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Financial support for your business and people during the pandemic

Categories: Legislation


To help businesses survive the impact of enforced closures, the Government has announced a multi-billion pound package of initiatives that you can take advantage of. Many suppliers and other businesses are also offering discounts and special support, including Rightmove. Here’s a summary of what’s available and where to go for more information.

 

What is Rightmove doing to help?

We are reducing your Rightmove bill by 75% for four months starting from the 1st April 2020 whether you advertise residential properties, new homes or commercial properties.

You don’t need to apply for the discount. Your invoice will automatically come through reduced by 75%. This is not a deferred payment, this is a discount that you don’t need to pay back.

If you didn’t receive a copy of our email about this you can see this here.

We’re also ramping up our live webinar programme to give you regular updates on the latest official advice from Propertymark, expert advice from industry trainers and motivational talks from external speakers. See all of our support material at hub.rightmove.co.uk/support.

 

What Government support is available for you and your teams?

Here’s a summary of all the Government financial support that is available to help you. For more detail on all of these initiatives, visit the gov.uk website.

Money and taxes

Business rates relief

The Chancellor confirmed on 25th March that Estate Agents and Lettings Agents forced to close would be added to the list of businesses who are exempt from business rates for the 2020-2021 financial year, starting in April.

What you need to do

Nothing. You will be re-billed by your local authority and the new bill will give you a discount of 100%. You’ll be refunded any payments you’ve already made.

 

Deferred VAT

All VAT payments are deferred for 3 months. This applies to the period from 20th March until 30th June. You will then need to pay back any VAT accumulated during this period by the end of the 2020-21 tax year (i.e. the end of March 2021).

What you need to do

Nothing. This will be applied automatically.

 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new scheme helping small businesses with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years. 40 accredited lenders are able to offer the scheme, including all major banks.

The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first year of interest payments and any fees levied by the lenders, to help you with immediate cash flow.

These loans are backed by a guarantee from the government to lenders of 80% on each loan.

What you need to do

Find out more and apply directly through one of the 40 accredited finance providers (including all major banks). Visit their websites for more information.

 

People, salaries and sick pay

Job Retention Scheme

To try and prevent redundancies, the Government is offering to cover the cost of 80% of an employee’s wages if you decide to make them a “furloughed worker” during the shut-down. This effectively means they would be asked to stop working (this is a condition of the scheme) but would keep their job.

Some employers are deciding to cover the 20% gap in salary themselves so that the employee keeps earning the same amount.

The scheme will cover the costs of wages backdated to 1st March and is initially open for 3 months, although will be extended if necessary.

So far, we’ve heard from several estate agents who have taken up this offer and are particularly using it to support employees with parental responsibilities who are unable to effectively work from home.

What you need to do

More government guidance is expected to be published on 27th March. Visit gov.uk for the latest updates on how to apply.

 

Sick Pay

The government has extended who is eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

Employees who are off work because of COVID-19 will be able to claim up to 2 weeks’ SSP. This applies to businesses with fewer than 250 employees, based on number of employees on 28th February.

You’ll be eligible for sick pay from the first day you are off sick.

Employers can reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP due to COVID-19.

You need to maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but there is no requirement for you to get a note from a GP.

If you’re an employee and your employer asks for evidence, you can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online.

What you need to do

The way for employers to reclaim sick pay from the government is currently being devised – so keep checking the government website for any updates.

 

Commercial rent protection

As with residential tenants, commercial tenants who can’t pay rent because of COVID-19 will also be protected from eviction. This applies to all commercial tenants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

No business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if you they miss a payment up until 30th June, with the option for the government to extend this further.

What you need to do

No action is required. The change will come into force when the Coronavirus Bill receives Royal Assent.

 

The information on this page is accurate as of 26th March. As new measures are being announced daily, please visit gov.uk for the latest information.