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COVID-19: Business Support

SMMT updates the website regularly, but the most up to date information can be found on the government hub: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Get in touch with SMMT if you have any inquiries about COVID-19 – covid19@smmt.co.uk

  • Government Announcements and Updates – 26 March

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer made an announcement and published guidance on support being made available for self-employed persons, as well as comments on the finance support package for large businesses, the COVID-19 Corporate Finance Facility.

    In addition to this, the Government published new guidance on how the COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme will operate.

    The Government also published further updated information in the form of an FAQ on business closures and those that may remain open.

    Self-employment Income Support Scheme

    The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Applicants must:

    • Be self-employed or a member of partnership
    • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19.
    • File a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. Those who have not yet filed for 2018-19 will have an additional 4 weeks from this announcement to do so.
    • Have traded in 2019-20; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID-19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
    • Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
      • Your trading profits and total income in 2018/19
      • Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.

    The Chancellor said that this measure will support 95% of people who earn most of their income as self-employed. He added that, given this support, the Government will need to look at equalising the level of national insurance contributions paid by the self-employed in future to match the contributions paid by those in employment.

    Guidance is available here: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/self-employment-income-support-scheme/

    Job Retention Scheme – new guidance

    New Guidance on how the scheme will operate:
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

    The guidance provides information on:

    • Who can claim
    • Employees you can claim for
    • What you can claim
    • What you’ll need to make a claim
    • How to make a claim

    COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

    During his press conference Q&A, the Chancellor confirmed that Government is working with the Bank of England (BoE) to address credit ratings issues that have been raised over the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility. Essentially, they will include analysis of other evidence to allow the BoE to make its own assessment of credit viability. According to the Chancellor, guidance will be published later tonight.

    The existing guidance is published on the BoE website: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/news/2020/march/the-covid-corporate-financing-facility

    Business Closures and Stay at Home FAQs

    The Government has today published an FAQ to provide further guidance on business closures and stay at home requirements. The FAQ is available here: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/business-closures-and-stay-at-home-faqs/

    Government guidance includes:

    To reduce social contact and help stop the spread of coronavirus, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. A list of these businesses can be found here.

    With the exception of these organisations, the Government has not required any other businesses to close – indeed it is important for business to carry on.

    Where businesses continue to open, employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services. If your employees cannot work from home then they can still travel to work, provided they are well and no one in their household is self-isolating. This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

    Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).

    Coronavirus – clarification on businesses which can remain open – 25 March

    There has been conflicting advice and communication from Government over recent days in relations to businesses which must close and those which can remain open as part of the Government measures to address the spread of Covid-19.

    Last night, following the SMMT webinar, we sought clarification from Government, furthermore this morning there has been more detail added to guidance list of businesses which are exceptions to the closure order.

    As set out in the section on staying at home, people can travel to and from work, but only where the work they do absolutely cannot be done from home.

    With the exception of the organisations covered above in the section on closing non-essential shops and public spaces, the Government has not required any other businesses to close – indeed it is important for business to carry on.

    Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.

    Sometimes this will not be possible, as not everyone can work from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services.

    If you cannot work from home then you can still travel to work, provided you are well and neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating. This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer.

    Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).

    Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms. Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a 2 metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.

    No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.

    No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.As set out in the section on closing non-essential shops and public spaces, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. The Government has set out guidance on which organisations this requirement covers. Advice for employees of these organisations on employment and financial support is available at gov.uk/coronavirus.

    At all times, workers should follow the guidance on self-isolation if they or anyone in their household shows symptoms.

    Coronavirus – updated social distancing guidance/retail definition – 24 March

    Updated social distancing guidance

    The government has introduced three new measures:

    1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
    2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
    3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

    Full details: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others

    Critical workers
    Travel-to-and-from work is permitted for critical workers. These are outlined here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

    These include those in ‘Transport: This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.’

    Retail closures
    The announcement includes the forced closure of all non-essential retail outlets.

    • Showrooms will be expected to close.
    • Garages can remain open.

    Given the importance of garages, however, to the continued operation of emergency and essential services, we last night sought confirmation/approval from Government that garages could indeed remain open.

    This is now confirmed in the attached and amended guidance. Businesses will have to make their own commercial decisions as to how to respond but there is an undoubted need – a public interest – to ensure the ongoing service, repair and MOT of emergency and essential service vehicles and the vehicles of key workers.

    Full details:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close

    We have been asked about employees in garages travelling to their workplace, this is permitted, see above section on critical workers.

     

    DVSA Update – Heavy Vehicle Testing – 23 March

    Following SMMT input, DVSA has announced the suspension of heavy vehicle testing for 3 months, with immediate effect, invoking Clause 13, Force Majeure, of the contract between DVSA and the Authorised Testing Facilities where these tests are carried out.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-lorries-buses-and-trailers

    From 21 March all HGVs, trailers and PSVs with an annual test to expire in a particular month will be issued with a 3-month certificate of exemption (CTE) until further notice.

    DVSA wants to ensure that all heavy vehicles and trailers remain legal whilst the country deals with the COVID-19 outbreak. So DVSA will be implementing the provisions within the Plating and Testing Regulations and Motor Vehicle Test Regulations which provide for HGVs, trailers and PSVs to be exempted from the annual roadworthiness test.

    Paper certificates will not be re-issued for HGVs, trailers and PSVs but DVSA will amend the digital record so that vehicles can continue to operate.

    DVSA will be issuing further guidance in due course regarding the exemption process.

    The DVSA has highlighted that it recognises that the annual test is an important part of your business but, these are exceptional circumstances. DVSA will refund all reservation fees for events scheduled from 21 March 2020.

    Until notified you don’t need to ask us for additional testing capacity while exemptions are being issued.

    DVSA will issue further information as it becomes available to update on how it will deal with the quarterly booking process.

    Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

    The British Business Bank has confirmed that the CBILS is now available through participating lenders. The Scheme can provide facilities of up to £5m for smaller businesses across the UK who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues, leading to disruptions to their cashflow. Full details are available at: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

    Publishing Preliminary Financial Statements

    On Saturday (21 March) the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reported it has written to companies it was aware were intending to publish preliminary financial statements in the next few days to delay their planned publications. The FCA requested all listed companies observe a moratorium on the publication of preliminary financial statements for at least two weeks.
    The FCA confirmed it was in talks with the Financial Reporting Council and the Prudential Regulation Authority about a package of measures aimed at ensuring companies take the necessary time to prepare appropriate disclosures and address current practical challenges. The three bodies intend to announce details shortly.

    DVSA Guidance on Drivers’ Hours Relaxations – 20 March

    Emergency relaxations
    Both the GB and EU drivers’ hours rules automatically cease to apply in emergency situations where immediate preventative action is needed to avoid, amongst other things, danger to the life or health of people. The definition of an emergency is contained in domestic legislation (The Drivers’ Hours (Goods Vehicles) (Exemptions) Regulations 1986 and the Drivers’ Hours (Passenger Vehicles) (Exemptions) Regulations 1970).
    The department’s advice about emergency situations is if your journey is necessary to enable someone to:
    1. provide goods or services to protect public health, and/or
    2. meet their or others’ basic needs for day to day living, and/or
    3. provide medical treatment
    and there is a risk of danger to the life or health of people if your journey is not carried out; then you should make use of the emergency exemption.
    Operators do not need to ask the department for a temporary ‘urgent’ exemption for these type of journeys. The emergency exemptions cease to apply once the situation is under control and there is no longer a need for immediate preventative action.
    Existing drivers’ hours relaxations
    Four temporary relaxations of enforcement of drivers’ hours are currently in place:
    If the above goods form part of a mixed load, the relaxations may be applied, provided the purpose of the relaxation is at least a substantial part of the transport.

    Department for International Trade (DIT) COVID-19 Guidance

    DIT has published guidance to advise UK businesses on:
    • DIT support for UK business trading internationally
    • financial support for business trading internationally
    This guidance covers:
    • DIT support for UK businesses trading internationally
      • Supply chains affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)
      • International support for businesses involved in overseas projects
    • Financial support for British businesses trading internationally

     

    Chancellor’s announcement – 20 March

    In a further announcement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has introduced a number of significant measures, as well as strengthening others already announced, to support UK workers. [this will be updated with relevant links when possible].

    Job Retention

    The Government will be setting up new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Details include:

    • Any employer will be eligible to apply for the Scheme.
    • The Scheme will cover 80% of a worker’s salary, up to £2,500 a month.
      • Employers can top up salaries of workers if they want to.
    • The Scheme will be backdated to 1 March 2020.
    • The Scheme will be open for three months and last longer if needed.
    • There will be no limit to amount of money available for the Scheme.
    • The Government expects first grants to be paid in weeks and for the Scheme to be up and running by the end of April.
    • Employers can contact HMRC to cover most of the wages of people who are not working.
    • A major advertising campaign covering all the measures available to businesses will be running soon and businesses are asked to consider all the measures available before considering making any redundancies.

    Business Interruption Loan Scheme
    The Government announced that the Scheme will now be interest free for 12 months and that loans will be available from Monday.

    Tax and Benefit Support

    For the self-employed:

    • The Government will be suspending the minimum income floor, meaning that the self-employed can access Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay for employees.

    For others:

    • The next quarter of VAT payments will be deferred until June.
    • The Government will be increasing the Universal Credit standard allowance by £1000.
    • The Government will increase the working tax credit basic element by £1000.

    For renters:

    • The Government announced an additional £1 billion support for renters, to ensure that the local housing allowance will cover at least 30% of the cost of rents in a tenants’ area.

    Guidance on critical workers list – 20 March
    This morning, Government published guidance on critical workers eligible to continue to send their children to school – Guidance for schools, colleges and local authorities on maintaining educational provision.

    Further information is available on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

    The list is quite broad, but limited in its definitions. Importantly, if workers think they fall within the critical categories (see below) they should confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.

    A summary of the categories, and those most we believe are most relevant to automotive businesses (underlined), are provided below (N.B. this list is not exhaustive):

    Health and social care
    This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

    Education and childcare
    This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach.

    Key public services
    This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.

    Local and national government
    This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms-length bodies.

    Food and other necessary goods
    This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

    Public safety and national security
    This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas.

    Transport
    This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.

    Utilities, communication and financial services
    This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors.

    If your school is closed then please contact your local authority, who will seek to redirect you to a local school in your area that your child, or children, can attend.

    Business Rates Relief – 19 March

    Following the announcement made by the Chancellor on 17 March on a business rates holiday, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has released guidance to support local authorities in administering the business rates expanded retail discount. The guidance applies to England only.

    This relief will apply to occupied retail, leisure and hospitality properties in the year 2020/21. There will be no rateable value limit on the relief.

    As for the automotive industry, the following property types will also have no rateable value limit on the relief:

    • Car/caravan show rooms
    • Second hand car lots
    • Petrol stations
    • Car hire

    The list set out above is not intended to be exhaustive. The local authorities will use their discretionary relief powers, under section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 to grant relief. It will be for individual local billing authorities to adopt a local scheme and determine in each individual case when, having regard to this guidance.

    The guidance is available here.

    Chancellor’s announcement – 17 March

    Less than a week after delivering his first Budget Statement, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, made a further economic update in light of the rapid escalation of the Government’s and UK’s efforts to tackle the coronavirus, COVID-19. Please find below a summary of his update. The Chancellor made a further statement in the House of Commons later that evening.

    • £330bn extra in government backed guarantees – equivalent to 15% of GDP
    • New lending to be made available for large businesses from Bank of England
    • Business interruption loan scheme for SMEs now increased to up to £5m per loan, with no interest payable in first 6 months
    • A package of measures for airlines and airports will be introduced in coming days
    • The hospitality, retail and leisure sector received additional support:
      • Cash grants per business, up to £25k (for those with rateable value of <£51k) and whose insurance does not cover them for closure under a pandemic
      • Business rates holiday (12 months) for any business in these sectors, regardless of rateable value
    • For individuals:
      • Agreed with all lenders a 3-month mortgage holiday for homeowners impacted by the coronavirus
    • Will develop a new package of support measures in collaboration with businesses and unions, including looking at potential short-working time measures and where regulatory relaxation can be used to help businesses

    N.B. SMMT has sought clarification from HMT and BEIS on whether a dealership is covered under the Government’s working definition of retail or not. Further advice will be provided in due course.


  • In response to the COVID-19 situation, UK Government has set out a range of measures to support public services, people and businesses through the disruption caused by the coronavirus.

    All of these measures can be found at: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/

    All of these measures can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

    There is also a Government FAQ available at: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/faqs/

    Please find below details and links to the variety of measures published, which will be of most help to UK automotive businesses and associated supply chains. This support covers:

    • Employment Support
    • Business Finance
    • Tax Relief
    • Support for Exporters
    • Business support for companies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (information relevant to devolved business matters)

    Employment Support

    Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme


    https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme/

    New Guidance on how the scheme will operate was published on 26 March: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

    All UK employers will be able to access this support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

    How to access the scheme

    Your business will need to:

    • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
    • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

    HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The scheme will be backdated to 1 March 2020, but the scheme is not expected to be up and running until the end of April.

    HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

    Self-employment Income Support Scheme

    https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/self-employment-income-support-scheme/

    The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Applicants must:

    • Be self-employed or a member of partnership.
    • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19.
    • File a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. Those who have not yet filed for 2018-19 will have an additional 4 weeks from this announcement to do so.
    • Have traded in 2019-20; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID-19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
    • Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
      • Your trading profits and total income in 2018/19
      • Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.

    How to access the scheme
    Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid by the beginning of June 2020.

    HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational. HMRC will then pay the grant directly to eligible claimants’ bank account.

    For eligible individuals who have not submitted their returns for 2018-19, they will have 4 weeks’ notice from the date of the announcement to file their returns and therefore become eligible for this scheme.

    Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)

    https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay-rebate/

    Support for SMEs to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.

    The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
    • your business is UK based
    • this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
    • employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
    • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
    • 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
    • eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force
    • the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible

    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 Finance

    Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (ACTIVE)

    https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme/This Scheme, operated through the British Business Bank, supports SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years.There are 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks.Eligibility

    How to access the scheme

    • The scheme is now open for applications.
    • To apply, you should talk to your bank or one of the 40 accredited finance providers (not the British Business Bank) to discuss your business plan.

    Full rules of the scheme and the list of accredited lenders are available on the British Business Bank website.

    COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (ACTIVE)

    https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/covid-19-corporate-financing-facility/

    For larger firms - a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans.

    All non-financial companies that meet the criteria set out on the Bank of England’s website are eligible.

    How to access the scheme
    More information is available from the Bank of England.

    Small business grant funding
    [see also Business Rates under Tax Relief]

    https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/small-business-grant-funding/

    The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

    Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of £15,000 and under will receive a grant of £10,000.

    Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

    Eligibility
    You are eligible for the grant if:

    • your business is based in England
    • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

    Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

    • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
    • for assembly and leisure
    • as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

    How to access the scheme
    You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

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

    Tax Relief

    Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

    VAT
    https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/vat-deferral/

    The deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

    Eligibility
    All UK businesses are eligible.

    How to access the scheme
    This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

    Customers who normally pay by direct debit should cancel their direct debit with their bank if they are unable to pay. Please do so in sufficient time so that HMRC do not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of your VAT return.

    Income Tax

    https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/deferral-of-self-assessment-payment/

    For the self-employed, Income Tax payments due on 31 July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system may be deferred until January 2021.

    Eligibility
    If you are self-employed you are eligible.

    How to access the scheme
    This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged if you defer payment until January 2021

    Business Rates - 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure businesses in England

    https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/business-rates-holiday-for-retail-hospitality-and-leisure/

    Government will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

    Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

    Eligibility
    You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

    • your business is based in England
    • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

    As far as the automotive industry is concerned, properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used as/for:

    • Car/caravan show rooms
    • Second hand car lots
    • Petrol stations
    • Car hire

    How to access the scheme
    There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.

    You can estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year using the business rates calculator.

    HMRC ‘Time To Pay’ Scheme

    https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/time-to-pay/

    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 this service.

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

    Eligibility
    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 HMRC nearer the time.
    Support for Exporters

    Department for International Trade (DIT) COVID-19 Guidance

     

    • DIT has published guidance to advise UK businesses on:
    • DIT support for UK business trading internationally
      financial support for business trading internationally

    Full details are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-uk-businesses/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-uk-businesses-trading-internationally

    This guidance covers:

    • DIT support for UK businesses trading internationally
      • Supply chains affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)
      • International support for businesses involved in overseas projects
    • Financial support for British businesses trading internationally
      • Financial support for exporters
      • International business travel
      • DIT coronavirus (COVID-19) business support contacts
      • COVID19@trade.gov.uk
      • Contact your local embassy

    UK Export Finance (UKEF)

    Export Working Capital Scheme
    Helps UK exporters access working capital finance for specific export-related contracts. UK Export Finance can provide partial guarantees covering up to 80% of the risk to lenders to cover the credit risks associated with export working capital facilities both pre- and post-shipment.

    There is no minimum or maximum value for the working capital facility.

    Further guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/export-working-capital-scheme-overview-and-how-to-apply

    UK Export Finance - export insurance policy
    Can help exporters manage risks in challenging markets, ensuring that they get paid even where the private market is not able to offer insurance.

    The Export Insurance Policy offers cover against the risk of:

    • not being paid under an export contract
    • not being able to recover the costs of performing that contract because of certain events which prevent its performance or lead to its termination

    Further guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/export-insurance-policy

    Support for overseas buyers to continue buying from UK suppliers

    Under the Direct Lending Facility, UK Export Finance (UKEF) provides loans within an overall limit of £3 billion to overseas buyers, allowing them to finance the purchase of capital goods and/or services from UK exporters.

    The loans it provides for each transaction can be made in up to 8 currencies, with a value limit of £200 million (although more flexibility may be offered in limited circumstances).

    The funding provided is at a fixed rate of interest, based on the applicable Commercial Interest Reference Rate (CIRR) set by the OECD, or the cost of UK Government funds (National Loans Fund rates) if higher.

    Further guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/direct-lending-scheme

    Support for businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

    Because some elements of business support are devolved, the measures available may differ if your business is in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

    Businesses in Scotland
    View the latest guidance on coronavirus for businesses in Scotland.

    Businesses in Wales
    View the latest guidance on coronavirus for businesses in Wales.

    Businesses in Northern Ireland
    View the latest guidance on coronavirus for businesses in Northern Ireland.


  • Resources & guidance

    Ventilator manufacturing request

    The Government is seeking manufacturing industries to support the foreseen demand for extra ventilators through utilising spare capacity or other facilities and skills.

  • Upcoming webinars

    Tuesday 31 March 2020, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

    Join SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes and guests from Squire Patton Boggs and the Treasury to explore COVID-19 and the impact on the automotive sector.

    Topics will include:

    • People and business protection
    • SMMT asks and input to government and stakeholders
    • Current legislation for critical vehicles
    • What is “Furlough” and other funding available for business
    • Questions and concerns from members

    Speakers:

    • Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    • Jennifer Pheasey, Head of Policy, SMMT
    • Charlie Frost, Employment Partner, Squire Patton Boggs
    • TBC, HMT

    For more information on how SMMT is supporting the industry click here. If you have any questions or queries please email covid19@smmt.co.uk

    Register here

    Previous webinars

    Tuesday 24 March 2020, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

    SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes and UK Finance to explore COVID-19 and the impact on the automotive sector.

    Topics included:

    • People and business protection
    • SMMT asks and input to government and stakeholders
    • The Business Interruption Loan Scheme
    • Cash grants for small business
    • Business rate relief
    • Questions and concerns from members

    Speakers:

    • Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT
    • Jen Tankard, Principal, Commercial Finance and Invoice Finance and Asset Based Lending, UK Finance
    • Hannah Boardman, Deputy Director, Automotive Unit, Department Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
    • Jennifer Pheasey, Head of Policy, SMMT

    LISTEN HERE

    This recording has been edited to reflect the latest government guidance

  • Ventilator manufacturing request

    The Government is seeking manufacturing industries to support the foreseen demand for extra ventilators through utilising spare capacity or other facilities and skills.

    The Government has launched a portal for the registration of offers of help, which can be found here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/L5B32S/