COVID-19 Update

Following the rapid escalation of Coronavirus, we will keep our clients updated on how we are dealing with the matter and what we can do to assist you in order to minimise disruption in these unprecedented times. 

Our priority is to look after you and our Vision Consulting colleagues. We’re continuing to keep up to date with Government and NHS guidance, however, whilst the situation continues to evolve, it is business as normal for us.

We are monitoring the continued spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus and have, for now, minimised face to face meetings and are encouraging calls and emails as appropriate. If necessary, our colleagues will work from home which will not impact on our ability to provide the best level of service to our clients.

HOW CAN WE ASSIST YOU?

We are aware that cashflow is a particular worry at the moment. We can suggest some practical steps to take that can help minimise any disruption.

  • Contact your bank relationship manager in the first instance and discuss the availability of temporary bank overdraft facility or a suspension of current loan or mortgage repayments.
  • Contact HMRC to discuss the possibility of suspending any PAYE, VAT or Corporation Tax payments due in the near future. A dedicated helpline number 0800 0159 559 has been set up to assist.

With regards to Government advice, this is what we know so far:

  1. Loans

The Treasury are freeing up £330bn of loans that will be guaranteed for 80%, this should mean that there are favourable rates for any business. The thing to consider is that these are still loans, whilst they give you the cash for now they will have to be repaid at some future time with interest after the first 6 months – but we will update you on this when we hear more about the rollout next week.

  1. Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

For all business in these industries there will be a 100% rates reduction during this time. Along with this, there will also be a grant available of up to £25,000 if the rateable value of the business is below £51,000. We are still awaiting the government wording on which businesses qualify but watch this space for more updates.

  1. Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR)

For all businesses that qualify for SBRR there is another £10,000 grant available. The current guidance from HMRC is that you do not need to apply for this and the local authority will be in touch (we will keep an eye on this if it changes) We believe however (in its current form) that if you are in a serviced office then this grant will not apply.

  1. Personal Mortgages

The government has agreed with all mortgage lenders that all individuals that have been disrupted by COVID-19 will have at least a 3 – month payment holiday – Contact lines have been setup by the lenders.

  1. SSP
  • For businesses with less than 250 employees the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay will be refunded by the government in full.
  • Those who follow advice to stay at home and who cannot work as a result will be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP) from day 1 (beginning 13 March 202)), even if they are not themselves sick.
  • Employers should use their discretion and respect the medical need to self-isolate in making decisions about sick pay.
  • Employees who meet the qualifying criteria, i.e. be classed as an employee and done some work for your employer; earn an average of at least £118 per week etc, can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they’re too ill to work. It’s paid by the employer for up to 28 weeks.
  • Anyone not eligible to receive sick pay, including those earning less than an average of £118 per week, some of those working in the gig economy, or self-employed people, is able to claim Universal Credit and or contributory Employment and Support Allowance.
  • For those on a low income and already claiming Universal Credit, it is designed to automatically adjust depending on people’s earnings or other income. However, if someone needs money urgently they can apply for an advance through the journal.
  1. Coronavirus business support was announced in last week’s budget as follows:
  • A £3,000 cash grant will be available for up to 700,000 small businesses. You will be contacted by your local authority in early April with further details of this.
  • Business rates will be discounted by 100% for businesses with rateable values below £51,000. You will be contacted by your local authority in due course with further details of this.
  1. Loan Scheme

A Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme has been announced which will allow businesses to apply for a loan up to £1.2 million, with the government covering up to 80% of the losses. We are expecting further details of this loan scheme in the next week or so but we expect businesses will need to prepare a business plan and a cash flow forecast to justify the loan application.

We’ll know more as the Government update their guidance. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

We would encourage any of our clients who feel any of the Governments support options will be of benefit to please get in touch with us to express your interest.

Any queries regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.

This information is provided in good faith and without any financial liability attached. Please take professional advice for your particular circumstances before acting.  Although we have taken relevant care in producing this guidance, we will not be held liable for any losses whatsoever as result of anyone acting on this information.