||The Government is aware that COVID-19 presents unprecedented challenges to many UK businesses including the pubs sector. In order to support public services, individuals and businesses through the economic disruption caused by COVID-19 the Government announced an unprecedented £330 billion support package of temporary, timely and targeted measures. These included the introduction of a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank, and a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms. The total of the available guarantees is equivalent to 15% of UK GDP. The package also gave all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, including the pubs sector in England, a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months; and increasing grants to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief from £3,000 to £10,000. To assist the smallest SME’s the Government announced the new Bounce Back Loans Scheme, which will ensure that the smallest businesses can access up to £50,000 loans in a matter of just days. These loans will be from £2,000 up to £50,000, capped at 25% of firms’ turnover. The Government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee on each loan, to give lenders the confidence they need to support the smallest businesses in the country. In addition, the Government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments and fees charged to the business by the lender and no repayments will be due during the first 12 months of the loan term, giving businesses the space they need to get through this difficult period.
In addition to the Small Business Grant Scheme, the Government will grant small businesses in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors a higher grant of £25,000 per property, for each property that has a rateable value above £15,000 and below £51,000. Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors which aren’t eligible for Small Business Rate Relief/Rural Rates Relief, will be eligible for a £10,000 grant per property, for each property that has a rateable value of £15,000 or below.
Further economic support for businesses, employees and individuals was announced on 20 March: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses. The announcement included a new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. It also included VAT deferral for all businesses, so UK VAT registered businesses will not need to pay any VAT due alongside their normal VAT return from 20 March through to the end of June – a deferral worth over £30 billion or 1.5% of GDP. Businesses will have until the end of the financial year (31 March 2021) to pay back any deferred VAT. This is to help support businesses with their cash flows and support individuals’ employment.
The Government is monitoring the impact of these measures, including the extent to which they are supporting business sectors, such as the pubs sector, and is keeping the situation under review. All taxes are kept under review and are a matter for the Chancellor to consider at each Budget.