As called for by many businesses and commentators, the Chancellor has announced additional support for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Key measures relevant to digital technologies companies include:
- The UK Government is to pay 80% of wages for employees who are not working but are furloughed and kept on payroll, up to a limit of £2,500 per month/worker, back dated to 13th of March. Employers of all sizes can access this Coronavirus job retention scheme by contacting HMRC. It will be available for at least three months and there is no limit of funding for this scheme. The first grants are expected to be paid within weeks.
- To help with immediate cashflow problems, the next quarter of VAT payments will be deferred until the end of June. This means that no company will pay VAT from now until the end of June and has time until the end of financial year to repay the deferred bills.
- The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, offering up to £5 million, will now be interest free for 12 months, instead of the 6 months previously announced. The loans will be available from Monday.
- The Chancellor said that work is also under way to help medium and larger companies further to access credit.
In order to achieve further social distancing, the UK Government has now also told cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants to close their doors to customers as soon as possible tonight and not reopen again tomorrow (take-outs and home delivery still allowed though). This ask also covers nightclubs, cinemas, theatres, gyms and leisure centres. The Prime Minister said that he does not want to restrict transport network severely as they are needed to deliver public services. The UK’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer advised that children could go outside but shouldn’t socialise in groups.
We will provide further details on how to access these support measures as soon as they become available. In the meantime, please take 5 minutes to complete our COVID-19 Response Survey so that we know what further support you need: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SIScovid19