BFA Update on Covid-19 from Government 

Dear member,

This is the latest  we have received form our colleagues in Whitehall regarding the Government’s position on the Corona virus.

I appreciate there is a lot of information being released by the press, but I hope this update, which comes direct from Government, helps you with the decisions you need to make for your business.

The Cobra Committee is sitting again today and it is expected that the current recommendations may alter drastically if infection and fatality numbers continue to rise. With this in mind please be aware that reports and updates are constantly shifting but I will ensure I bring you summaries of updated plans and procedures as soon as they are received.

The Prime Minister’s last statement on the Corona virus:

In summary, the Prime Minister’s statement includes information on:

* For individual businesses, the first port of call for advice and support is gov.uk. However, they are also scaling up their Business Support Helpline, so businesses in England can pick up the phone and speak directly to an advisor. (the number to call is: 0300 456 3565)

 * HMRC has launched a tax helpline to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to Corona virus  Members can find all the information here. (the number is 0800 0159 559)

Companies House has also produced guidance if Corona virus has affected your company and you need more time to file your accounts – here.

*  Guidance for British people living or travelling overseas following the outbreak of coronavirus. Find the update guidance here.

Online resources for businesses and employers: 

For the latest information and advice, employers and business owners should visit guidance for employees, employers and businesses.

Information includes:

Guidance on advice to provide to staff including: how to help prevent spread of COVID-19; what to do if someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in a workplace setting; advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific areas; and advice for the certification of absence from work.

* Information on the support available to businesses impacted by COVID-19

* ACAS has also published information for employees and employers which includes information on simple steps to help protect the health and safety of your staff, sick pay and absence from work.

Business Support announced in the Budget 

The Chancellor has also announced a package of measures to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses affected by the virus. These measures will include:

* A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemedelivered by the British Business Bank, which will enable businesses with a turnover of no more than £41m to apply for a loan of up to £1.2m, with the Government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. This is hoped to unlock up to £1 billion pounds to protect and support small businesses.

* For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the Government in full. This aims to provide 2 million businesses with up to £2bn to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.

* A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement.  

* There will be a £3,000 cash grant to 700,000 of our smallest businesses, delivered by Local Authorities, and worth a total of £2bn.

*Finally the Government is also temporarily increasing the Business Rates retail discount in England to 100% for 2020-21 for properties below £51,000 rateable value.

As ever, if you have any personal views, queries or concerns please do not hesitate to get in contact with me here

Government is also keen to hear from members who can provide any business intelligence regarding the impact the Corona Virus may be having on their trade. Again please use the email above and I will forward to Whitehall.
I am here to help so please make sure you stay in touch.

Best regards,

Lucy

Lucy Reece-Raybould
BFA Chief Executive