Coronavirus: Chancellor Announces More Support for Small Businesses

Added: 21st March 2020

The Chancellor has announced additional measures to help small businesses and the self-employed affected by the coronavirus. 

Speaking last night (March 20), Rishi Sunak said the Government would introduce a new job retention scheme that will cover up to 80 per cent of wage costs – more details are to be confirmed – backdated to March 1 for a period of three months or longer, if needed, for small businesses, charities and not for profit organisations. Grants are due to be available within weeks.

The “unprecedented” measures will stop workers being laid off due to the crisis, said Mr Sunak.

The Government also confirmed that the business loans that were previously announced will be available from March 23 and will now be interest free for 12 months, rather than six.

Other measures to support firms and workers included: 

  • Deferring the next quarter of VAT until the end of June – those payments can now be made at the end of the financial year
  • Taxes – next self-assessment payment deferred to Jan 2021 for the self-employed
  • Increase in standard Universal Credit of £20 a week, with the same rise for those still on the working tax credit scheme
  • Nearly £1bn for those struggling to pay rent, through increases in housing benefit and Universal Credit
  • Suspension of the minimum income floor for the self-employed: self-employed people can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees

The Government has also said it will announce further measures to support self-employed people over the coming days.

For the latest information and Government advice and support for businesses and the self-employed affected by the coronavirus, please click here