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NEWS BUSINESS SUPPORT


BUSINESS SUPPORT GUIDE: WHAT GOVERNMENT HELP IS OUT THERE?


With the chancellor pledging an extra £350 billion for companies affected by the coronavirus crisis, plus additional initiatives for SMEs, TTG outlines the key takeaways


O


n 17 March, chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined a number of specific measures to support the


travel, tourism and hospitality sector, which has made several urgent pleas for additional aid following the 11 March Budget, which offered businesses some initial relief. A new £330 billion government-


backed loan scheme will be available from this week, while a broader business rate “holiday” for smaller firms, announced in the Budget, will be extended across the leisure, hospitality and retail sectors. The chancellor has also set out a


package of measures to support public services, people and companies through this period of massive disruption. This includes schemes to support


companies, worth in excess of an additional £20 billion. Among these are: • A statutory sick pay relief package


for SMEs • A 12-month business rates holiday


for all retail, hospitality and leisure firms in England


• Small business grant funding of


£10,000 for all firms in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief, up from £3,000


• Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure companies with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 • The aforementioned Coronavirus


10 TRAVEL TRADE GAZETTE 23.03.2020


Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable companies who may need to respond to cash flow pressures by seeking additional finance • The HMRC Time to Pay service


Support for businesses paying employees sick pay Legislation is being brought forward to allow SMEs and employers to reclaim statutory sick pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to Covid-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows: • This refund will cover up to two


weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of Covid-19 • Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible, with the size of an employer determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020 • Employers will


be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of Covid-19 • Employers should maintain


records of staff absence and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note


• The eligible period for the scheme


will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force • The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up a repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible


Support for businesses that pay business rates Business rates are devolved, but more than £3.5 billion in additional funding will be provided to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The government will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England in the 2020/21 tax year. Companies that


received the retail discount in the 2019/20 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible. A £25,000 grant will


be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure firms operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value


between £15,000 and £51,000. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be


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