So the spring budget for 2020 was upon us a couple of days ago and the hot topic didn’t seem to actually be the budget itself but this little-known thing called the ‘Coronavirus’…not sure if you’ve heard of it? …Apologies, I know it’s the lowest form of whit but my gosh it’s funny sometimes isn’t it!
There were of course numerous aspects discussed in this year’s spring budget, however a large majority of these aspects were in direct correlation to the economical effects of coronavirus and so I thought we’d mix things up a bit with this year’s overview. So instead of listing everything, out of interest for those wanting a more specific look at how the budget is helping businesses with the negative effects of coronavirus, I thought I’d list all the measures the government is looking to implement with immediate effect that could impact those of us who are self-employed during this ‘epidemic’ time.
So where has this all stemmed from? Well quite simply the fact that Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £12bn package of emergency support to help the UK against the economical effects of coronavirus. He stated “If people fall ill or can’t work, we must support their finances. We must make sure that our safety net remains strong enough to fall back on,” therefore there were many additions to this year’s budget which will help people (particularly self-employed individuals) who could be negatively impacted by the virus. So without further delay let’s see how the government plans to help us self-employed during this time of uncertainty.
1. People who wouldn’t usually be able to claim sick pay (such as us self-employed folk!) will now be able to claim ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) from the first day of being ill, instead of the standard 8th day. So if you do come down with coronavirus then be sure to get a doctor’s note immediately in order to claim this successfully.
2. Then in terms of repaying tax, HMRC have realised there could now be many people struggling to pay what they owe and therefore they will scale up the ‘Time To Pay’ service, offering a total of 2,000 HMRC staff to run a helpline for businesses needing to defer tax payments due to the effects of coronavirus.
3. A temporary ‘Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme’ will come into effect which sees the government guaranteeing bank loans of up to £1.2m to small and medium-sized businesses having a short-term drop in income or increase in costs due to coronavirus.
4. The government are also offering a one-off £3,000 grant to companies (who are already exempt from rates) to cover the extra costs of the effects of coronavirus. It is apparently expected to deliver £2bn to 700,000 of the smallest companies.
5. Then last but not least, this is slightly more indirectly (yet still directly, if that makes any sense!) due to the coronavirus – a one-year break from business rates for venues that have a rateable value of less than £51,000 including shops, cinemas, restaurants and music venues. This has also been extended for one year and includes leisure and hospitality sectors such as museums, theatres, B&Bs, nightclubs and gyms.
They are the main aspects that were added to this year’s budget in order to help self-employed individuals and businesses stay afloat during this time. So if you have been or are going to be effected by the virus (personally or economically) then be sure to keep proof of any doctors notes, drop in profits etc as I’m sure there’ll be some serious red tape in order to be accepted for the majority of these aids.