The government recognises the huge challenges faced by many businesses in light of the Coronavirus epidemic. In both the Budget, and a statement by the Chancellor on 17th March 2020, a set of measures were announced to help businesses at this difficult time. 

  Access to Government support for businesses
Businesses will be able to access government support from today (Monday 23 March) to keep operating in the face of the global economic emergency brought on by coronavirus.
Information on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan is available through the British Business Bank.
  Government guaranteed loans
  • The government is making available an initial £330 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of our GDP. That means that businesses who need access to cash top pay their rent, salaries, suppliers or purchase stock will be able to access a government-backed loan, on attractive terms. If demand is greater than the initial £330bn, the Chancellor will go further and provide as much capacity as required.
  • These loans will be available through two main schemes, which will be up and running by the start of next week.
  • For larger firms, to support liquidity, a new lending facility will be created to provide low cost, easily accessible commercial paper. 
  • To support lending to Small and Medium Sized businesses, the new Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be extended, providing loans of up to £5 million, with no interest due for the first six months.
In the coming days, a potential support package for airlines and airports will be discussed. 
  Insurance, business rate relief & cash grants
  • For pubs, clubs, theatres and other hospitality, leisure and retail venues which have a policy that covers pandemics, the government’s action is sufficient and will allow businesses to make an insurance claim against their policy. 
  • For businesses which don’t have insurance, those with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will receive an additional cash grant of up to £25,000 per business to bridge through this period. 
  • All businesses in these sectors, regardless of their rateable value will pay no business rates this year. 
  • The government will provide an additional £2.2 billion funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no Business Rates, because of Small Business Rate Relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to around 700,000 businesses who currently receive Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their business costs. Local authorities will be fully compensated for these measures. 
  Support with tax liabilities
All businesses and the self-employed in financial distress with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through the HMRC’s Time To Pay service. We all have to play our part in tackling this virus and slowing the spread. As with any new illness, information about the virus spreads is still emerging, but symptoms of Coronavirus include a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath.
To support people affected by Coronavirus:
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be available for anyone diagnosed with Coronavirus, or who is unable to work became they are self-isolating from day 1, instead of day 4 for affected individuals. Those not eligible for SSP, or those earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week, can make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance more easily, which will be paid from day 1.
  • People will be able to claim Universal Credit and access advance payments upfront without the current requirement to attend a Job Centre if they are advised to self-isolate.
  • For the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for those with Coronavirus, or those self-isolating, ensuring self-employed claimants will receive support.
  • People who are advised to self-isolate will soon be able to a sick note by contacting NHS 111, rather than visiting a doctor when employers require evidence.