17 March 2020

2020 Budget: the measures announced to support small businesses

The 2020 Budget announcement last week reported the steps that the Government is taking to help ease the impact of COVID-19 and support small businesses in the UK.

Further measures taken to provide support to the most affected sectors are to be announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer today, Tuesday 17th March 2020.

A summary of the measures announced thus far is set out below.

The new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme has been created to support smaller businesses through a total of £1bn in lending. Per company, a bank loan of up to £1.2m is to be guaranteed by the Government. 

In light of the viral pandemic that the UK workforce is currently experiencing, smaller businesses are becoming concerned by the costs of Statutory Sick Pay. The Government has announced that, for companies with 250 or fewer employees, it will be refunding statutory sick pay for 14 days.

While it is unlikely that those who are self-employed will qualify for Statutory Sick Pay, there are new steps in place to help cushion them from the blow of the virus. It will now be easier to make a claim for Universal Credit and Contributory Employment and Support Allowance.

Small businesses that don’t pay business rates could receive a £3,000 cash injection. The grants are worth a total of £3bn, and the aim is to support smaller companies that are likely to suffer from any future strain on the UK economy.

SME premises valued under £51,000 in the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors are about to have their business rates temporarily scrapped. It’s one way the Government hopes to soften the blow from the aftermath of COVID-19.

To ensure new entrepreneurs aren’t deterred from starting businesses, the Government is extending start-up loans. This new funding amounts to an extra £130m to support the UK’s start-up community.

The Chancellor also announced that £5bn is being placed in new business export loans and HMRC tax payment extensions are in place. These changes are designed to ease the pressure on the cash flow of businesses. 

With further announcements coming today, remember to check in for the latest updates.


Jen Latimer