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What Government support can you get?

Published on 29 May 2020

With coronavirus leaving many people unable to work, or out of work, the Government has set out some short-term measures to help people during this period. 

Support for employed workers

If you're employed, most Government support will come through your employer. HMRC will currently reimburse 80% of wage costs for workers who have been furloughed (granted a leave of absence) because their workplace has closed due to coronavirus. On 12 May, the Government announced that this scheme will run until the end of October.

Support for self-employed workers

If you're self-employed, the Government help includes:

  • A taxable grant up to 80% of trading profits (up to the value of £2,500) for the next 3 months. You’ll need to fit the eligibility criteria to be able to claim this.
  • Income tax payments due on 31 July 2020 can be deferred until 31 January 2021. If you need to defer a payment, there will be no interest or penalties for doing so in this time.
  • VAT payments due before 30 June 2020 can be delayed until 31 March 2021. No payments need to be made in this period.
  • Any VAT liabilities that have built up during the deferral period won’t need to be paid by tax payers until 31 March 2021.1
  • The Government will still pay VAT refunds and reclaims as normal.

You may be able to receive support from HMRC’s Time To Pay service if coronavirus is causing you financial distress and you have outstanding tax liabilities.2

Support for business

The Government has also put measures in place to help businesses, including:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which allows employers to get help in paying employee salaries, if employees would have otherwise been laid off. It’s available for UK employers with a PAYE scheme.
  • SMEs will be able to access a Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) relief package, which includes allowing them to reclaim SSP that's been paid for coronavirus absences.
  • Businesses in the hospitality, leisure, retail and nursery sectors in England are entitled to a 12-month business rates holiday.
  • SMEs may be able to apply for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) which is 100% guaranteed by the Government. It helps access finance more quickly during the pandemic, allowing SMEs to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover (capped at £50,000). There’ll be no fees, or interest, to pay for the first 12 months. After this period, interest will be charged at 2.5%. Eligibility criteria apply. 
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) helps SMEs access loans and other types of finance up to £5 million. 80% of the finance is guaranteed to the lender by the Government, with any fees and interest being paid for the first 12 months. Eligibility criteria apply.
  • UK-based innovative companies who rely on equity investment and are facing difficulty due to the pandemic may be eligible for the Future Fund scheme. This is where the Government provides convertible loans between £125,000 to £5 million (subject to at least equal match funding from private investors). You can apply up to the end of September 2020. Eligibility criteria apply.
  • VAT payments due before 30 June 2020 can be delayed until 31 March 2021. No payments need to be made in this period. 
  • If you choose to defer your VAT payment as a result of coronavirus, you must pay the VAT due on, or before, 31 March 2021.1
  • The Government will still pay VAT refunds and reclaims as normal.

Businesses may also be able to speak to HMRC and receive help via the Time To Pay service if they’re in financial difficulty with outstanding tax liabilities.

Some schemes are country specific and may differ in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There may also be eligibility criteria.

Support for renters

If you’re a tenant and you think you may struggle to pay your rent in light of coronavirus, you need to speak to your landlord directly.

Emergency legislation introduced following the coronavirus outbreak means landlords won’t be able to start proceedings to evict tenants unless the tenant has missed more than 3 months of rent payments. This applies to private and social renters.

What next?

For more help and information on managing your finances through this time, visit our coronavirus guidance page. 

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