On Wednesday 11 March 2020, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his budget £7 billion of extraordinary measures to help support businesses and individuals who will be affected by the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak.
A brief summary of the Budget in respect of the Coronavirus is as follows:
- The cost of statutory sick pay (SSP) for Coronavirus-related absence will be covered for businesses with fewer than 250 employees. SSP will be available to all those advised to self-isolate even if they haven’t yet presented with symptoms, people will soon be able to obtain a sick note by contacting 111 rather than having to go to the doctors.
- For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing statutory sick pay to any employee of work due to Coronavirus will, for up to 14 days, be refunded by the government in full.
- Those on contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will be able to claim from day one instead of day eight.
- HM Revenue & Customs will “scale up” the Time To Pay service, which enables tax owed to be paid in instalments, allowing businesses and the self-employed to defer tax payments over an agreed period of time. A dedicated helpline with 2,000 staff has now launched.
- Business rates will be abolished for shops, cinemas, restaurants and music venues with a rateable value of less than £51,000.
- Extending this, 100% retail discount to others in the leisure and hospitality sector: museums, art galleries and theatres, caravan parks and gyms, small hotels and B&Bs, sports clubs, nightclubs, clubhouses and guest houses.
- For small businesses currently eligible for the small business rate relief, there will be a £3,000 cash grant per business, representing a £2 billion cash injection to 700,000 small businesses.
Information correct as at 11 March 2020.
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