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Coronavirus and 2020 Budget Update

Coronavirus 5-step Plan

There have been lots of questions circulating about the effects of Coronavirus on their business or the UK economy. It’s at this point you wish you had a crystal ball or a magic wand but the one thing we are certain of is that no matter what the outcomes, our clients, our contacts, ourselves and SMEs as a whole will pull together.

We have put together a quick 5 step plan that we hope will assist you with your planning and provide focus. Hopefully it will not be required but there is no doubt that planning and knowing ‘what you will do if …’ will help.

  • Communicate with your staff, customers and suppliers. There will be concerns and nervousness amongst some people. We know it is difficult but do not panic. Support staff, customers and suppliers and offer temporary solutions to assist them and you – for example, stay in regular contact, provide updates and reassure them that you are in control and have plans for all scenarios. Remember the experts predict that this is a short term challenge.
    • Where possible, set up facilities to remote work and rely on technology and cloud based solutions. Liaise with your IT departments and suppliers to ensure that in the event of a worsening position that your staff can carry out some work duties from other locations.
    • Keep travel to an essential minimum. We realise that it may not be possible to cut all travel – just as we can’t – but be committed to the well-being of your team. Consider alternative options such as online video meetings – remember others will also be facing similar challenges. If your staff do travel, consider providing antiseptic wipes, hand gel or offer guidance. (We won’t mention toilet roll here.)
    • Take advantage where possible of all support whether from your team, your customers, your suppliers, your advisers or the government through the budget announcements (see below). Working together will often find solutions that otherwise would not be entertained. There are not many examples in recent times of this situation to follow so we are all learning and dealing with it at the same time.
    • Ask for help. Don’t be afraid. People want to help. We want to help. Together the challenges will be less.

Just so you know, we have ensured that we are in a position to continue to service our clients whether from our main Stevenage office, a temporary office or our home offices. We realise this approach is not easy for all your businesses but there will be parts of your business that you can protect and function as close to normal as possible.

The ‘Coronavirus’ Budget

Following the Chancellor’s budget, we wanted to help clarify some of the key areas impacting SME’s. So here’s an overview of what it means for you:

  • Tax Employment Allowance Increased From £3,000 to £4,000

Providing you qualify, the tax employment allowance has been increased by £1,000. For many clients this will be a direct saving.

  • Corporation Tax Is Frozen At 19%

Despite previous plans to cut corporation tax to 17%, corporation tax appears to have remained at it’s current level.

  • Some Small Businesses To Receive A £3,000 Cash Grant

If you are a small business who is eligible for small business rates relief (ie. you pay no business rates for your offices), you may be able to receive a cash grant of £3,000. Naturally we are already investigating this for you and will advise further when we have more information.

  • Entrepreneurs Relief Lifetime Limit Cut By 90%

The entrepreneurs relief lifetime limit has been cut from £10m to £1m. The way in which you may plan to dispose of your capital assets, business investments (shares) etc. may need further consideration and planning.

  • Government To Pay For Two Weeks Sick Pay For Coronavirus

It is expected that the government will pay for the first 14 days of statutory sick pay. This would be a cost which otherwise your business would have to pay.  Sick leave will also be made available from day one, including for those self-isolating.

  • UK Living Wage To Increase

UK living wage is targeted to hit £10.50 an hour by 2024. This is debateable as to whether this is good news or bad news. It will depend on your own personal views and position. It will however be a potential cost increase that will need to be absorbed by your business.

  • National Insurance Threshold Increase

The national insurance threshold is to increase from £8,632 to £9,500.

  • Business Rates To Be Abolished For Some Businesses For One Year

Businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000 per annum will be eligible for a one year business rates suspension for businesses within the hospitality, leisure and retail industries. We are awaiting classification for the determination rules for the relevant business sector and will advise in due course.

There are many other parts of the Budget 2020 which may or may not be relevant that we have not covered above. Please feel free to contact one of the team to discuss any matters.

This is our first look at the budget and we are awaiting the full details behind some of the headline statements made. We will be providing further updates in due course.

If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Remember we can help in many areas both directly ourselves and through our partners. As a business community, we are there for each other during this Coronavirus crisis and beyond.

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