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Covid-19 Update 21.03.2020


A huge thank you to our friends at Dodd Accountants who worked late into the night to update their advice following the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak’s statement yesterday. I have added the link to our coronovirus page:  along with a link to the full transcript of the Chancellor’s speech.


Reproduced with permission, and a second thank you, the content of the update from Dodd Accountants is as follows:


“Covid 19 – Client Advice

Advice updated Friday 20 March 2020.

For businesses there is an unprecedented amount of uncertainty over what the following days and months may bring as a result of COVID-19. Below are some of the measures that are in place to assist businesses and individuals during this time. We will be keeping this guidance updated as and when there are developments.



We understand that many of you will have payroll and employment queries at the current time, and while we can’t provide employment law advice, we can point you in the direction of some useful guidance.  ACAS are reviewing and revising their guidance as and when necessary and the link below is a good place to start with any employment queries you may have that specifically relate to Coronavirus:

ACAS helpline: 0300 123 1100

Specific legal advice should be taken if you are considering changing any employees’ hours of work or terms and conditions of employment.  You should contact your usual HR adviser or the ACAS helpline number above.


Statutory Sick Pay

An employee’s rights to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) depends on the employment status and earnings. However, if they are eligible and receive medical advice to self-isolate or become ill, they will be entitled to SSP from the first day of their absence from work.  You may also have contractual sick pay in place as part of your terms and conditions of employment.

The Government will refund employers with fewer than 250 employees up to two weeks of SSP for each affected employee.  The Government has admitted that their current systems are not yet designed to facilitate such refunds, but that they will be working with employers ‘over the coming months’ to set up a repayment mechanism.


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

To protect jobs, the chancellor has announced that the Government will step in and help pay employee wages.  All businesses of any size or sector will be able to apply to HMRC for a grant to cover the wages of staff who are not working due to the coronavirus shutdown but have not been laid off.  The grant will cover 80% of the salaries of those retained workers up to £2,500 per worker per month on the PAYE scheme.  This will be backdated to 1 March 2020.  The scheme will be open for 3 months and there is no limit to the funding the Government will make available.  Employers can top up to full salaries if they wish.


VAT and Tax Deferral

All businesses are eligible to defer their VAT payments that would have been due between 20 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. Businesses will have until the 5 April 2021 to make these payments. This deferral is automatic, meaning businesses do not need to take any action. Any businesses that are due to receive VAT refunds will receive these as normal.

Any Self-Assessment payments on account that are due to be paid on the 31 July 2020 are deferred until 31 January 2021. Again, this is an automatic deferral and no application is required.


Business Rates Relief for Businesses with Property in England

All businesses operating in the leisure, hospitality and retail sectors will receive a business rates holiday for 12 months, irrespective of the rateable value of business properties.

Businesses do not need to apply for business rates holidays as they are based on their receipt of business rates reliefs and rateable values.

Businesses can check the rateable value of their properties using the following link:


Small Business Grant Funding for Businesses with Property in England

A small business grant is available for those businesses in England that qualify for Small Business Rate Relief. This is a one-off grant worth £10,000 to help meet ongoing business costs.

For businesses that operate in the leisure, hospitality and retail sectors and that have a rateable value of over £15,000 but less than £51,000 a cash grant is available of up to £25,000 per business.

The grants will be administered by the Local Authorities.

Local Authorities expect to receive Government guidance for the grant funding in early April, at which point it is expected that the Local Authorities will contact qualifying businesses.


Measures for Businesses with Property in Scotland

The following measures will be put in place by the Scottish Government as of April 2020:

  • 100% rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism
  • Grants of £10,000 for small businesses in receipt of Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief
  • Grants of £25,000 for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value of between £18,000 – £51,000


HMRC’s Time to Pay Arrangements

HMRC have expanded their existing Time to Pay arrangements. These expanded arrangements aim to assist businesses that have been affected by COVID-19 to defer their tax payments (including PAYE and VAT) and agree payment by instalments. HMRC have set up a helpline to specifically to deal with this: 0800 0159 559.



Most banks have committed to offering loan repayment holidays aswell as temporary emergency loans and overdrafts. If you have existing bank lending or find your business in need of finance, then please contact your bank as soon as possible.


Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Government has announced Government backed loans to a value of £330bn. These loans will be launched early next week, with loans available for SME’s of up to £5m with no interest payable in the first 12 months. The scheme is expected to become available in the week commencing 23 March 2020.



Insurance policies should be checked for cover and if necessary insurance brokers should be contacted. The Government has announced that if leisure/hospitality/retail businesses have insurance which covers pandemics then they will be able to claim due to the measures recently introduced by the Government to prevent people meeting in pubs, clubs, theatres and other hospitality, leisure and retail venues. If you require assistance with any such claims then please get in touch with your usual Dodd & Co contact.


Companies House

Companies can apply for an extension if they are unable to file their accounts on time due to coronavirus. Extensions are generally given for up to 30 days. Guidance on how to apply for this extension is included below:

The Charity Commission and Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator are also accepting requests for deadline extensions.


Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit

The standard allowance for Universal Credit has been increased by £1,000 for 12 months, as has the basic element for Working Tax Credits.

The minimum income floor for Universal Credit has been suspended meaning self-employed workers will now have access to a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay.



In a move to assist individuals and employees, individuals with mortgages can speak to their lenders to arrange a 3 month mortgage holiday. This includes Buy To Let mortgages.


IR35 Reform Delayed

The implementation of IR35 Off-Payroll tax reforms have been delayed for a year, with the new legislation now due to be reintroduced in April 2021.

As always, rest assured that Dodd & Co will be working tirelessly to keep you up to date with developments, and whether you need business advice or even just a chat remember that we are here to assist you and your business.”

As you will see from our webpage, we are doing all we can to keep you updated with the latest advice. If you have not already done so please follow Penrith BID on Facebook, so you can track what we are changing and follow Discover Penrith on Facebook, Twitter (we also have an Instagram account) so we can share your stories and tell customers about what is happening in your business and when you are open/what you are selling etc.

Good luck and please stay in touch. We will get through this together.

With Best Wishes



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