Coronavirus – preparing for the recession and financial crisis


Simon Misiewicz

19th March 2020

What is Coronavirus / COVID19?

Coronaviruses are a type of virus that affects everyone across the globe. Coronavirus may also be referred to as COVID-19, which emerged in China in December 2019.

COVID-19 symptoms include cough, fever or chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, sore throat, loss of taste or smell.

Other symptoms of COVID-19 is diarrhoea, headaches, fatigue, nausea or vomiting. COVID-19 can be severe, and some cases have caused death.

People may be able to reduce the possibility of getting COVI19 by washing hands on a frequent basis.

People that cough or sneeze ought to do so into an elbow. If you are feeling unwell then staying at home is a suggestion to prevent the spread across friends, family, colleagues and other members of the public.

Please do keep up to date with the government coronavirus updates


Fraud prevention of tax-payers taking advantage of government schemes

It is investible that people will try and make good of the government, HMRC and local authority grants. This is why the government has set up a department called  Fraud control in emergency management. The government, HMRC and local authorities are tasked to ensure the validity of claims that are being presented by tax-payers before payments are made. As a claimant, you need to be mindful that questions will be asked and you will be expected to complete an application form for each and every grant funding.

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The governments response to Coronavirus and their financial support

There are many ways in which the government have provided the UK with financial support. COVID19 has caused the UK and the rest of the globe to go into a recession, like no other.

Rishi Sunak and the government have provided financial support to employers, employees and the self-employed to help stave off a worsening to the economy.

COVID financial support to employers and employees

There are a number of financial support packages that have been provided by the government. Rishi Suna’s motivation is to ask employers to keep employing their people and not make them redundant due to financial pressures.

The government have provided a number of grants to employers to keep people employed.

There are a number of issues that employers have to face when dealing with the financial pressures brought on by COVID19. Human Resource (HR) specialists have been brought in to provide legal support when dealing with employer and employee rights.

We have written an article that deals with the financial and legal issues that employers face due to COVID19.

COVID19 financial support for the self employed

Similarly to employers and employees, there has been a downtime in the economy for the self-employed.

The government have also provided the self-employed with financial support packages due to COVID19.

Self-employed will not be given the exact same frights or financial support as employees. That said the self-employed have been given income in the form of grants.

Thes grants are based on the profits that were documented on the self-employment section of the self-assessment tax returns.


Financial support to business owners in the form of loans

Rishi Sunak also gave financial support to business owners in addition to grants in the form of loans.

There were two forms that were introduced in March 2020.

The first loan called the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). These loans were aimed at larger organisations that were looking for finance option beyond £50,000.

The second loan, also introduced in March 2020 was Bounce Back Loans (BBLs). These loans were aimed at smaller businesses that needed financial support up to £50,000.

The BBLs were a lot easier to obtain with a very simple loan application form. No, if very little, credit checks were carried out and are backed by the UK government.

COVID financial support to UK landlords and tenants

COVID19 clearly has an impact on business owners, employees and the self-employed. The financial pressures caused by the recession also meant that tenants and landlords faced financial hardship.

Rishi Sunak introduced a number of COVID financial support mechanisms fort both UK landlords and tenants.

Retail and hospitality Grant Scheme - Business rates

You may be entitled to a government grant to help you pay for business rates on your commercial property. This was outlined in the government support initiative due to Coronavirus. There is a criterion that you must meet as follows:

£10,000 government grant to pay for business rates

– Must be in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector

– Must be based in England

– The rateable business value is less than £15,000

£25,000 government grant to pay for business rates

– Must be in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector

– Must be based in England

– The rateable business value is more than £15,000 and less than £51,000

You will not be eligible for the retail and hospitality grant funding if you have a rateable value of over £51,000

It is sensible to use the online rateable value checker.

How to apply for the retail and hospitality grant?

The grants are issued by your local authority. They will write to you directly to inform you of the eligibility and if you meet their criteria. It is at that point that you will apply for the retail and hospitality grant. You will need to be aware of whom your local authority you belong to. You can do this by searching the “find my local authority” tool.

Government support to UK taxpayers

The government appreciated that business owners and individual alike would struggle due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID19.

Rishi Sunak introduced a number of support mechanisms to ease the payment burden of UK tax payments by business owners and individuals.

A number of COVID19 financial support mechanisms were put in place to delay the payment of income tax, VAT and corporation tax.

Loans, credit cards, mortgages etc

The Bank of England will reduce the interest rates to 0.1%, which was announced on 19th March. This would be a good time to start thinking of fixing buy to let mortgages and home mortgages.

Payment Holidays: Both capital repayments and interest payments for:

– Credit cards: if you need to cut existing debt costs via 0% balance transfers do it ASAP.

– Loan providers. See what personal loans may be frozen or even extended in these troubling times.

– Home mortgages. Speak with your bank to see what holiday payments are open to you or at least to delay the capital repayment.

– Buy to let mortgages: speak with your broker/bank to see what payments holiday options are open to you. I have negotiated with NatWest a repayment of the capital element of my mortgages and a freeze on future periods for six months

See Martin Lewis’ website to see which banks are providing financial guidance to the Coronavirus

Direct debits/standing orders, review and cancel

– Gym memberships (cant go anyway)

– Hair & beauty treatments may be closed anyway

– Online educational support/marketing materials

– Postpone projects that are not business-critical

– Sky Sports aren’t refunding customers at the moment, even though most sport in the UK has been suspended. However late on Tuesday 17 March, it said it would now allow customers to ‘pause’ their subscription.

– BT Sport also won’t refund customers. It says it will “keep the situation under close review”.

– Fitness company ClassPass emailed members today telling them: “Starting now and until 1 June, we will be rolling over all unused credits at the end of your cycle to ensure you have the flexibility you need to take proper precautions. No credits will expire before 1 June; after 1 June we will return to our standard rollover policy where up to 10 credits can be rolled over into your next billing cycle.”

– PureGym is letting members freeze your membership for free for one month. This means that members do not have to cancel and won’t need to pay a joining fee when they restart their membership.

– Odeon, which has now closed all its UK cinemas “until further notice”, said those paying for an Odeon Limitless membership would have their payments stopped automatically until the cinemas re-open. Odeon says that it can take 48 hours for the payments to be paused – but if your next payment does go through, this will be refunded automatically.

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