Government Support Measures
For COVID affected business
VAT Deferral- as below
Business Rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure- relief expires on 31 March 21
Restriction on landlord forfeiture of commercial premises- expires 31 March 21
Statutory demands and winding up petitions restrictions (where non payment is COVID-19 related)- expires 31 March 21
Suspension of liability for wrongful trading- 30 April 2021 (Directors may still be liable for any wrongful trading between 1 October 2020 and 25 November 2020)
CBILS application Deadline- 31 March 21
Furlough (CJRS)- 30 April 2021
One-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring.
- A further £594 million is also being made available for Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations to support other businesses not eligible for the grants. This is in addition to £1.1 billion that had been made available earlier in the pandemic.
Job Support Scheme (“JSS”)
Originally due to commence on 1 November 2020 to replace the Job Retention Scheme. However, following the announcement of another national lockdown in England the Government have extended the Job Retention Scheme until March 2021. It seems likely now that the Job Support Scheme may never actually see the light of day..
Business Loan Schemes – Pay as you Grow
- Extensions of the repayment period on Bounce Back Loans (“BBL”) and guarantee period on Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Schemes (“CBILS”) from 6 to 10 years.
- Businesses that are struggling can choose to make interest only payments for 6 months.
- Businesses that are identified as in “real trouble” can avail of a 6-month payment holiday, however, no guidelines for identifying those businesses in this situation have been issued yet.
- No effect to a business’ credit rating for availing of any of the options under this scheme.
- Extended the deadline to apply for a CBILS loan to 31 November.
- Plan to announce a new loan scheme to become available from January 2021.
The Government claims that the changes to the BBL and CBILS will see repayments halved and they are enabling more businesses to access funding, yet it seems to forget that this money is not free and comes at a cost of higher interest payments.
The unspoken reality is a lot of these loans will end up being written off with businesses and lenders (who are expected to cover 20% of the risk) suffering in the process. There is no indication from the government that this debt burden will be converted to grants or equity and many believe these measures will simply kick the can down the road even further.
15% emergency VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality industries has been extended to 31 March 2021.
Businesses who deferred their VAT bills that fell due between 20 March and 30 June 2020, which was originally due to be paid by 31 March 2021 will be able to pay back their taxes in 11 smaller, interest-free instalments. To be eligible for this scheme businesses must opt in and meet the following criteria;
- be up to date with their VAT returns
- opt in to the scheme before the end of March 2021
- pay the first instalment before the end of March 2021
- be able to pay the deferred VAT by Direct Debit
If a business doesn’t meet this criteria or opt in to the deferral scheme, the deferred VAT will be due in full on 31 March 2021.
Further respite was provided as follows:
- Statutory demands and winding up petitions restrictions extended to 31 December 2020
- Restriction on landlord forfeiture of commercial premises extended to expire on 31 December 2020
Notably there had been no planned extension to the suspension of liability for wrongful trading which expired on 30 September 2020. Which appeared to be a reinforcement of the Government’s message that they are focused on supporting longer term viable businesses and a reminder to those that may have no future to take appropriate action sooner rather than later. However, due to the lockdown restrictions imposed by the UK Govt. in November, and the tiered restrictions which follow this suspension has been reintroduced from 26 November 2020 to 30 April 2021.
Anyone with any concerns or queries in respect of how these changes may impact their business or any of their clients are welcome to contact Tom Straw on 0207 186 1148.