We are tracking all advice and developments regarding COVID-19 closely
in order to take measures to prevent the spread of infection and provide support to our members and the many thousands of companies in the UK advertising industry.
We urge all companies to check the following links to see where they are eligible for Government support. If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. Equally if you have any feedback on any of the Government schemes that you think would be useful for us to build into our ongoing conversations with Government, please let us know.
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy & Public Health England
This guidance includes all key COVID-19 business information: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
To summarise the Government schemes available:
HMRC COVID-19 helpline regarding tax issues: 08000 241222
Business Support Helpline: 0300 456 3565 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Any business will be eligible for this retention scheme, which will cover 80% of employees wages up to £2,500 p/m. Employees will be kept on the company payroll even if they are not working. This will also cover backdated wages to March 1. The Chancellor has announced that this scheme will run for at least 3 months and will be extended if necessary. More information can be accessed through HMRC and the first payments are expected by the end of April.
VAT deferred until June
VAT payments for the next quarter have been deferred, meaning businesses will not have to pay VAT from now until the end of June. Businesses will have until the end of the Tax Year to repay.
Tax deferral through Time to Pay service
All firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of COVID-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support with tax affairs through HMRC’s Time to Pay service. Each individual case is considered on a case-by-case basis. If you have missed a tax payment due to COVID-19, or may miss your next payment you can call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559. If you are worried about a future payment, call closer to the time.
Statutory Sick Pay Relief for SMEs
Employers with fewer than 250 people will be able to reclaim two weeks of SSP (£94.25 p/w) per employee for any employees who are off work because of Covid-19.
Statutory Sick Pay for the Self-Employed
The minimum income floor for the self-employed has been lifted, meaning that they will be able to access Universal Credit at the rate of SSP for employees (£94.25 p/w).
Income Tax Deferral for Self-Employed
Self-assessment income payments have been deferred until January 2021. This is an automatic offer, no applications are required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged.
Corona Virus Business Interruption Loan Scheme:
This is a temporary loan scheme, primarily supporting SMEs with accessing bank lending and overdrafts.
You are eligible if:
The Government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan and will not charge businesses or banks for the guarantee. The scheme will support loans up to £5 million, and businesses can access the first 12 months interest free (Government will cover the first 12 months of interest). Here is the list of accredited lenders and partners.
The scheme is available from 23 March 2020, you can apply directly through any accredited lender.
Business rates have been abolished for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, or those who qualify for small business rate relief.
Ban on evictions for commercial tenants
Commercial tenants who miss rent payments because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction for the next 3 months. Commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent after this period. More information can be found here.
Redundancy Payments Service
If an employer cannot afford statutory redundancy payments they can apply to the Redundancy Payments Service for financial assistance. If approved the RPS will make statutory redundancy payments to employees on the employer’s behalf. More information can be found here.
3 month extension to file accounts with Companies House
Any business that has been impacted by the pandemic can apply for a 3 month extension for filing their accounts. Companies will still need to apply for the extension, but citing issues around COVID-19 will automatically and immediately grant the extension. More information can be found here.
Self-employed Income Support Scheme
Self-employed and freelancers will be entitled to a taxable grant worth 80% of their average profit over the last 3 years, up to £2500 p/m. Payments will be provided on the basis of average earnings from the financial years 2016-17,17-18 and 18-19. Individuals will have 4 weeks from now to submit their 18-19 tax return to ensure this is accounted for them in payments.
To be eligible you must:
Make more than 50% of your income from self-employed activity
Earn less than £50,000 p/a
Have been self-employed in the 19/20 tax year (with a tax return for 2019)
Continue to be self-employed for the 20/21 tax year
HMRC will directly contact those who are eligible based on the records that they hold and invite them to apply for the scheme. Payments will be deposited directly into bank accounts.
The scheme is likely to be ready no later than early June. Until then, self-employed individuals can access the Coronavirus Business Interruptions Loan scheme, and those with non-working partners will be able to access Universal Credit in full, up to £1800.
We expect BEIS to update their webpageto include this information shortly.
Support for apprenticeship programmes
The Education and Skills Funding Agency has taken a number of steps to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus crisis on apprenticeships, including allowing the modification of assessments, extending assessment timeframes, and support for apprentices made redundant. More information can be found here.
Home Office and Immigration Enforcement
Right to work checks have been temporarily adjusted to make it easier for employers to carry them out. Employers can complete Right to Work checks over video calls and prospective workers can submit scanned documents to employers. Read more here.
HM Government Coronavirus Business Support
This page outlines the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, defining what it is, who’s eligible and how and when to access it. See here: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/self-employment-income-support-scheme/
HM Government Coronavirus Business Support
A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees. This page helps businesses find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply. Read more here: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/
Department for International Trade & UK Export Finance
This document contains guidance on COVID-19 for UK businesses that are trading internationally. It provides both Department for International Trade support and financial support. See here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-uk-businesses
Bank of England
This page is designed for companies, and banks acting on behalf of companies, that would like to participate in the HM Treasury and the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility. The facility is designed to support liquidity among larger firms, helping them to bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through the purchase of short-term debt in the form of commercial paper. Read more here.
British Business Bank
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now available through participating lenders. The scene can provide facilities of up to £5m for smaller businesses across the UK who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues, leading to disruptions in their cashflow. Read more here.
Dept of Health and Public Health England
Find out the number of cases and risk level in the UK, what to do if you have symptoms and what the Government is doing about the virus here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
The Budget has announced a plan to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses affected by Covid-19. This publication gives further detail on the measures announced by the Chancellor including additional funding, Statutory Sick Pay changes, and an increase in the Business Rates retail discount for one year: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19