The Government have today announced that UK pubs, restaurants, bars and other leisure facilities must close tonight as soon as reasonably possible, and not reopen tomorrow.

The crisis is affecting businesses and sole traders across the nation, and today's announcement will cause concerns for the hospitality and leisure industry.

However, following the Prime Minister's update this evening, he has confirmed that the Government will "stand by you" and "do everything in our power to help".

Today's update from the Prime Minister included unprecedented intervention from the Government to assist businesses and sole traders.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the Government would provide assistance for businesses under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, by paying up to 80% of wages of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 per month, which will be backdated to 01 March.

The Government previously announced that they would assist businesses by making cash available via loans, grants and guarantees. And, following today's update, Rishi Sunak confirmed that the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme would be interest free for 12 months, rather than the 6 months previously confirmed.

From a tax perspective, the additional cash flow support measures announced are:

  • For all businesses, deferring VAT payments for the next quarter (to the end of June), giving businesses until to the end of the financial year to repay (representing a £30bn cash injection into the economy); and
  • For the self-employed, deferring the deadline for the next self-assessment instalment payments until January 2021.

Effectively these measures amount to a blanket “time to pay” arrangement, across all VAT-paying businesses and the self-employed, which had previously only been offered on a case by case basis.

The pandemic is posing challenges for all businesses and the Government is attempting to minimise the effects of the virus, both health wise and economically.

In addition to the support offered by the Government to businesses, including cash grants to businesses and cuts to business rates, today's announcement provides further reassurance from the Government that they are doing everything in their power to assist businesses across the nation, and to minimise the effect that the current pandemic is having on the economy.

To find out more, or if you require any advice or assistance, please visit our dedicated Covid-19 Support page on our website.