Here to Help: COVID-19 – a guide to Government support for SMEs

a guide to Government support for SMEs
By Anthony Wolny | 31st March 2020 | 14 min read

Faced with continued disruption and a prolonged period of uncertainty, many SMEs are feeling the knock-on effect of the COVID-19 pandemic at full force.

To offer support, the Government has set up a package of measures to support businesses through the crisis.

Here’s a bite-size summary to help you keep track of the help available to your business:

1. Deferring VAT payments

To help businesses manage their cash-flow, the government announced a three-month deferment in VAT payments for all UK businesses. This means there’s no requirement to make a VAT payment from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

2. Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

This new loan scheme has been introduced for businesses affected by short-term funding squeeze, allowing them access to working capital up to £5 million.

3. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Government has pledged to cover up to 80% of the wages of employees who are placed on Furlough Leave, instead of being made redundant or asked to take unpaid leave during the crisis. Expected to last for at least three months (and likely to be extended), wages will be covered up to £2,500 but employers can top up salaries above this threshold if they choose to.

4. Financial support for ‘most affected’ industries 

Various financial support is being offered to businesses that have been most adversely affected by the Coronavirus crisis, including:

  • Business rates holiday – for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
  • Cash grants – for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
  • Business rates holiday – for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year
  • One-off grant – businesses that pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief (RRR) are eligible for a one-off grant of £10,000 to help meet their ongoing business costs

5. Dedicated HMRC helpline

HMRC has set up a dedicated helpline for advice for businesses or the self-employed who have concerns about paying taxes due to coronavirus. Call the helpline directly on 0800 024 1222 or visit the helpline’s webpage here.

6. Amended legislation

The Government has made changes to various employment legislation to help businesses and workers over the coming weeks and months. Our sister company, Cascade, has published a blog to summarise these. Read it here

Keeping business going – our software can help

To find out how else IRIS Software Group can help your business operate during these uncertain times, we’ve set up a hub to give you all the information you need. Take a look.   

And for more information on the support your business could be eligible for, take a look at the Government’s ‘COVID-19: support for businesses’ page