Weekly round-up: Covid-19 Financial Support in week 6


As the first full calendar month of lockdown comes to an end, there have been a few developments this week. I highlight these below along with some tax tips as usual.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has continued to run smoothly which has been really good to see. From what I have heard, the government has met its aim of issuing the claim money within 6 working days of application which has enabled hundreds of thousands of businesses to get the funds in time for pay day. It has been said before but is worth saying again that this has been a huge and admirable effort by HMRC to get this up and running as quickly and smoothly as they have done.

I expect we will start to see some more guidance and information about the Self Employed Income Support Scheme emerging in the next week, as the anticipated launch date for this initiative approaches.

I reported last week that the government were seriously considering a 100% guarantee for smaller business loans, and on Monday that came to fruition with the announcement of the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL). For more information on this scheme, which allows small and medium sized businesses to obtain loans of up to £50,000, fully government backed, interest free for 12 months and no personal guarantees, see my article from earlier this week.

Another piece of news related to the zero rating of VAT on e-books and e-magazines, which has been brought forward and is now effective from today. For more information on this, see Rob’s article from yesterday.

Something else that has not been front of most people’s minds for a few weeks is off payroll working and IR35, for which the government postponed the start date to April 2021 when the Covid-19 crisis hit. However the House of Lords have issued a report on the new rules this week, and for anyone with an interest in this area my article on this is worth a read as they have certainly not pulled their punches!

I remain encouraged with the speed at which HMRC are processing R&D claims – these are still coming through within 28 days of submission at the moment, for both R&D schemes, so it’s a good time to get those claims together and submitted. There is an interesting piece to consider on State Aid, because much of the Coronavirus Support (in particular the loan schemes) are State Aid, and as both the R&D SME scheme and the Employment Allowance are also State Aid we are starting to get some questions from our clients on how these all interact with each other – especially where they are also considering grant funding (such as the additional support being provided through Innovate UK) which also comes into the equation.

I have raised this issue with my professional body so hopefully will be able to offer more clarification on this in the near future, so again watch this space.

Finally, the government has launched a Business Support Finder Tool, so that businesses can quickly enter some information and get the links to the support mechanisms that are appropriate for them. You can find a link to this tool here.

We remain fully open for business (remotely) so please do call with any questions around your current financial situation. Stay safe and enjoy your weekends.

James Geary is head of Corporate Tax and is happy to help with any questions or concerns you may have at this time – you can contact James on or 01242 776000 to arrange a call back.