13 Mar 2020

Coronavirus emergency fund – what it means for you

Newly-appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivered his first Budget earlier this week (March 11).

It included a £30bn emergency package to help the UK economy weather the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and comes following a direct plea from Bira.

Here’s what the measures will mean for BAGMA members – and how to access help.

Coronavirus crisis package:

  • Business rates abolished for one year for retailers and cafe owners in England with a rateable value of below £51,000
  • Sick pay payments refunded to small retail businesses with fewer than 250 staff for up to 14 days absence for anyone suspected to have coronavirus
  • ‘Business interruption’ loans of up to £1.2 million for small retail businesses
  • Any company eligible for small business rates relief (SBRR) or Rural Rate Relief may be eligible for a £3,000 cash grant
  • New HMRC helpline launched to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due.

As part of the Budget, Mr Sunak also announced that there would be an extra £640m for Scotland, £360m for Wales, and £210m for Northern Ireland. Business rates are devolved and there is now pressure for Ministers to match the changes in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Andrew Goodacre, CEO of Bira, BAGMA’s parent company, said: "We asked the Government for an emergency fund to support businesses in the wake of the coronavirus crisis and they listened.

"It looks like the Government has made real effort to support small businesses but we remain concerned for those with a rateable value of above £51,000, especially those with less than 250 employees. These are also small businesses but they are not getting much help - if any.

"We would also like to see Ministers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland agree to match the changes to business rates set out for England."

For more information on the Government's measures to help small businesses through the coronavirus crisis click here.

To access all the latest health and safety advice to help you deal with coronavirus, click here.


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