Coronavirus, COVID-19, Outbreak – Guidance for Businesses

March 19, 2020

Coronavirus, COVID-19, Outbreak – Guidance for Businesses

Last updated 23/03/2020

Further updates can be found here.

The current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, presents a significant challenge for businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire and indeed worldwide. The University of Warwick Science Park together with other key organisations here are preparing actions to help minimise the impact on businesses by providing support and keeping our environment updated about support available for businesses.

With the assistance of the CW Growth Hub we have put together a summary of current supports and financial schemes available for businesses affected by the Coronavirus outbreak and would encourage you to visit the Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub website for daily updates on this topic.

We would also like to get the message across that our business support activity is open for business, albeit electronically. We urge our existing clients to talk to their business growth adviser about their challenges and any company that is not receiving any external support to come forward and discuss their challenges with us or the Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub. The same applies to our tenants that are not yet receiving business support.

One advice we would give to all businesses is to prepare a detailed cash flow forecast for at least the next 6 months for your business to identify potential shortfalls and to have clarity on what is required to see you through these difficult times. If you are unsure how to do this, contact us using the links below or talk to your accountant who will be able to advise you accordingly.

To receive comprehensive business support please contact our Business Ready team

For start up support please contact our Ignite team

For equity investment please contact our Minerva team

For additional support please contact the team at the CW Growth Hub

Key supports available for businesses:

The Government introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for all UK employers to continue paying 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off:

  • In order for businesses to access this, they must submit information through HMRC’s online portal regarding their furloughed employees
  • Payments will be back dated to the 1st of March 2020 and HMRC will be launching this soon.

The Government is making available an initial £330 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of our GDP. This will be delivered through two main schemes, which will be up and running by the start of next week:

  • To support liquidity amongst larger firms, the chancellor has agreed a new lending facility with the Governor of the Bank of England to provide low cost, easily accessible commercial paper.
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has opened for applications on 23rd March 2020. It supports a wide range of business finance products, including term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance facilities and can provide facilities of up to £5m for smaller businesses across the UK who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues, leading to disruptions to their cashflow. This is a British Business Bank guarantee for businesses with no interest due for the first six months. View PDF

Retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors will pay no business rates whatsoever for 12 months (no matter what their rateable values are) and if they have a rateable value of less than £51,000, they can now get a cash grant of up to £25,000 as well:

  • This applies to every single shop, pub, theatre, music venue, restaurant – and any other business in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector.
  • It is still unclear how businesses will access this, so please check the CW Growth Hub website for updates on this.

A £10,000 grant is now available to all businesses in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief (RRR). This funding will only benefit those with a premises. It excludes small businesses and the self-employed who do not occupy property (e.g. freelancers, cleaners, etc.)

  • You are eligible if your business is based in England, you are a small business and already receive SBBR and/or RRR.
  • How to access the scheme: You do not need to do anything, your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Statutory Sick Pay: For businesses with under 250 employees, the cost of providing statutory sick pay for up to 14 days due to coronavirus will be funded by the Government in full – although this is unlikely to include Sole Traders. In terms of the time frame the following statement has been issued, ‘the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible…existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP’; although self-employed people can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance.

The Government announced the following information in relation to deferring tax liabilities:

  • They are deferring VAT payments for 3 months (until the 30th of June 2020) for all UK Businesses
  • This will be delivered via HMRC
  • This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Self-assessed Income Tax payments due for the self-employed people in July 2020 will be deferred to January 2021:

  • This will be delivered via HMRC
  • This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

HM Treasury has confirmed that the introduction of the IR35 tax avoidance reforms to the private sector will be deferred until 2021 as part of a package of measures to support businesses through the Covid-19 Coronavirus outbreak. Barclay said ‘the start date for the private sector roll-out of the IR35 reforms will be postponed for 12 months until 6 April 2021’.

Self-employed safety net strengthened

Government is also strengthening the safety net for self-employed people too, by suspending the minimum income floor for everyone affected by the economic impacts of coronavirus:

  • This means every self-employed person can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees


Read Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s statement in full please click HERE.

If your business is affected by the outbreak of Coronavirus, there are financial schemes and measures being put in place to help you overcome this uniquely challenging situation. The Growth Hub has collated the information in one place for you to access and will update this regularly as and when new guidance and information becomes available. Find out more by clicking here:

Other Useful Links: