Rishi Sunak surprised just about everyone with his 2020 Budget announcements of emergency measures designed to keep British business on track in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Small businesses in particular look to be important beneficiaries of the Chancellor’s first budget, which has also promised the NHS a support package of £5bn to steer the UK through COVID-19.
Harper James founder and CEO Toby Harper called the government’s measures ‘a much-needed sick-note’ for small firms left fearing the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. Many small and medium sized enterprises are already reporting falls in profits due to the spread of Covid-19. And, with the virus still to reach its peak, many say the damage to their businesses is only likely to get worse.
Toby commented: ‘The policies announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak will give breathing space to firms concerned about an uncertain few months ahead. Businesses worried about the impact of Covid-19 are currently dealing day-to-day with the impact on their business. Emergency cash grants, coronavirus support loans and the abolishment of business rates are all positive steps. Cash grants of £3,000 to small firms currently eligible for rates relief is a particularly bold move. It’s a shame that it has taken a crisis like this to see the government wake up to the important role small businesses play in our towns and cities.’
Key benefits for business in 2020’s budget include:
- Small businesses will be refunded the first 14 days of coronavirus-related sick pay for employees
- Business rates will be scrapped for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000, pending a review of the whole system later in the year
- Cash grants of up to £3,000 will be available to those small businesses not eligible for business tax exemption
- A 'coronavirus business interruption fund' will offer loans of up to £1.2m for small businesses
- Entrepreneurs' Relief stays, but the lifetime allowance limit will be reduced from £10m to £1m, raising £6bn
- £130m to extend the business loan scheme for start-ups and £200m for the British Business Bank to invest in scale-ups
Harper James Solicitors was founded with the help of a government business loan and is now a full-service commercial law firm that supports hundreds of ambitious start-ups and SMEs. The promise made by the Chancellor to plough hundreds of extra millions into the business loan scheme for new start-ups is very welcome: ‘This will help entrepreneurs of the future and so too will the pledges on Entrepreneurs’ Relief,' Toby predicts. ‘It suggests the government remains committed to entrepreneurs and risk-takers working hard to do well all across the UK. The decision to step back from abolishing Entrepreneurs’ Relief is fantastic news for business owners. Entrepreneurs who do well should be rewarded not penalised. Firms that scale up should not be pushed down. Those trying to move forward should not be held back.’