The UK is among the countries worst-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 38,168 positive cases and 3,605 fatalities as of 4th April 2020. To combat the economic repercussions of the ongoing health crisis, the government has announced several schemes that will provide financial aid to workers, public services and businesses alike.
- Commercial tenants unable to pay rent due to COVID-19 are protected from eviction.
- Employers can claim a grant to cover 80% of a furloughed employee’s usual monthly wages (up to £2,500 per month) – in addition to associated contributions under the Employer National Insurance, and the minimum automatic enrolment employer pension.
- For the 2020-21 tax year, a business rates holiday has been announced for leisure, retail and hospitality businesses in England. Businesses in these sectors will also receive cash grants of maximum £25,000 per property.
- VAT payments for businesses will be deferred for three months. Self-assessment payments can be deferred until January 2021.
- Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) can reclaim up to two weeks of Statutory Sick Pay for employees who take a leave of absence due to COVID-19.
- Self-employed persons can avail a taxable grant for 80% of their trading profits (up to £2,500 per month) for the following three months. This period may be extended if required.
- For the 2020-21 tax year, nurseries in England can also access a business rates holiday.
- Small businesses that are receiving a rural rate relief or small business rate relief will be provided a grant of £10,000.
- The British Business Bank will offer loans of maximum £5 million to SMEs for up to six years, delivered through commercial banks. The government will also provide Business Interruption Payment for the first 12 months – to cover interest payments and lender-levied fees – and provide a guarantee of 80% on every loan.
- There will be a government guarantee of 80% on loans of up to £25 million taken by large businesses. The Bank of England will also help support liquidity in larger firms by purchasing short-term debts from these businesses.
- On a case-by-case basis, businesses and self-employed persons facing financial distress and having outstanding tax liabilities may qualify for tax support.
Skilled workers, businesspersons, and self-employed individuals across the globe will be taking note of these measures, which are intended to maintain the standard of living and well-being of UK’s population. Once the new merit-based UK immigration
system is launched on 1st January 2021, there is no doubt that the country will only propel its reputation as one of the most coveted immigration destinations in the world.