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New loan scheme one of several business-friendly initiatives in Budget

11/03/2020

Government-backed loans of up to £1.2 million are to be made available to eligible businesses as part of a range of measures aimed at easing the impact of coronavirus on UK companies in today’s Budget.

Referred to as the ‘coronavirus business interruption loan scheme’, the government will cover up to 80% of losses with no fees to encourage banks to “lend with confidence” and make vital funding available to those businesses most affected by the disease. Find out if your business is eligible here or get an instant quote for a business loan.

Supporting businesses with the inevitable disruption coronavirus will bring was a key feature of the Budget, which was delivered just hours after the Bank of England cut interest rates to just 0.25% – a record low – to further help businesses manage the impact.

Businesses with fewer than 250 employees will also see Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) refunded by the government for 14 days in a bid to encourage self-isolation and help slow down the spread of the virus. SSP will also be introduced from day one for all those advised to self-isolate, even when no symptoms are displayed.

And shops, cinemas, restaurants and music venues with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will not have to pay any business rates this year, to ease the burden on their cash flow. Businesses eligible for small business rates relief will receive a £3,000 cash grant.

A Budget dominated by coronavirus

Many of the measures announced were directly as a result of the uncertainty caused by the ongoing spread of coronavirus in the UK.

Over £30 billion was pledged to deal with the outbreak, which includes £7 billion “to support the self-employed, businesses and vulnerable people”.

Delivering his first Budget as Chancellor, Rishi Sunak said “business supply chains are being disrupted around the world” by coronavirus and that it will have a “significant impact on the economy”.

He also gave businesses the ability to defer repayments under the Time To Pay scheme, and announced fuel duty would be frozen for another year.

The National Insurance threshold will also be increased to £9,500 from April.

Separately, an additional £130 million is to be committed to start-up loans to help budding entrepreneurs get their new businesses off the ground.

And although Entrepreneurs’ Relief will be retained, the lifetime allowance will be reduced from £10 million to £1 million.

While details remain light over how the government will fund its range of initiatives, the Chancellor did reveal that Corporation Tax will remain at 19% and will not be cut to 17%.

What did you make of the Budget? Will your business benefit from the measures and initiatives announced or has it not gone far enough? Please share your views in the comments section below.

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