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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business briefing – 19 May 2020

Larger businesses to benefit from loans of up to £200 million
Businesses will be able to benefit from larger loans under the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), the government announced today.

The maximum loan size available under the scheme will be increased from £50 million to £200 million to help ensure those large firms which do not qualify for the Bank of England’s COVID Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) have enough finance to meet cashflow needs during the outbreak.

The expanded loans, which have been introduced following discussions with lenders and business groups, will be available from Tuesday, May 26.

John Glen, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said: “We’re determined to support businesses of all sizes throughout this crisis and our loans and guarantees have already provided over £32 billion to thousands of firms.

“Today we’re increasing the maximum loan to £200 million to make sure companies get the help they need.”

Companies borrowing more than £50 million through CLBILS will be subject to restrictions on dividend payments, senior pay and share buy-backs during the period of the loan, including a ban on dividend payments and cash bonuses, except where they were previously agreed.

You can find more information here.

UK sets out post-Brexit tariff regime
The Government announced this morning the UK’s new MFN (‘Most Favoured Nation’) tariff regime, the UK Global Tariff (UKGT) which will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff on 1 January 2021 at the end of the Transition Period. Full details are available here.

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
From Tuesday May 26, small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, will be able to apply to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees.

Employers will be able to make claims to the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme through a new online service. Employers will receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP that they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.

HMRC has published online guidance which includes information about who can use the scheme and the records employers must keep. Click here to find out more.

Furloughed workers urged to apply for seasonal farm jobs
Environment Secretary George Eustice has urged furloughed employees to join a new ‘land army’ of seasonal workers on British farms.

Speaking at today’s Downing Street conference, he announced that the government had partnered with industry to launch the Pick for Britain website (click here) to help match up available opportunities with local jobseekers.

He said only about one third of the people who would normally migrate to the UK to do work are already here, so this year the country will have to rely on British workers to lend a hand to bring the harvest home.

“Those who are furloughed, who maybe want to lend a hand and play a part, or who may want to supplement their income with another job, I would urge them to visit the website and look at the opportunities,” he said.

Department for International Trade Webinars
The Department for International Trade is running a series of webinars to help businesses through coronavirus:

  • Logistics and movement of goods during COVID-19  – 20 May: click here
  • Risk management when considering new markets - 21 May: click here
  • Managing disruption of supply chains during COVID-19 – 22 May: click here

Additional updates and guidance

HMRC advice for people choosing to give up their income to support their business or donate to charity during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
Find the full guidance here.

Legionella risks during the coronavirus outbreak
Employers, the self-employed and people in control of premises, such as landlords, have a duty to identify and control risks associated with legionella. Find out further information here.

Get a payment deferral or deregister from money laundering supervision due to coronavirus
Check if you can get a payment deferral or deregister if you are a business with an annual fee due between 1 May and 30 September 2020. Find out more information here.

Support for care homes
New guidance sets out the support package to keep care homes safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Care providers can find the details of the support package and additional advice and resources to help stop the spread of infection here.

Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus outbreak in England
Guidance has been updated (available here), including a new section clarifying the position on welcoming back all children to early years settings from 1 June 2020, information on when childminders can reopen to more children, and what provision they can currently provide, information on testing for essential workers, and information for parents on temporary changes to the 30 hours free early education entitlements.

Recreational general aviation
Updated government coronavirus advice (available here) means that recreational general aviation flying is now allowed from English airfields or flying sites and if social distancing measures are strictly observed. Click here for more information.

Everyone in the United Kingdom with COVID-19 symptoms is now eligible for coronavirus tests
Everyone in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with coronavirus symptoms can now get a test. Find out more information here.

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do
Frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak have been updated – click here.