Panthera News

COVID-19 Support for your business

COVID-19 Support for your business

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Our No. 1 core value at Panthera is Here to Help and our focus right now is making sure you have the support and information to get through this. What we're going to ask you to do is to keep as positive as you can, and reach out when you need help. 

(Latest update 27.3.20)

So first up, here is the help that we can give you right now:


1. ** New Webinar Monday 30th March ** Business Continuity Plan

We''re running a one hour free session on Monday about making a business continuity plan to help you get through the next few months. This plan covers all aspects of your business, your own wellbeing and that of your family, and is a really practical tool to get you focused on what you need to do next. We'll give you a template and a guide, and can offer ways to support you and supercharge the process too. Find out more and book here

2. Facebook Live Q&A sessions Monday 12:30pm

You can find this on our Panthera Accounting Facebook page and you don't have to have a Facebook account to watch the live stream

3. COVID-19 Small Business Action Plan

We’ve created this action plan to help you to identify the issues you are experiencing, then home in on the most critical challenges that you can control.

We then encourage you to come up with specific action points including what needs doing, who is doing it, and by when.If you need our support with this, we're here for you.

We’re offering a basic 12 month cash flow forecast template which you can download here for you to fill in and a weekly cash-flow catch up call for around 10 minutes, until the end of April.

There is no charge for this specific service, and we’ll review with you what you need from us from the end of April onwards.

Book a zoom call if you’d like to take us up on this action plan, even if you don’t need a cashflow.

The aim is to give you focus, clarity and confidence.

Government Support

This is a roundup of the support available to smaller businesses affected by COVID-19, as at 26th March 2020. The landscape is rapidly changing but as at 7pm this evening 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 one of my colleagues in the Panthera team, and remember that we’re all in this together.

** Update: Self-Employed Income Support Scheme - SEISS**

A taxable grant, worth 80% of your trading profits, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months.

This may be extended if the current situation continues to require it.

It will be paid directly into your bank account in one instalment (most likely in June)

It's calculated from an average of your last 3 years' trading profits

More on the details of this scheme can be found HERE

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 1stMarch 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.

 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.

 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.


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.

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

Businesses can access the first 12 months of this finance interest free as the government will be covering those interest payments.

The scheme has been launched during the week commencing 23rd March, 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. Please be aware of lenders asking for personal guarantees and make sure you understand the implications of these before signing any paperwork (ie that you will personally be liable for the debt, before the government backed guarantees kick in to the bank). I would advise to look for a bank that isn't requiring this (RBS/Natwest have said they won't be, for example, but other lenders will take their lead).

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.

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.

 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’re here for you.

Please get in touch on any of the above, or if you’d just like a chat, or call the office on 01235 617499 (our temporary number whilst working away from the office).

We’re all working from home now, but your message will be passed straight to the right team member.

If you’d prefer to book a time to speak to me, I’ve freed up more time in my calendar for 30 minute zoom calls. Please find and book a slot here.

Stay safe and look after yourselves and one another.