Coronavirus: Guidance for businesses and individuals

The UK Government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19), announced in the Chancellor’s Budget 2020 speech and subsequent briefings, includes measures to protect businesses from the economic impact. With all of the UK’s businesses now facing a more challenging year, here are some of the key details and sources of guidance.

Support for businesses

An overview of the support currently available:

Relief Details Administrator
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Payable from Day 1
for eligible individuals diagnosed with coronavirus or those unable to work because of self-isolation
More information about SSP for affected employees
Business rates
retail discount
Increased to 100% for the next 12 months
and extended to leisure & hospitality sectors
Automatic from Local Authorities via (reissued) council tax bill
Small business
rate relief
Grant of £10,000 to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses if rateable value of commercial property
is under £15,000
Automatic from Local Authorities.
Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has published guidance for local authorities
Small business rate grants £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from premises with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 Automatic from Local authorities
Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has published guidance for local authorities
Business Interruption
Loan Scheme
Government provides 80% guarantee against debt finance and will cover fees and the first 12 months’ interest payments for facilities up to £5m. Loans available for up to 6 years British Business Bank via participating providers
UK businesses with turnover up to £45m eligible
Time To Pay Case-by-case arrangements for businesses and
self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities
(see below)
Dedicated HMRC helpline is 0800 0159 559
Covid Corporate Financing Facility Larger business ‘making a material contribution to the UK economy’ can finance working capital by selling commercial paper maturing in 1 week to 12 months. Businesses do not need to have previously issued commercial paper. Businesses must be in ‘sound financial health’, evidenced by an appropriate credit rating. Bank of England via banks
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme


Government grants for up to 80% of salary of employees who would otherwise be laid off and are furloughed up to £2,500 per employee, backdated to 1 March HMRC
Scheme to be opened “before the end of April”
VAT The next quarterly VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June will be deferred until 31 March 2021. VAT returns should still be filed on time Automatic
No application needed, though direct debits may need to be cancelled
Business rates holiday for nursery business Business rates holiday for 2020/2021 tax year for properties rented by Early Years nurseries Automatic from Local Authorities via (reissued) council tax bill
Technology challenge to support people who are self-isolating Funding of up to £25,000 available to technology companies who can find digital ways to support people staying at home, e.g. providing remote social care, boosting volunteer sector, improving mental health support NHS TechForce19
Protection from eviction Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent until 30 June protected from eviction. However, this is not a rental holiday Automatic
Extension for filing accounts Businesses can apply for a three month extension for filing accounts, which will be automatically granted if delay is due to Covid-19 Companies House


Support for individuals

Relief Details Administrator
Income tax Income tax self-assessment payments due on 31 July 2020 deferred till 31 January 2021.  No penalties or interest Automatic
No application needed
Universal credit Self-employed people can now access full universal credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay HMRC
Mortgage holiday Mortgage borrowers can apply for a 3 month payment holiday. Both residential and buy-to-let mortgages are eligible. Interest will continue to be charged on the amount they owe and didn’t pay Direct from lender
Rent holiday Tenants can apply for a 3 month payment holiday. No one can be evicted from their home or have their home repossessed over the next 3 months Direct from landlord
Refund of season tickets People working at home can apply for a refund of their season tickets Relevant rail operators, including Transport for London
Hardship fund £500 million fund to provide council tax relief to those receiving Local Tax Council Support Local Councils


Other measures

  • Mortgage lenders have agreed they will support customers that are experiencing issues with their finances as a result of coronavirus, including through payment holidays of up to 3 months. This will give people the necessary time to recover and ensure they do not have to pay a penny towards their mortgage in the interim
  • It’s been confirmed that government advice to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres etc is sufficient for businesses to claim on their insurance where they have appropriate business interruption cover in place for pandemics
  • To support the food industry and help provide meals for people who need to self-isolate, planning regulations will be relaxed to allow pubs and restaurants to start providing takeaways without a planning application

For the latest details, please check the HM Treasury page COVID-19: support for businesses.

More advice on how to improve your cashflow through lockdown can be found on our blog.

HMRC and Time To Pay

For those who are unable to pay due to coronavirus, HMRC will discuss your specific circumstances to explore:

  • Agreeing an instalment arrangement
  • Suspending debt collection proceedings
  • Cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately

More details are available on the government page If you cannot pay your tax bill on time.

There’s never a good time to be the subject of a tax investigation, but our experienced team can help you secure the best possible outcome. Find out more on our tax investigations page.

We also offer a Tax Fee Protection Service to give clients increased peace of mind in case of an HMRC investigation. There’s more information about the service here.

Monitoring cashflow

Over the coming months, many SMEs will be paying closer attention to their business cashflow and the processes related to it. Our suggestion to clients would be to use what may be a quieter time to talk to us about outsourcing and get on top of your bookkeeping, so that you have the numbers to monitor their cashflow and provide them to lenders, including HMRC when agreeing Time To Pay or loans.

For more information, please see our dedicated page on responding to coronavirus, our advice on Covid-19 for investors or get in touch using our enquiry form.



Sam Inkersole

In 2022, Sam won the Taxation’s Rising Star award at the Taxation Awards in and was named in the Accountancy Age 35 Under 35.

Jon Wedge

While Jon’s client work focuses on the financial services sector, he also oversees the firm’s assurance service, as well as supporting the trainees following in his footsteps.


Elana joined us in 2017 as an ACA trainee, after graduating from Durham University where she had studied languages. She is now a manager in our assurance team.


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