a 100% guarantee for lenders. No interest will be charged in the first 12 months and ‘for most firms, loans should arrive within 24 hours of approval’. There will be no forward-looking tests of business viability, nor will there be any “complex eligibility criteria”.

To be eligible, businesses must be UK based and have been negatively affected by the coronavirus. Businesses must also not have been classed as an ‘Undertaking in Difficulty’ on 31 December 2019.

The scheme, which is run by the British Business Bank is now open. The standard application form will be two pages long. Guidance on how to apply can be found here.


Further support
The below outlines further support available to businesses. However, the details and amount of funding available could change.

VAT payments. The government is allowing VAT payments to be deferred for three months beginning on 20 March and ending 30 June. All UK businesses are eligible and no application is required. Businesses simply do not make a VAT payment between 20 March - 30 June and will be given until the end of 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities.

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme. The Government will reimburse Statutory sick pay (SSP) for businesses with fewer than 250 employees. The repayment will cover up to two weeks of sick pay for employees that have been unable to work because they have coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms or have been told to stay at home by their GP. The scheme is now open, see if you are eligible here.

£10,000 grant. The government will provide funding for local authorities to support small businesses that pay little or no business rates through the SBRR or RRR. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their business costs. Eligible businesses will be contacted by their local authority and do not need to apply.

Business rates suspended
Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses - rates suspended for one year (until 31 March 2021).
Businesses must be UK based to be eligible. You do not need to apply for this, the suspension will apply to your April 2020 council tax bill. Local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge.

Nursery businesses - rates suspended for one year (until 31 March 2021).
To be eligible the business must be UK based and the property must be occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and used primarily for Early Years Foundation Stage. You do not need to apply for this, the suspension will apply to your April 2020 council tax bill.

Grants for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses. cash grant of up to £25,000 will be available to businesses in this sector that operate from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000. Those with a rateable value under £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.  

To be eligible, the business must be UK based. Properties to benefit include, shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues, assembly and leisure, and hotels, guest and boarding and self-catering accommodation. You do not need to apply for this grant. Your local authority will contact you if you are eligible. 

Small business grant fund extended. The government has set aside additional funds to support small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs that were previously outside of the scope of the existing business rates relief. The allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities, with the maximum amount being £25,000. To be eligible, businesses must have fewer than 50 employees and be able to demonstrate that they have seen a dramatic decrease in income because of the coronavirus.


Available support | UK high street

High street shops and other companies under strain will be protected from aggressive rent collection and asked to pay what they can during the coronavirus pandemic. To support these companies the government has announced that it will:

  • Temporarily ban the use of statutory demands and winding up orders where a company cannot pay their bills due to coronavirus;
  • Prevent landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery unless they are owed 90 days of unpaid rent.

The government has also asked landlords and investors to work together with high street businesses unable to pay their bills, but have called tenants to pay rents where they can afford it.


Available support | Charities

£750 million package will be made available to charities that support vulnerable people and provide frontline work. 

  • £370 million will support small, local charities working with vulnerable people. The funds will be provided through organisations, such as the National Lottery Communities Fund in England.
    • £60 million will be allocated to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, accessible through the Barnett formula. 
  • £360 million will support charities providing essential services and supporting vulnerable people.
    • Up to £200 million of this will go to hospices 
    • The remaining amount will be allocated to organisations such as St John’s ambulance, the Citizens Advice Bureau, victims of domestic abuse or disabled people.  
  • Charities will also qualify for 100% rate relief as well as the Job retention scheme.


Paying your tax bill

If any business is concerned about covering its tax bill, you should contact the ‘time to pay’ section at HMRC to discuss deferring payments. HMRC will be looking on a case by case basis but we expect they will be more lenient than normal.

HMRC has also launched a new number for you to call to discuss outstanding tax liabilities due to the coronavirus. The helpline number is 0800 0159 559 - and is open from Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm.


More time to file your company's accounts

From 25 March 2020, companies have an additional three months to file their accounts with Companies House to help avoid penalties. Companies will have to apply for the extension through a fast-tracked online system, which will take 15 minutes to complete. As part of the agreed measures, while companies will have to apply for the three-month extension to be granted, those citing issues around coronavirus will be automatically and immediately granted an extension. More information on extending your deadline can be found here or speak to one of our relationship partners who will be able to advise.


Changes to insolvency rules

To help protect businesses from insolvency, the government has announced measures to change and relax their rules to allow companies to focus on their futures and permit them to continue trading during these unprecedented circumstances. The changes include:
New restructuring tools, such as:  

  • Additional time from creditors enforcing their debts whilst seeking a rescue or restructuring
  • Protection of their supplies to ensure businesses can continue trading during this period of extra time 
  • A new restructuring plan, binding creditors to that plan.

Temporary suspension of wrongful trading provisions to allow businesses to continue to trade, eliminating the threat of personal liability for directors, should the company fall in to insolvency.   

The proposals will include safeguards for creditors and suppliers to ensure they are paid while a solution is sought.


Changes to reporting for FCA regulated firms

The FCA has extended the submission deadlines for several regulatory returns. The extension applies for submissions that are due up to and including 30 June 2020.

For small or medium-size businesses (paying less than £10,000 in fees and levies in 2020/2021) the administrative fee for late returns has been waived until 30 June 2020.

Visit the FCA website to view the FCA returns the extension applies to.


Precautions SB&P are taking

We are monitoring the developments related to COVID-19 carefully. Our priority is the health and well-being of our people and our clients, whilst ensuring we can continue to support you. 

To ensure our business continuity, we are currently operating at normal levels, but our offices are closed and we are working remotely. We will continue to be contactable via the normal channels and if you already have meetings with any of our employees in the coming weeks, our team will be in touch to discuss how best to proceed. 

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide you with updates as appropriate. 

If you have any concerns or would like advice, please contact your relationship partner or me at

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