Home » 20th March 2020 Daily Coronavirus / Covid19 update

20th March 2020 Daily Coronavirus / Covid19 update

Some amazing announcements from the chancellor tonight with some comments from me.

  • 80% of wages paid starting in April – (Unprecedented – contact HMRC to apply but will they be there to answer? Will this apply to all businesses or only those who have been told to close by the Government or staff who have been told isolated)
  • VAT payments to end of June deferred until the end of the year – (Great as long as customers still keep paying)
  • Next Self-Assessment payments deferred until Jan 2021 – (this will help but not until June)
  • Business Loans interest fee for 12-months – (This is good again if we can actually access this from the bank)

If the government can back this up with the infrastructure and deliver this then this will help a lot of small businesses and their employees.

Again we don’t have access to any of this now or full details of how to apply but it will be coming as soon as we know more we will let you know.

I have been contacted by many of you who are justifiably worried about your businesses especially around cashflow and paying staff. More and more business owners are considering redundancies for staff some are cutting pay and hours.

If you are thinking that is a possibility for you then this page has details of the payments your employees will be entitled to: https://www.gov.uk/redundancy-your-rights/redundancy-pay This is aimed at the employee but gives some good information. Please do take HR advice if you are going to go down this route.

However, I am optimistic that tonight’s announcements will help stop mass staff redundancies but we wait and see.

The Grants

There is no further news on this other than you will be contacted by the local authority – I am not optimistic on this because the councils will have their own staff issues and I can’t see they will be able to deal with 1000’s of grant applications any time soon.

We are not sure how the Local Authority will ascertain that your business is entitled to the higher grant level but one idea is to make sure your SIC code at Companies House shows that you are actually in the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sector. If you could be in this sector we will review these for you today and talk to you before changing them. It may help we don’t know at this time.

Loans – no news here yet but will keep you posted.

Time to pay

The time to pay line is extremely busy – Carly attempted to call to get some guidance for you and here is her experience yesterday…

There are not many tax advisers in right now so expect to be on hold a while (literally hours…) it does say if it’s not an emergency then call next week where they’re hoping to be less busy. I’ve stopped trying now (an hour and 4 minutes last night and now 20 minutes this morning) but I feel bad hogging the line when it’s not an emergency. Will try next week again like they say on the automated message.


BUT what it did say is it’s a helpline for businesses and self-employed concerned about paying upcoming and outstanding tax liabilities due to coronavirus, which gives me a good idea that it’s not just going to be say March’s liability they can help with. Probably safe to say it’ll be whatever’s outstanding (so February’s, March’s) and then “upcoming” (so April & May?)


Anything to do with recovering SSP or benefits etc isn’t what that number is for. Literally is to help with spreading payments for self-assessment, PAYE, VAT & corp tax.

We will try again next week and get some answers in the meantime if you have tax due call the number but be prepared to wait a while.

Please feel to call if you have any particular concerns or worries but we will keep you posted with news as it comes in.