Help available for small businesses and the self-employed in the UK – an update

It’s been a challenging couple of months, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest guidelines and help available for small businesses. 

With the majority of people still having to work from home, and no set dates for when businesses can reopen, many business owners are having to take advantage of the help available from the government to see them through. 

To give you a helping hand, here is a quick update on the government guidance and HMRC help available at this time. 

Can I go back to work? 

New ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidelines have been published to help UK employers get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating as safely as possible. 

If you can work from home you should continue to do so. However, if running your business from home is not possible then you can return to work as long as: 

  • Employers carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment in consultation with workers or trade unions to establish what guidelines to put in place. 
  • Employers should re-design workspaces to maintain 2 meter distances between people. This could be achieved by staggering start times, creating one way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts. 
  • If people cannot be 2 meters apart employers should look into putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns to minimise the number of people in contact with one another, or ensure colleagues are facing away from each other. 
  • Employers should provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points, and workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. 

What help is available to businesses and the self-employed? 

Job Retention Scheme – available now 

The Job Retention Scheme allows businesses to claim for 80% of their employee’s wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions, if you have put them on furlough because of coronavirus. 

At Magpie Accountancy, we have been busy helping our clients with their claims. If you need help and have not yet contacted us please do so at your earliest convenience. 

Self-Employed Income Support Scheme – available now 

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) was brought forward to accept applications from 13th May. The scheme will allow the self-employed to claim a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly trading profits. The grant will be paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and will be capped at £7,500.  

If you receive the grant you can continue to work, start a new trade or take on other employment. The grant will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance. 

HMRC will work out if you’re eligible, how much grant you may get, and will get in touch with you. The scheme is temporary but may be extended. 

Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan – available now 

This is a new loan initiative which is now available for small and medium sized businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak. 

The Bounce Back Loan scheme allows businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover, with a maximum loan of £50,000. The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months after which the interest rate will be 2.5% a year. 

The length of the loan is 6 years, but if you repay early there will be no fees.  

No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. 

You can apply for a Bounce Back Loan if your business: 

  • is based in the UK 
  • was established before 1 March 2020 
  • has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus 

We have been in touch with all clients to update and offer assistance with all of the above, however should you have any questions please get in touch.