April saw the government’s action plan to support business in the UK during the coronavirus crisis come to life. We have highlighted some of them below.
Small Business Grant Fund
AIMS clients with premises have told us they have been receiving their Small Business Grant which has been a welcome £10,000 injection for many businesses. All businesses which pay no or little business rates due to SBRR or rural rate relief should have already received this grant. If you have not you should get in touch with your local authority.
Job Retention Scheme
AIMS Accountants have been getting to grips with the recently launched system to make claims for the grants to cover the salaries of furloughed staff though the Job Retention Scheme. This has now been well tested, having received a reported 140,000 claims on the first day and the overall feedback is that the system has worked well.
The scheme is designed to encourage employers to keep their workers rather than make them redundant due to the coronavirus lockdown. The government will cover 80% wage costs of any employee that has been furloughed. The scheme is available to all employees including directors as long as they have been paid during the 19/20 tax year prior to 19th March. Unfortunately, this has meant some directors on annual payrolls which pay a salary at the end of March have missed out. We believe is unfair and we are keeping a close eye on developments.
It has recently been announced the scheme is going to run for a further 4 months, until October. However, it is expected employers will need to contribute to the cost from August.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
As of this week, the Sole Traders and Partnerships can start claiming the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme grant. Grants of up to £7500 are available to trades that have been adversely affected by the coronavirus.
If you qualify for the scheme, HMRC will have already contacted you. To be eligible, you must have traded in 18/19, had trading profits of less than £50K and more than half your income must have come from your trade. The size of the grant is 80% of profits for a 3-month period based on the average trading profits of the last three years or if shorter, the period from starting to trade.
Anyone making use of the scheme will be expected to keep evidence that their trade has been adversely affected by the coronavirus.
Bounce Back Loans
We have heard from businesses that have successfully received loans from the newly launched Bounce Back Loan Scheme. These are backed 100% by the government, borrowers can borrow between £2K and up to 25% of their turnover up to a maximum if £50K. These loans are interest free for the first 12 months and 2.5% in the following years.
At AIMS we have had an eventful time getting acquainted every scheme. If you would like to find out more about the reliefs available to SMEs during the coronavirus, please contact your local AIMS Accountant.