Summary of government support available for businesses

April 8th, 2020

government coronavirus support measures

The Government have issued a range of measures to assist businesses in the UK following the coronavirus outbreak here.  We have produced an initial report and a more detailed look at CBILS, but what follows is a brief summary of the measures being offered:

  • Job Retention Scheme to reduce the number of employees being “let-go” – This is a key measure and is applicable open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 28 February 2020.

Employers can claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month per employee. Once you have amended the employees’ contracts so they qualify for the Job Retention Scheme, you will need to make your claim through the online portal that is currently being built by HRMC.

  • Deferment of VAT payments due from 20th March – 30th.  There is no application required.  Any amount deferred must be repaid by 31st March 2021
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) relief package for small and medium sized businesses with under 250 employees. This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of coronavirus (whether diagnosed with COVID-19 or self-isolating due to experiencing similar symptoms).

It is essential to record every absence accurately and to ask your employees for the relevant note obtained from the NHS 111 online service.  The mechanism by which employers will make a claim is currently being set up.

  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England. There is no application required, your local authority shall re-issue your rates bill if your business qualifies.
  • If your business received small business rate relief or rural rate relief on the 11th March you will be eligible for a grant of £10,000. There is no application required, your local authority shall be in contact.
  • There is grant funding of £25,000 available for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. There is no application required, your local authority shall be in contact.
  • A temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) offering loans of up to £5m for up to 6 years for SMEs through the British Business Bank. There is also a “business interruption” payment made on top of this to cover any interest or lender levied fees for the first 12 months. Accredited lenders can be found here.
  • A temporary Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) for firms with a turnover of up to £500m. The scheme provides a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25m available to firms with revenues of between £45m-500m.
  • Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, allowing the Bank of England to buy short term debt from larger companies to assist with cashflow. There are specific eligibility criteria and an application process to qualify
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme – Outstanding tax liabilities can be discussed with HMRC and possible payment plans being put in place. This is reviewed on a case by case basis.

Your team at Briars are here to help with any questions that you may have concerning these new measures in relation to your own business or if you require other information or support during these unprecedented times.  Please do not hesitate to contact us here at

Please take care and keep safe.

Kate Jolly

Kate co-founded Briars in 1991 with Andrew Brierley. She specialised in tax law and today continues to advise clients on international operations, particularly land, expand and exit! In her spare time Kate is a Past Master of the City of London Guild of Entrepreneurs and a Director of CCARHT (Cambridge Centre for Applied Research into Human Trafficking).