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COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 Update
Sunday, March 22, 2020

This is a roundup of the support available to smaller businesses affected by COVID-19. The landscape is rapidly changing but as at 7pm this evening (20th March 2020) this is the information that we have – where it is known from an official source such as HMRC you’ll find it in Bold or standard type. For anything that is opinion or hearsay I’ve added italics and you should treat it accordingly.

As ever, if you are worried or uncertain on how to get through all of this, there are lots of us out here willing to help. Reach out to me or my fellow accountants and bookkeepers here in the BBB group, and remember that we’re all in this together.


1. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Any employer is eligible for a grant of 80% of the salary of retained workers who are not able to work due to coronavirus, up to £2,500 per month. This is backdated to wages from 1st March 2020. There is no limit on the funding available. If employees have already been laid off then they can still claim the grant if they are brought back onto the payroll and granted a leave of absence instead.


2. 12 month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

If you are eligible there is nothing you need to do – local authorities will re-issue bills for rates for 2020/21 if you’ve already received a demand. Eligible business would include shops, pubs, restaurants, cafes, hotels and self-catering accommodation.


3. Small business grant funding of £10,00 for all businesses in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rate Relief

To be administered by your local authority.

Local authorities are a bit blind-sided by this – they don’t usually pay out to rate-payers so they’re having to set up a system to cope with the grants. Expecting this to be live during April but there’s no further information available just yet. We advise to check your last rate bill to ensure that you are eligible for SBRR or SBRRR and therefore for this grant.


4. Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000

As above, and eligibility criteria as for the 12 month business rates holiday.


5. Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5m for SMEs through the British Business Bank

Businesses can access the first 6 months of this finance interest free as the government will be covering those interest payments.

The scheme is being launched during the week commencing 23rd March, but you can talk to lenders now about accessing it so that when the funds are available they will be able to act quickly on your behalf. We expect you will need a cash flow forecast and business plan to be able to access this lending, and the quickest way may be through your current bank as they already have done due diligence on you and your business.

If you currently have lending that you are paying for on a monthly basis you should contact your lender and ask for a payment holiday. We’ve heard many cases of lenders being very open to these discussions and giving 6 months of holiday straight away. Don’t put off calling and asking for this help.

6. HMRC Time to Pay Scheme with 2000 employees dedicated to helping people who call them on 0800 0159 599

The lines are open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and Saturday 8am to 4pm


Lines are very busy – we’ve heard of people being on hold for up to 3 hours – but it is worth persevering as we have heard of businesses being allowed to make no payments for the next two months and then spread their overdue tax payments over the next 12 months. Try calling first thing or at the very end of the day when lines can be quieter. Don’t panic if you can’t get through. You may choose not to pay the tax now and call over the next week instead as HMRC have said that they will explore cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately, when you do get to speak to them.


7. SSP rebate for up to 14 days when an employee is off work because of COVID-19

The mechanism for how to do this hasn’t been released yet. Employers won’t be expected to provide evidence such as a sick note, but do need to maintain a record of staff absences and payments of SSP. I expect they’ll ask employers to use the same mechanism as we currently have for funding SMP – firstly you deduct the SSP rebate from the rest of the PAYE and NICs you usually pay, and if there is not enough to cover it you can ask for a cash payment to fund the amount you need to pay the staff member. We expect more detail on this by early April.


8. Insurance

The confirmation on 17th March that the advice to avoid pubs, theatres and so on is sufficient to trigger a claim under pandemic and government-ordered closures, where you hold cover for those events, assuming other T&Cs are meet.

We advise you call your insurer or broker if you believe your business is covered by such a policy – pubs, restaurants, cafes and theatres should all see if this is something that they hold.



Daily announcements from the Prime Minister are broadcast between 4-6pm on the BBC and give the most up to date picture of additional aid being offered.

What our clients say

For us, there is nothing better than a happy customer. Here are just a few that let us know how much we mean to them.

Pete Dungey

Simple, efficient and most importantly, hassle-free.

We found Panthera via our search for a Xero expert. We knew the software we wanted to use, and needed a forward-thinking accountancy partner who could get us up and running, and teach us the ropes moving forward. Tory and her team have always been on hand to answer our questions, and help us to grow as a business, particularly during periods of big change, such as becoming VAT registered. They are always on hand to alleviate any concerns and help to keep our records in order, which makes our year-end accounts an absolute breeze! Being based in Bristol, our relationship is entirely email based, alongside one consolidation meeting at year end - this keeps things simple, efficient and most importantly, hassle-free.

Pete Dungey Kaleido Grafik Limited
Anita van Eijndhoven

Talk Our Language

The support and service we receive from Panthera Accounting is very good. Everything from regular meetings, a prompt e mail response and the transition of our Xero software (which we find very pro active indeed) has and is all remarkably efficient. We find Panthera talk our language and make any process as painless and easy as possible.

Anita van Eijndhoven Quidne-IT
Ash & Tim Lane

Panthera brush aside the stereotype of the typical accountant

We got in touch with Panthera Accounting by way of a recommendation; we haven't looked anywhere else since. They are an extremely professional yet relaxed group of people. We were slightly daunted by the idea of accountants but Panthera brushed aside y the stereotypes. They are very understanding when answering any questions we may have. They are completely efficient, offer sound business advice, and are fantastically priced. We will continue to recommend them.

Ash & Tim Lane Starveacre Fencing
Jayne Johnson

An Asset to my Business!

The whole team at Panthera are great! Working with them has been a huge support to my growing business. They help me to understand the numbers I need to know. They give me technology solutions like Xero so that I can process things quickly and have access to my own figures. They are quick to reply, highly knowledgeable, nothing is too much trouble and as well as making sure that everything is compliant and on time, they are enthusiastic, professional and fun to work with.

Jayne Johnson Better People
John Baker

Absolute joy - they provide a first class service on every level

Working with Tory and the team at Panthera is an absolute joy - they provide a first class service on every level; from simple Xero issues through to more complicated tax enquiries, they’re always on-hand to help me get it right. I’m certainly not their biggest customer, but I’m always made to feel like their most important one.

John Baker BKR Solutions
John Castle

Professional and Friendly

I would like to say that Panthera Accounting have helped me with my business accounts for more than 4 years now. They have consistently offered an excellent competitively priced service that works both professionally and in such a friendly way that I would highly recommend them to everyone considering using their services.

John Castle Ilexanna Limited & Birch Castle Homes Limited
Jonathan Morrison

They are always there to answer queries and sort out issues

I had been with Mr Dunn for 20 years when upon his death Panthera took over the business. They now play a bigger part in the running of my business, they do all the stuff that has to be done but I don't like doing ie book keeping, VAT, wages, and returns. They are always there to answer queries and sort out issues and make sure all Tax deadlines are met. Their costs are fair, service is great and I have and would highly recommend them.

Jonathan Morrison Wallingford Builders
Pippa Scott

Professional, friendly and personal service.

Panthera Accounting have gone above and beyond the call of duty to guide and support our Company. They offer a professional, friendly and personal service that can take the stressful and sometimes frightening feelings out of running a business. They have guided us through the working of Xero and have offered “teaching sessions” on the day to day running of the accountancy package. Our only regret is that we didn’t join their team earlier.

Pippa Scott Scott's Commercial Services Limited
Sara Southey

Panthera puts the personal back in to accountancy!

Tory and her team have provided a friendly, approachable and helpful service from the start. They have delivered a quality service, above and beyond anything I could have expected. Panthera, with the help of the Xero package, have taken the stress, strain and confusion out of managing my company and personal accounts. I look forward to working with them for many years to come.

Sara Southey Bluestones Garden Design
Tracey Miller

Panthera are fantastic.

Panthera are fantastic. Always professional, going the extra mile for their clients and delivering superb service. I recommend them all the time to my clients.

Tracey Miller Bigger, Brighter, Bolder BBB

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