With the rapid development of the COVID-19 outbreak across the world, the budget on 11 March has kept a lower profile than would normally be the case, and many of the announcements that were made have now been superseded.
Which budget announcements have since been revised?
The 'off-payroll' rules introduced in April 2017 for those working in the public sector were due to be extended to the private sector in April 2020, albeit with slightly different rules attached.
This was aimed at arrangements under which contractors provide services to a customer through an intermediary company that they control, where the nature of the arrangement is akin to that of employment.
The budget confirmed that this would still be brought in with effect from April 2020, however, a week later it was announced that these measures would be postponed for 12 months as part of the additional measures announced to support businesses and individuals to deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19.
The chancellor announced in the budget that a grant of £3,000 would be paid to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. This was subsequently increased to £10,000, and up to £25,000 for those businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Eligibility for these grants is dependent upon the rateable value of premises occupied by the business.
Business Loans & Support
The budget announced a 'coronavirus loan scheme' to assist small and medium-sized businesses with the cash flow challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak, covering up to 80% of lost funds, capped at £1.2m.
A 'job retention scheme' has since been announced which is available to all employers regardless of size, and will enable businesses to temporarily lay off employees on 80% of normal pay, up to £2,500 per month, which will be reimbursed by the government, together with the associated employers National Insurance and minimum automatic enrolment contributions.
This effectively eliminates the cost of affected employees from the business, whilst the employee retains their job. This is initially for three months, but may be extended by the government if necessary.
What does the support package introduced by the government mean for the future?
On 26th March the chancellor announced a further support package aimed at the self-employed, under which eligible individuals will receive 80% of average earnings over the last three years, capped at £2,500 per month.
As part of this announcement of support, the chancellor declared his intention to find an equitable balance between the employed and self-employed, once the immediate crisis is over. This could be a significant declaration and may see increased tax, and particularly National Insurance, costs for the self-employed going forward.
How we can help
Whether you're an employer, an employee, self-employed, a landlord, an owner-managed company, an investor or retired, we can advise on what the budget means for you, and also what government support you may be entitled to through the COVID-19 outbreak.
We offer a free, one-hour consultation to talk through your individual situation, these are currently being offered as either a telephone call or a video call.