Today 20/03/20 the Chancellor has released additional financial measures.  The scale is unprecedented.  Clearly things are escalating very quickly.  The Government is putting together a massive financial package to support us all, at this extremely difficult time.  Here is a brief summary of today’s measures:

• Job Retention Scheme
o The Government will pay up to 80% for wages of employees unable to work due to the Coronavirus pandemic, up to £2,500 per month
o This will be provided via a grant to the employer, who can also top up if required
o This will be backdated to 1st March and is initially available for 3 months, but may be extended
o Details to be agreed within weeks, to be paid by end of April
o All employers eligible
Smarter View – This is an extremely generous measure.  However, the details need to be understood.  In particular, partial layoffs, company directors, zero contract employees.

• Update to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
o These loans will now be interest free for 12 months
o Chancellor confirmed that they would be available from Monday 23rd March
Smarter View – Clearly attractive loan options, however, detail still needs to be understood. It is also imperative that any business considering this scheme as an option, has a very clear understanding of the financial commitments for the period of the loan. If you need assistance, please contact us >>

• Further Support for businesses and individuals paying tax
o No business will pay VAT from now until June, and they’ll have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills
o Self Assessment tax payments due in July, will now be deferred until 31 January 2021
Smarter View – The VAT payment deferment needs clarification, we are not currently clear on what payments are being deferred and when they need to be paid by. More will become clear in the coming days.  Any help to business cash flow is welcomed, however, businesses must not lose sight that these sums will need to be paid in the future.

• Support for Self Employed
o Universal Credit limits changed to ensure that self employed can access and at the same rate as SSP
o Working Tax Credit levels also adjusted accordingly
Smarter View – Help for the self employed and small business owners is gratefully received, but the package of measures results in winners and losers.  For Universal Credit enquiries please go to Universal Credit.

These measures require a great of clarification and tonight the Chancellor announced that the detail will be forthcoming over the comings days/weeks and that we need to be patient. At Smarter, we monitor and update as things develop. If you wish to discuss anything, please do not hesitate to get in contact >>.

There are of course other items that are relevant at this time and there is a wealth of information out there, that you may find useful:

• The Federation of Small Businesses have provided a useful information website.
• HM Government also provide useful information here

At Smarter we are following Government advice.  Our Offices are closed for appointments but continue to be staffed on a skeleton basis.  Over the last few months, we have enhanced our abilities for remote working, enabling us to offer video conference meetings, telephone calls, and other electronic communications.  We have also embraced cloud accounting technology.  Over the coming months we will continue to offer a valuable service for our clients because of these measures.

Best wishes and stay safe from the Smarter Team.

Parliament Update