The Budget 2020

The focus of last week’s Budget was the Government’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak. The Budget included £12 billion of funding to support people and organisations through the economic disruption caused by the virus outbreak.

To help organisations to cope with the Coronavirus outbreak the following measures were announced:

  • Businesses facing financial distress due to the virus outbreak will be given additional time to payoutstanding tax liabilities. HMRC will agree bespoke Time to Pay payment arrangements.
  • The Government will introduce a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. It will be delivered by the British Business Bank and will initially guarantee up to £1 billion of lending.
  • An increase in the Business Rates Retail Discount to 100% for 2020/2021 for properties with a rateable value below £51,000 (England).  The current Retail Discount scheme is awarded on top of all existing rate reliefs and our expectation is that this will remain the case. The discount is currently subject to state aid rules limiting the amount larger organisations can receive.
  • Small business grants (England) of £3,000 will be given to businesses qualifying for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief.
  • Organisations with fewer than 250 employees, will have the first 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee refunded by the Government where the sick leave relates to coronavirus.

Other measures announced include:

  • Smaller businesses will benefit from the Employment Allowance increasing from £3,000 to £4,000 from April 2020.
  • The introduction of National Insurance holiday for employers of veterans in their first year of civilian employment.
  • Launching a fundamental review into Business Rates (England) reporting in the Autumn

The Scottish Government had also announced support measures for organisations in Scotland:

• a 75% rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 from 1 April 2020
• an £80 million fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of COVID-19
• 1.6% rates relief for all properties across Scotland, effectively reversing the planned below inflation uplift in the poundage from 1 April 2020

Jonathan Mail, Head of Public Affairs, Charity Retail Association