Farms and Estates update: Access to government backed cash

Published: Friday 15 May 2020

Coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS)

The CJRS has now been extended until the end of October. From August, flexibility will be introduced where workers can be brought back to work part-time and employers will also be asked to pay a percentage towards furloughed salaries. 

Applications can now be made, and employers are starting to receive payments. Beware of making false claims as in time HMRC will be reviewing claims.  If you need any help with calculating or making a claim, please contact our dedicated CJRS team on CJRS@hazlewoods.co.uk.

Self-employed income support scheme (SEISS)

This scheme is now open. HMRC are writing to eligible taxpayers and these letters are now being received. The letter explains how to make a claim which involves making sure you have a Government Gateway account. Payments are due to start to be made from 25 May.

When first introduced, the Government did confirm that the scheme can be extended from the initial three months if needed. We expect further announcement on an extension in the coming weeks.

Small business and retail/leisure grants

We have already covered the £10,000 grants available for those eligible for small business rate relief (SBRR) and £25,000 for those in the retail and leisure sector. Many of our clients have received automatic grants without having to claim. However, not all have, it is worth contacting your local authority if you think you should be eligible.

What has come to light is that some small businesses, such as livery yards have been paying rates without realising that they could claim the small business exemption and have not, therefore, received the grant. It is not too late! If you think you may be in this position contact your local authority, they should backdate the SBRR claim which will give a refund of rates paid (some back to 2012) and the entitlement to the grant.

Dairy farmers

Eligible dairy farmers who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May due to coronavirus disruptions will be eligible to access a grant of up to £10,000 to cover 70% of their lost income. The Government is working with DEFRA on the scheme and details on how to claim are yet been released.

The grant income is considered state aid. Farmers are restricted on the amount of state aid they are eligible to receive which could mean some dairy farmers may not be able to claim. The state aid limits for farmers have temporarily been increased from £20,000 to £100,000. 

Discretionary grants

The Government have made cash available to enable local authorities to make grants of £25,000, £10,000 or a lower amount to support businesses in their area. The guidelines from the Government are that they would like these grant to be made to businesses who may not qualify for a grant elsewhere. The guidance specifically mentions small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces and Bed and Breakfast businesses who pay council tax.

Businesses that qualify for other coronavirus grants, such as those mentioned above, will not be eligible for this scheme. Guidance for local authorities was published on 13 May and can be found here.

Small business bounce back loans

These loans were introduced on 4 May with immediate effect. Although aimed at small businesses, any business can apply and we are seeing a high take up on these. The application is straight forward and the money is coming through in a matter of days, sometimes within 24 hours. There is no restriction for applicants, so where a diversified farm has more than one trading entity, each entity can apply for the loan. 

The loans have 100% government backing for lenders. Businesses can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The loans will have no interest or capital repayments for the first 12 months and can be accessed across the existing network of accredited lenders. The interest rate has been set at 2.5% with no personal guarantees.

It is worth considering your current loan position and whether you might benefit from taking out one of these loans to repay existing borrowing. Potentially giving a cashflow advantage as there are no repayments for 12 months and the 2.5% interest rate may also be favourable.

Key contacts

Nick Dee
Nick Dee
Partner
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Nicholas Smail
Nicholas Smail
Partner
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Lucie Hammond
Lucie Hammond
Associate Partner
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