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COVID-19 Business Update (cropped)

Business Update 1 - Coronavirus (Covid-19)

In these unprecedented times and following the Chancellor’s additional announcements yesterday, we wanted to provide an overview of the key measures currently in place, or in the process of being put in place, to support businesses through the current challenges.


We will be following things closely over the coming weeks and months and will provide updates when appropriate. Please also contact one of us if you have any questions or concerns about the impact that Coronavirus is having on your business or if you feel we can help in any way.


We are here to provide whatever help and support we can. 


The following link to the Government website provides a useful place to start: click here 

Key Points: 


1. Time to Pay Arrangements


HMRC have launched a new helpline for businesses and individuals who have concerns about paying their tax due to the impact of coronavirus. Details are contained in this link. The helpline covers Self Assessment, PAYE, VAT and Corporation Tax. The phone number is: 0800 0159 559. 

  • HMRC will discuss your specific circumstances to explore: 
  • Agreeing an instalment plan
  • Suspending debt collection proceedings
  • Cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately
  • In our experience you can expect long delays before your call is answered" not least due to HMRC staffing levels being impacted by the current environment.  Please call one of us if you have any concerns in this area as we should normally be able to call HMRC on behalf of our clients. 

2. Statutory Sick Pay


Details of extra measures being taken in respect Statutory Sick Pay can be found in the following link.

In summary:

  • People who cannot work due to coronavirus and are eligible for SSP will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of their illness " the intention is to legislate so this measure applies retrospectively from 13 March 2020. 
  • SSP will be payable to people staying at home on government advice, not just those who are infected, from 13 March 2020 " employers are urged to use their discretion about what evidence, if any, they ask for. 
  • If employees need to provide evidence to their employer that they need to stay at home due to coronavirus, they will be able to get it from the NHS 111 Online" this is currently under development and will be made available soon. 
  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be able to reclaim SSP for employees unable to work because of coronavirus. This refund will be for up to 2 weeks per employee. 
  • We understand that the development of a mechanism to enable businesses to recover coronavirus SSP is still some months away. It will therefore be vital that appropriate records are maintained to support any claims.  

3. Business Interruption Loan Scheme

  • A new temporary loan scheme, targeted at SMEs, will be launched in the coming days to support access to bank lending and overdrafts. Under the scheme the government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to per lender cap limits). There will be no charge made on businesses for the provision of the guarantee and the scheme will support loans of up to £5 million. The government will also cover the first 6 months of interest payments. 

 ** More details to follow in due course.  


4. Business Rates Holiday and Grant 

  • There will be a business rates holiday for qualifying businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020-21 tax year. 
  • A £25,000 grant will be available to qualifying retails, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from premises with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. Eligibility enquiries should be directed to the relevant local authority who will receive further guidance by 20 March.  

5. Support for Businesses Paying Little or No Business Rates

  • Additional funding will be provided to local authorities to support eligible small businesses that pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief or rural rate relief. This will take the form of a one off grant of £10,000 to help meet ongoing business costs. 
  • If your business qualifies you should be contacted directly by your local authority" there is no need to apply.  

6. Insurance

  •  The government and insurance industry have confirmed that the advice given to pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim provided they have appropriate cover in place. If affected, the advice is to look at the policy detail carefully to check the terms and conditions and contact the insurance provider as soon as possible. 

7. Mortgages

  •  It’s also worth mentioning the availability of mortgage repayment relief, under which home-owners affected by the coronavirus may be eligible for a 3 month mortgage relief payment window. We understand that a number of lenders are introducing specific helplines to address any enquiries in this area.
“We have used Ashton Allsop as initially as our accountants and now effectively as our FD for almost two years now. During this time we have seen a significant step up in our systems, ReceiptBank and Xero for example and now have a much improved grip on the business financials - all delivered in a friendly and cost effective way. We consider Ashton Allsop to be an essential partner in our business.”

Clark Benefit Consulting Limited

"Our business was growing and our old accountants just weren’t able to offer the timely and proactive advice that we needed. Paul and Martin came highly recommended so we moved to Ashton Allsop. The difference was night and day and they had an immediate impact, they spotted issues not seen before and identified allowances we should have used from HMRC. We speak regularly, we work with them through Xero and other tools they make available and everything is made clear and understandable. We were so impressed that we’ve moved our bookkeeping and payroll and they now complete our R&D applications. They provide a fantastic service and have saved us so much time and money, whilst reducing our total accounting costs. We consider them an extension of our company and couldn’t work without them."


Stephen Hickey, CEO Digital Control Rooms 

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