20th March 2020
Useful information for SME’s from the Institute of Directors. The link to the full article is here however, we’ve copied over the relevant information for Scottish Businesses below:
Statutory Sick Pay Relief
The Government has announced that it will bring forward legislation to allow SMEs to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
- this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
- employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
- employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
- employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
- eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home comes into force
The Government has stated it will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The Government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The Government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as Government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments. The British Business Bank is in the process of defining and agreeing the scheme’s details, specifications and eligibility. The scheme will be available from early w/c 23 March 2020. To be to be eligible for support via the scheme, the small business must:
- be UK based, with turnover of no more than £41 million per annum
- operate within an eligible industrial sector (a small number of industrial sectors are not eligible for support – see here)
- have a sound borrowing proposal, but insufficient security to meet a lender’s normal requirements
- be able to confirm that they have not received de minimis State Aid beyond €200,000 equivalent over the current and previous two fiscal years
Any small business interested in Scheme should, in the first instance, approach one of the 40+ accredited lenders with their borrowing proposal.
HMRC Time to Pay
All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.