Update

It’s been a challenging and fast-moving week and we hope you’re well and coping with what’s going on in the world.

We would like to remind you that we are moving office today. The new address and contact number are at the footer of this email.

We understand that you will continue to have concerns at this time. We’re deep in a public health emergency and due to the coronavirus outbreak, there has been unprecedented market volatility. It’s a fast-moving, uncertain time in our lives.

As a team, we are meeting daily to discuss the situation; and while we are focussed on the long term, be assured that we are watching the markets closely and should we see an opportunity which we feel will benefit you, we will make or suggest a change.

As we’ve said previously, we encourage you all to focus on your long-term plans and not the short term movements, however difficult that may be. We believe the markets will recover over time.

We will continue to keep you updated, and although we may not physically be in the office, we are still on the other end of the line, so please call or email us. We have been conducting Zoom meetings internally and with clients, which are working very well, so if you’d like to ‘meet up’ with us, give us a shout, we’re around!

The good news to come out this week is that the Government has reacted quickly and proactively to helping both individuals and small businesses cope with the current climate.

As well as significantly cutting interest rates, the Chancellor has unveiled a package of financial measures to shore up the economy against the impact of coronavirus. There may be some grants and reliefs that are available to you – we have outlined these below. The aim is to help businesses and individuals alike who have been financially affected.

It is likely that more financial aid will be made available over the coming days/weeks. We will do our best to keep you informed.

Business Loans

£330 billion of loans are being made available to companies to help bridge cash flow. The size of the loans will depend on the size of the company.

Businesses that need access to cash to pay suppliers, pay rent and pay salaries will be able to access government-backed loans on attractive terms.

To support small and medium-sized businesses, the amount that can be borrowed through the ‘Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme’ has been increased from £1.2 million to £5 million. Businesses will be able to access the first 6 months of finance interest-free as the government will cover the interest during those initial 6 months.

To support larger firms, a new lending facility is being launched by the Bank of England to help large firms bridge their cash flow through loans. This will act as a quick and cost-effective way to raise working capital via the purchase of short-term debt to fund short-term liabilities. Details on how to access funding will follow.

The government have the legal powers to offer whatever further financial support is needed through the COVID Bill.

Business Rates Support

All retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England will receive a 100% business rates ‘holiday’ for the next 12 months.

Small Business Rate Relief is being increased from £3,000 to £10,000. Eligibility is based on those who already qualify for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief and received the retail discount in the 2019/20 tax year. Grant money is likely to be available in early April. The aim is to support Britain’s 700,000 smallest businesses across all sectors of the economy.

Further grants of £25,000 will be available to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value of over £15,000 and below £51,000.

Business owners will be contacted by their local authority – they will not need to apply.

Mortgage support

Mortgage lenders have agreed to help customers that are experiencing issues with their finances as a result of Covid-19, including ‘payment holidays’ of up to 3 months.

Who qualifies?

The measures are aimed at those that have to apply for emergency benefits such as employment support allowance – this is largely to help those who are self-employed. The government is yet to announce exactly how the ‘mortgage holiday’ will play out. We are also yet to see the support provided by individual lenders; it is likely to be on a case by case basis. Those that may qualify are encouraged to contact your lender and explain your circumstances.

Mortgage repayments are likely to be deferred for a period and the monthly charges set to zero to help with the shortfall in income.

Insurance

Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered. The advice that the government has given suggesting that we avoid pubs, restaurants and theatres is sufficient to make a claim.

More to come

We are still expecting the government to provide additional support to protect renters and to help protect people, jobs and income. Let’s see what the coming weeks bring.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in contact.