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How have the government responded to coronavirus so far?

A summary of the key announcements, guidance and temporary policies on coronavirus from the government as of 27 July.

01 May 2020

The spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) across the UK has had a huge impact on businesses, jobs and households, leading to several significant temporary changes to UK economic policy.

The government have made a number of announcements, outlining economic support for businesses, jobs and households that have been affected by coronavirus.

A full list of government support for businesses can be found on the GOV.UK website and a summary of links to the most relevant and updated guidance below.

Loans

Schemes

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
    The CJRS will be in place until the end of October and is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by the virus.

  • Job Retention Bonus
    A new scheme that involves a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers that have used the CJRS for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until 31 January 2021. Guidance on this is yet to be published however it has been announced that employers will be able to claim the bonus from February 2021.

  • Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
    This scheme has been extended, if you were eligible for the first grant and can confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020, you’ll be able to make a claim for a second and final grant from 17 August 2020.

  • Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
    This scheme allows small and medium sized employers to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying Statutory Sick Pay to their employees due to coronavirus.

Grants

  • Coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund
    Small and micro businesses with fixed property costs that have been affected by coronavirus and are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund may be eligible for this scheme which gives eligible businesses a grant of up to £25,000.

  • Small Business Grants Fund
    This supports small and rural businesses in England with their business costs during coronavirus. If you’re an eligible business, your local council will contact you and provide details of how to claim.

Planning updates

  • Temporary Changes to the Planning System
    An update from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) on planning matters, including temporary measures to make it easier to operate the planning system during the outbreak of coronavirus.

  • Guidance from the lanning Inspectorate
    In response to the spread of coronavirus, the Planning Inspectorate has published guidance on site visits, hearings, inquiries and events.

Guidance for businesses

Updates for businesses

  • Gender pay gap reporting deadline suspended
    Due to coronavirus, the government have taken the decision to suspend enforcement of the gender pay gap deadlines for this reporting year (2019/20). This means there will be no expectation on employers to report their data if they haven’t done so already.

  • Businesses can apply for more time to file accounts
    Guidance for businesses to apply for a 3-month extension to file their accounts with Companies House. Those affected by coronavirus must cite this in their application.

  • Business rates revaluation postponed
    A revaluation of business rates will no longer take place in 2021 to help reduce uncertainty for firms affected by the impacts of coronavirus.

  • Staying COVID-19 Secure in 2020 notice
    Once you have carried out a risk assessment you should display this notice in your workplace to show that you have complied with the guidance on managing the risk of coronavirus.

  • Covid Corporate Financing Facility
    This facility is designed to support liquidity among larger firms, helping to bridge coronavirus disruption to cash flows through the purchase of short-term debt in the form of commercial paper.

  • Changes to insolvency law
    Theses changes introduce new corporate restructuring tools and temporary easements to give distressed businesses the breathing space they need to get advice and seek a rescue. The changes also provide temporary relief for businesses until 30 September 2020 from being subject to a winding up petition and from wrongful trading provisions where a business can demonstrate its difficulties arise from trading conditions arising from the pandemic.


Updates for individuals

  • Visas extended for those currently unable to return home
    Visa nationals who cannot return home due to the pandemic will be able to extend their visa. The extension will apply to anyone whose leave expired after the 24 January and who cannot leave the country because of travel restrictions or self-isolation. This will last until 31 July.

  • Coronavirus mental health campaign
    Public Health England’s (PHE) Every Mind Matters platform has launched advice focused on looking after people’s mental wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

  • Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp
    The service will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting.

How can I find out more about the support that is available to businesses?

  • Free business advice for small firms
    Thousands of expert professional and business services advisers have signed up to offer free online advice to help small businesses bounce back from coronavirus.

  • Coronavirus Business Support Hub
    This brings together key information for businesses including on funding and support, business closures, responsibilities as an employer and managing your business during the outbreak of coronavirus. The hub also includes information for self-employed people and sole traders.

  • Coronavirus business support finder tool
    A new ‘support finder’ tool has been launched to help businesses and self-employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Government Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp updated for businesses
    You can now text ‘hi’ to +44(0)7860 064422 via Whatsapp to receive information on business support measures. The service will reply with a set of menu options - select option 5 for relevant links to GOV.UK guidance.

  • Webinars to help businesses understand the support available
    The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are hosting a series of webinars to help businesses understand the support available.

  • HMRC Seminars
    These HMRC videos provide an overview of the support available to help businesses, self-employed individuals and employers and their employees deal with the economic impact of C.

We will continue to update this page regularly as further details are announced.

Visit the RIBA's coronavirus page for regularly updated advice and guidance for architects.

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