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Updates from the Clayton & Brewill team.

COVID-19: support for businesses 

20th March, 2020

In this update, the Clayton & Brewill team provides an overview of the package of temporary, timely and targeted measures set out by the Chancellor to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

The measures to support businesses include:

  • A statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs.Tax changes
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England.
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief.
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank.
  • A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans.
  • The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme.

Statutory sick pay

Any business with fewer than 250 employees will have the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay (per employee) refunded by the government in full. It will also apply from day one rather than the usual day four of illness — even if individuals have no symptoms.

Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website. 

How to access the scheme

A rebate scheme is being developed. Further details will be provided in due course once the legalisation has passed.

Business Rates

£10,000 grant for small businesses

Approximately 700,000 of the smallest businesses in England will be entitled to a one-off, non-repayable grant. Initially set at £3,000 in the Budget, this has now been increased to £10,000.

This is payable to those small businesses that are currently eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rate Relief. Any business eligible for those reliefs can apply for the emergency funding direct from their local authority.

If your business is eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief, you will be contacted by your local authority. You do not need to apply.

£25,000 Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.

Business Interruption Loan

The Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.

Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as the government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.


You are eligible for the scheme if:

1. Your business is UK based, with turnover of no more than £41 million per annum.

2. Your business meets the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria (see below).

How to access the scheme

The full rules of the Scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website. All the major banks will offer the Scheme once it has launched. There are 40 accredited providers in all.

You should talk to your relationship manager at your bank or finance provider as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them. This will help your finance provider to act quickly once the Scheme has launched.

If you have an existing loan with monthly repayments, you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to help with cash flow.

The scheme will be available from early next week commencing 23rd March 2020.

CBILS supports a wide range of business finance products, including:

  • Term facilities
  • Overdrafts
  • Invoice finance facilities
  • Asset finance facilities

To be eligible for support via CBILS, the small business must:

  • Be UK based, with turnover of no more than £41 million per annum.
  • Operate within an eligible industrial sector (a small number of industrial sectors are not eligible for support).
  • Have a sound borrowing proposal, but insufficient security to meet the lender’s requirements.

Finance terms are from three months up to ten years for term loans and asset finance, and up to three years for revolving facilities and invoice finance.

Read the full details on eligibility here.

HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.


You are eligible if your business:

  • pays tax to the UK government
  • has outstanding tax liabilities

How to access the scheme

If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559. If you’re worried about a future payment, please call us nearer the time.


The government has ruled that incoming IR35 regulations will not come into effect until 6 April 2021.

For full details, please visit the HMRC page, which is updated daily.

We understand that this is a worrying time.  If you have any questions or need advice on how to pro-actively manage the impact of COVID-19 on your business, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team, and we will be happy to provide additional guidance.

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