The budget looks to inoculate UK businesses against coronavirus

When Rishi Sunak announced the budget on Wednesday, it was obvious that the coronavirus, and the risk of ‘temporary disruption’ it presents to the economy was at the forefront of his mind.

Whilst Public Health England are advising us to wash our hands to keep infection at bay, it is clear the government won’t be washing their hands of responsibility for keeping UK businesses afloat.

The Government’s £12billion business support package featured a number of announcements that will offer reassurance, relief and support to the UK business community, in the hope of keeping the very real threat of recession at bay.

Many retail, leisure and hospitality firms will get a one-year business rate holiday. Business rates, the tax on properties used for commercial purposes, are calculated on what it would cost to rent the property on the private market. And those businesses with a rateable value of less than £51k will now receive a tax holiday, potentially saving them up to £25k. This will help take the strain off the high-street, with businesses like shops, bars and gyms expected to be hit hardest by coronavirus containment measures.

Grants for smaller businesses. £3000 cash grants will also be made available for small businesses that do not qualify for the business rates exemption.

The government will cover the costs of statutory sick pay. With some forecasts suggesting that 1/5th of the workforce could be forced to stay at home during the peak of the outbreak, many small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) have been fearing the strain this will place on their productivity and payroll. To ease these worries slightly, the government will now cover the costs of sick pay caused by coronavirus for up to 14 days. This relief will be available to any business with fewer than 250 employees.

Government backed loans to support firms. The temporary coronavirus business interruption loan scheme will allow banks to lend SMEs up to £1.2million to help them through any disruption. The government will guarantee up to 80% of the loan value, to ensure banks can lend with confidence.

Deferred tax payments. HM Revenue and Customs will scale up their ‘Time to Pay’ service, with a dedicated helpline and 2,000 staff lined up to help businesses and self-employed people defer their tax payments over a period of time.

Whilst the budget offers plenty of support for businesses in these times of uncertainty, our business advice team are also there for you. Whether you need to run an agreement past us, or require timely advice on your legal position in a dispute, we will be in your corner. Email Nick Attwell for a FREE initial no obligation chat.