Covid-19 has presented businesses across the globe with a series of unprecedented challenges. Interruptions to business caused by lockdown measures have presented an existential threat to entire industries, and it’s been the smaller businesses which have suffered most.
Recognising the importance of these types of business, the UK government has been keen to lend them support – and they’ve borrowed vast sums in order to do so. There was the furlough scheme, which allowed employers to retain their staff while the business went into effective hibernation; then there was another measure, announced in the July mini-budget, which presented firms with an extra £1,000 for keeping furloughed workers in employment.
So what might your business do to survive the long-term effects of the lockdown?
VAT and self-assessment payments can be deferred to a later date. In the former case, payments due between the 20th March and the 30th June can be paid any time between now and 31st March 2021. If you have cancelled a direct debit in order to defer the payment, you may need to set up a new one.
Businesses operating in certain sectors of the economy are more vulnerable than those in others. In England, business rate relief is available to reflect this. If you’re working in retail, hospitality or leisure, then you might be entitled to the relief. The good news is that your local council should apply this automatically. However, if you are not getting the relief that you think you’re entitled to, then it’s worth getting in touch with them to clear things up.
Claim Statutory Sick Pay
Employers are able to claim up to two weeks of statutory sick pay for those unable to work due to coronavirus. This does not necessarily means that you need to prove that they’ve had coronavirus. Workers who’ve stayed at home because they live with someone who displayed symptoms might be eligible, as might those who’ve been shielding because they are more vulnerable to the virus.
Apply for Government Financing
There are three types of government-backed financing available to small businesses: the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (available through specialist lenders like Nucleus Commercial Finance), the Coronavirus Future Fund, and the Bounce Back Loan. Each of these has their own particular strengths and weaknesses, so be sure to examine the options and determine which best suits the needs of your business.