COVID-19 Coronavirus Business News

ONS: Labour market is ‘stable but subdued’

12 Apr 21
The unemployment rate “has begun to stabilise”.

Government kicks off new 95% mortgage scheme

19 Apr 21
It aims to increase supply of 5% deposit mortgages.

HMRC publishes penalties for not paying deferred VAT

16 Apr 21
Businesses can still make arrangements to avoid penalties.

Government launches recovery loan scheme

14 Apr 21
The new scheme is open to businesses big and small.

ONS figures show 0.4% growth in February

13 Apr 21
GDP remained below February 2020 levels, however.

Outdoor hospitality and non-essential retail reopen

12 Apr 21
Consumer confidence rebounds as lockdown measures ease.

Recovery Loan Scheme launches

7 Apr 21
Another round of government-backed loans are available.

Land and buildings transaction tax holiday ends

1 Apr 21
Holidays extended in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

UK unemployment rate drops to 5%

25 Mar 21
The ONS estimated 1.7 million people were unemployed in January this year.

HMRC to accept bulk appeals for late tax return penalties

23 Mar 21
The process is available for a period of six months.

UK borrowing hits £19.1bn in February

19 Mar 21
Borrowing was £17.6 billion higher than the same period last year.

CBI: Extend kickstart scheme by six months

17 Mar 21

The scheme is due to end in December 2021.


February CJRS deadline reminder

15 Mar 21
Furlough claims must be made by today.

UK economy shrinks 2.9% in January, ONS reveals

12 Mar 21
The construction industry grew by 0.9% in January 2021.

Final business rates review to be published in Autumn

10 Mar 21
An interim report will be published on 23 March.

Many freelancers still struggling, warns IPSE

9 Mar 21
The grant will cover 80% of average trading profits up to £7,500.

HMRC publishes fourth SEISS grant details

5 Mar 21
Tax returns for 2019/20 will now be taken into account.

Read more


FSB: More needed on employment costs following Budget

4 Mar 21
Sunak set out a £65 billion three-point plan to provide jobs and support.

Other announcements: SDLT holiday continues to end of June

2 Mar 21
Stamp duty, mortgage guarantees, late payment and duties.

COVID-19 support: furlough and SEISS extended to September

2 Mar 21
Recovery loan scheme, restart grants and business rates.

1.6m UK firms supported by COVID-19 schemes

2 Mar 21
Majority of support has been provided through the bounce-back loan scheme.

Furlough numbers increase in January

26 Feb 21
4.7 million people furloughed on 31 January 2021.

Sunak expected to extend stamp duty holiday

24 Feb 21
The threshold has been temporarily increased to £500,000.

HMRC waives 5% late payment penalty

23 Feb 21
Payments should be made by 1 April 2021 to avoid fine.

Treasury delays business rates review

22 Feb 21
Report pushed back due to pandemic uncertainty.

IFS: Sunak should look to the Budget to secure recovery

18 Feb 21
The Budget will be delivered on 3 March 2021.

IPPR: 600,000 firms could collapse without further support

17 Feb 21
Up to nine million jobs may be affected without an extension.

Record annual slump for UK economy in 2020

15 Feb 21
COVID-19 prompts UK GDP to fall by 9.9%.

Govt. unveils £20m SME Brexit support fund

12 Feb 21
The grants are worth up to £2,000.

CBI calls for further COVID-19 support

11 Feb 21
Failing to extend existing support will “stunt economic recovery”.

1 in 3 house sales collapse as stamp duty deadline looms

9 Feb 21
29% of proposed purchases fell through in January.

FSB: Govt. must extend business rates relief to 2022

9 Feb 21
The organisation is urging for the threshold to be changed.

Firms get more time to repay bounce-back loans

8 Feb 21
Repayments can be spread over ten years, rather than six.

COVID-19 business lending passes £71bn

5 Feb 21
Around 1.4m firms have accessed BBLs since May 2020.

CBI calls for post-lockdown roadmap

3 Feb 21
The business group identified six elements to help firms prepare.

Govt. announces £1,000 cash boost to help firms take on trainees

2 Feb 21
The cash boost will be made available from 31 July 2021.

Extend furlough scheme to summer, warns BCC

1 Feb 21
Around four million UK workers were furloughed at the end of December.

Firms call for urgent action to reduce unemployment

27 Jan 21
Unemployment increased to 5% in the three months to November 2020.

Nine million people increased borrowing in 2020

25 Jan 21
The proportion of borrowing £1,000 or more increased to 45%.

Govt. reveals over 1.4m loans given to UK firms

20 Jan 21
The loans are part of the £280bn support package.

Small firms get COVID-19 insurance boost

19 Jan 21
Around £1.8bn is expected to be paid out in claims.

Read more


BCC calls for business rates relief extension

19 Jan 21
Govt. should ‘extend relief for the whole of 2021’.


£69.1 million spread through Time to Pay scheme

15 Jan 21

Over 25,000 self-assessment taxpayers have set up online payment plans.


COVID-19 deemed ‘reasonable excuse’ for late filing

12 Jan 21

HMRC said the decision is not a blanket waiving of penalties.


250,000 small business ‘set to fold’

11 Jan 21

14% expect to reduce headcount in the next three months.


Government support “misses the mark” for self-employed, warns IPSE

07 Jan 21

IPSE said the Government needs to “plug the gaps in self-employed support”.


Firms raise concerns over lockdown support

06 Jan 21

Measures include a one-off grant worth up to £9,000.


Chancellor unveils £4.6bn support package

05 Jan 21

Firms will be able to receive up to £9,000.


Government urged to review support for tier 4 firms

23 Dec 20

All non-essential retailers must close under tier 4.


UK economy remains “unusually uncertain”, warns BoE

21 Dec 20
Inflation decreased to 0.3% in November.

Sunak extends furlough scheme

18 Dec 20

The scheme will be extended until the end of April.


CGT hike will affect entrepreneurial spirit, warns IOD

16 Dec 20

CGT could be targeted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.


UK economic growth stalls again

10 Dec 20

October GDP remains 7.9% below pre-pandemic level.


Hundreds of small firms to provide kickstart placement

08 Dec 20

Over 700 small firms have so far come forward to offer placements.


Late filings to rise dramatically, warns AAT

07 Dec 20

Around a million tax returns were filed late last year.


More SMEs plan for future despite a third anticipating threats

04 Dec 20

Nine in 10 SMEs secured COVID-related finance in Q3.


CBILS applications expected to rise

03 Dec 20

27% of small businesses said they would not survive to see 2021.


Third SEISS grant opens

01 Dec 20

The grant will offer a lump sum up to a maximum of £7,500.


Government urged to issue more support for small firms

30 Nov 20

Every area in England falls into one of three alert levels.


SEISS grant applicants to face new test

27 Nov 20

To qualify, businesses must meet new rules on trading conditions.


UK economy to contract by 11.3% in 2020

26 Nov 20

The OBR predicts the economy will grow by 5.5% in 2021.


ATT calls for seasonal party guidance

25 Nov 20

Clarification needed on tax exemption for annual functions.


AIA limit to remain at £1m until 2022

24 Nov 20

Temporary threshold in place until 1 January 2022.


UK borrowing hits £22.3bn in October

20 Nov 20

Borrowing hit its highest levels in October since records began in 1993.


MTD for corporation tax to be implemented from 2026

18 Nov 20

HMRC revealed potential designs of its MTD for the corporation tax system.


More support needed for small firms with 50 days until EU transition

17 Nov 20

Small businesses face a “hugely difficult” winter.


Over 19,000 jobs created by kickstart scheme

16 Nov 20

4,359 applications were received from employers across Great Britain.


Self-employed sector faces ‘avoidable decline’, says IPSE

13 Nov 20

COVID-19 crisis leaves the sector at 4.53 million self-employed individuals.


£1.1bn worth of BBL fraud suspected

11 Nov 20

Take-up of the scheme was “larger than expected”.


UK unemployment rises

10 Nov 20

ONS reported a 4.8% increase for the three months to September.


Government extends furlough scheme to end of March

06 Nov 20

Employees to receive 80% of salary for hours not worked.


BoE injects £150bn into UK economy

05 Nov 20

Stock of Government bonds will increase to £875 billion.


Further proposals announced to support mortgage borrowers

04 Nov 20

Borrowers have until 31 January 2021 to request a payment deferral.


Self-employed to get more financial support

03 Nov 20

The third taxable SEISS grant increases to £5,160.


Government extends furlough scheme

02 Nov 20

Extension initially in place until 30 November 2020.


Chancellor to hold Spending Review in November

30 Oct 20

Treasury to set out spending plans for 2021/22.


Firms call for ‘inflexible business rates’ reform

29 Oct 20

A reduction would help most businesses survive the winter.


NAO warns ‘considerable’ levels of furlough fraud

27 Oct 20

HMRC’s fraud hotline received over 10,000 reports.


SMEs call for more Government support

26 Oct 20

The FSB suggests lowering employer NICs.


Govt. expands support for jobs and workers

23 Oct 20

Changes to the job support scheme and SEISS.


UK debt levels hit record high

21 Oct 20

The Government is expected to have spent £4.9 billion on CJRS.


Over 54,000 employees claim home working tax relief

16 Oct 20

Employees can receive £6 a week to cover additional costs.


SEISS grant: last chance to apply

15 Oct 20

Grant applications close on 19 October 2020.


Unemployment hits highest rate in three years

14 Oct 20

In the three months to August, unemployment increased by 138,000.


Public finances to see £100bn hit by 2024

13 Oct 20

A 5% reduction in the economy has been blamed for the financial hit.


Retirement plans changed due to COVID-19

12 Oct 20

13% of over-50s have adjusted their retirement age.


UK economic recovery slows in August

09 Oct 20

GDP remains 9.2% lower than pre-pandemic levels.


Unpaid BBLs ‘could cost billions’

08 Oct 20

Up to £26 billion could be lost.


Chancellor promises to “balance books” amid pandemic

07 Oct 20

Sunak hinted at possible tax rises to protect the public’s finances.


Treasury issues job retention bonus guidance

05 Oct 20

Businesses can claim the bonus from 15 February 2021.


Enhanced payment plans kick in for self-assessment taxpayers

02 Oct 20

Tax bills of up to £30,000 can be paid in instalments.


37% of UK employers to make staff redundant

01 Oct 20

Acas reported six out of 10 large companies are likely to make redundancies.


AAT urges Chancellor to write off BBLS for SMEs

30 Sep 20

The bounce-back loan scheme has provided £38 billion of finance to SMEs.


Rise in company registrations prompts BBL fraud concerns

29 Sep 20

Registrations rise to 21,616 per week in June.


Government extends insolvency measures

28 Sep 20

Changes announced to protect businesses during the pandemic.


Firms welcome Government’s ‘winter economy plan’

25 Sep 20

Sunak outlined measures to protect jobs as the coronavirus pandemic continues.


Chancellor announces new job support scheme

24 Sep 20

The scheme forms part of the Government’s winter economy plan.


UK Government axes Autumn Budget

24 Sep 20

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will set out a fresh round of job support measures today.


950,000 workers used flexible furlough in July

21 Sep 20

Furlough numbers fall from 30% to 11%.


Government extends ban on business evictions

18 Sep 20

Evictions ban extended until the end of the year.


‘Eat out to help out’ pushes inflation to five-year low

17 Sep 20

Consumer prices fell 0.2% from 1% in July.


FCA confirms support on mortgage deferrals

The new guidance comes into effect from today.


HMRC targets employers over furlough claims

15 Sep 20

The scheme is set to end on 31 October.


Treasury Committee urges furlough scheme rethink

14 Sep 20

The coronavirus job retention scheme is due to end in October.


Grants for English firms closed by local lockdowns

10 Sep 20

Larger businesses will receive £1,500 every three weeks.


HMRC reveals up to £3.5bn furlough claims paid in error

09 Sep 20

Around £1.75 billion and £3.5 billion could have been wrongly paid out.


House purchases plummet in Q2 2020

07 Sep 20

Fewer than a million customers now on a payment deferral.


Low deposit mortgage deals fall amid pandemic

04 Sep 20

In September mortgage deals fell 26.7%.


HMRC updates SEISS repayment guidelines

03 Sep 20

Notification period ends on 20 October 2020.


£2 billion kickstart scheme launched

02 Sep 20

New scheme offers funding for work placements.


FCA proposes next stage of mortgage support

28 Aug 20

Mortgage providers told to take a “tailored” approach.


Small firms call for eat out to help out extension

27 Aug 20

64m meals have been claimed on the scheme so far.


IPSE: SEISS statistics show gaps in support

25 Aug 20

1.6m people found ineligible for SEISS.


Retail sales rise above pre-pandemic levels

24 Aug 20

Sales volumes increase by 3.6% month-on-month.


12% workers still on furlough as scheme phases out

21 Aug 20

Two-thirds receive employer top-ups to pay.


British Business Bank clarifies CBILS deadline

20 Aug 20

BBB confirms applications can be considered until 30 November.


35 million ‘eat out to help out’ meals claimed

19 Aug 20

Government urges restaurants to claim back discounts.


House sales hit record of £37bn in August

18 Aug 20

Increased demand outweighs usual summer slump.


Government launches second round of SEISS

17 Aug 20

Final chance for self-employed people to claim support.


Government-backed business loans pass £50bn

13 Aug 20

1.2 million businesses receive coronavirus support loans.


UK in first technical recession in 11 years

12 Aug 20

Economy shrinks by 20.4% in Q2 2020.


Employment falls by largest amount since 2009

11 Aug 20

Over-65s most likely to be affected by job losses.


One in three firms plan redundancies

10 Aug 20

More job cuts expected by the autumn.


Govt. sets out first homes scheme details

07 Aug 20

Housing secretary aims to tackle rising house prices.


Economic hit ‘less severe than feared’

06 Aug 20

Bank of England’s first forecast since the pandemic hit.


Group backs new online sales tax

04 Aug 20

Potential measure would ‘level the playing field’.


Help-to-buy scheme gets two-month extension

03 Aug 20

Equity loan scheme to end on 28 February 2021.


Furloughed workers get redundancy pay protection

31 Jul 20

New law closes loophole for employers.


10 coronavirus scams to be wary of

30 Jul 20

UK Finance urges people to be on their guard.


Government set to extend help-to-buy scheme

29 Jul 20

Equity loan scheme is currently due to end in December.


Pension savers pause withdrawals in lockdown

28 Jul 20

Tax-free lump sums fell 53% in March and April.


Witnessing of wills by video legalised

27 Jul 20

Coronavirus prompts long-awaited change in the law.


Retail sales bounce back 13.9% in June

24 Jul 20

Statistics show ‘mixed picture’ across stores types.


UK debt soars 99.6% of GDP

21 Jul 20

Year-on-year borrowing ‘five times higher’ in June.


Temporary reduction in VAT announced for hospitality, accommodation and admissions

21 Jul 20

A temporary reduction in VAT for hospitality, accommodation and admissions has been introduced in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


ONS reports ‘alarming’ slump in self-employed numbers

17 Jul 20

Freelancers call for improved self-employed support.


Sunak calls for capital gains tax review

16 Jul 20

Chancellor wants to ensure the system is fit for purpose.


VAT cut kicks in for certain sectors

15 Jul 20

Standard rates temporarily falls from 20% to 5%.


UK economy slumps 19.1% in lockdown

14 Jul 20

Figures dispel hopes a V-shaped recovery.


UK tax gap drops to record low

13 Jul 20

More than 95% of tax owed in 2018/19 was collected.


IFS: ‘Tax rises may not be imminent’

10 Jul 20

Think tank predicts a third phase of recovery.


Chancellor announces ‘plan for jobs’

09 Jul 2020

More employer grants in summer economic update.


Economic update 2020: expectations

08 Jul 20

Three changes the chancellor may announce.


Workers in crisis-hit sectors face savings crisis

06 Jul 20

COVID-19 causes savings gap to widen.


COVID-19 prompts upturn in savings habits

03 Jul 20

More households are ‘saving for a rainy day’.


First round of SEISS grants to end next week

02 Jul 20

The self-employed urged to double-check eligibility.


Important dates for the Self-Employed

01 Jul 20

With the deadline for applications for the first Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) looming on Monday 13th July 2020, the new scheme will be open to applications in August 2020.


Businesses expect annual turnover to fall

01 Jul 20

Large study shows impact of COVID-19.


UK economy fared worse than feared in Q1

30 Jun 20

ONS revises down its previous estimate by 0.2%.


Late payment crisis deepens during lockdown

29 Jun 20

Group claimed big firms withheld or froze payments.


Treasury lending to businesses passes £40bn

25 Jun 20

Nearly a million firms in COVID-19 debt.


COVID-19 scam offers fake business grants

24 Jun 20

Fraudsters target retail, hospitality and leisure firms.


Javid calls for  business taxes to be cut

23 Jun 20

Temporary tax cuts may be revealed in July.


MP’s call for easing of re-enrolment rule

22 Jun 20

Many workers opted-out during COVID-19 crisis.


Firms urged to reinstate VAT direct debits

19 Jun 20

The VAT deferral period ends on 30 June 2020.


Furlough scheme changes from 1 July

18 Jun 20

From 1 July 2020 the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is changing to allow more flexibility. HMRC updated their guidance on 12 June 2020 to account for the series of changes that will be introduced.


Employers ask a third of furloughed staff to work

18 Jun 20

Firms set to have 30 days to confess from July.


ISA rates slump to record lows

16 Jun 20

Providers pull 329 products in six months to June.


Treasury may consider temporary cut to VAT

15 Jun 20

Pressure on the Chancellor to follow Germany’s lead.


UK economy fell by a fifth in April

12 Jun 20

Unparalleled figures recorded as a result of lockdown.


HMRC goes for recovery powers on COVID-19 grants

11 Jun 20

Two-week consultation to amend Finance Bill 2019-21 to close tomorrow.


More than 1 in 4 employees on furlough 

10 Jun 20

Job retention scheme cost soar to £19.6bn.


Employers in furlough scheme cut-off warning

08 Jun 20

Tax group warns employers of cliff edge.


Business support loans pass £31bn

05 Jun 20

Lending rose £3.8bn in the last week of May.


HMRC launches coronavirus grants crackdown

03 Jun 20

Grants may be recovered and penalties issued.


1 in 10 workers stop pension contributions

02 Jun 20

COVID-19 forces some to cut their cloth accordingly.


Chancellor extends support for the self-employed

01 Jun 20

Second and final round of payments to open in August.


Calls grow to extend support for the self-employed

29 May 20

Bodies issue collective plea as SEISS nears the end.

Whitley Stimpson COVID-19 risk assessment

29 May 20

Following an extended period of home working, we would like to share with you our completed COVID-19 risk assessment in line with government guidelines.


Furlough scheme covers 8.4m workers

28 May 20

A million employers claim £15bn in subsidies.


Fraud victims soar during pandemic

27 May 20

Scams were ‘so convincing they were hard to spot’.


Govt. extends mortgage break scheme until October

26 May 20

One in six mortgage borrowers take up ‘payment holidays’.


Grandparents can claim pension credits for childcare over video chat

22 May 20

State pension boost is still available under lockdown restrictions.


Late IR35 amendment shot down in parliament

21 May 20

Rules edge closer to kicking in from April 2021.


Coronavirus loans’ bill passes £22bn

20 May 20

£14bn paid out in first two weeks of bounce-back loans.


HMRC fields two million SEISS applications

19 May 20

More than £6bn paid out in the first six days.


Off-payroll extension may be delayed until 2023

18 May 20

MPs contemplate further two-year delay.


HMRC relaxes stance on home office equipment

15 May 20

Reimbursing employee costs waived for 2020/21.


COVID-19 puts economy into ‘significant recession’

14 May 20

GDP slumps 5.8% in March, and 2% in Q1 2020.


Relief as furlough scheme extends to October

13 May 20

Business groups praise the Chancellor for listening to concerns.


Govt. clarifies guidance on returning to work

12 May 20

New guides for eight different lines of work.


Businesses want clarity before returning to work

11 May 20

Plans to ease restrictions “need more detail”.


UK economy ‘could shrink by 14%’ in 2020

07 May 20

Bank of England predicts biggest annual decline on record.


Most firms ready to restart within three weeks

06 May 20

Small businesses and B2B firms could be ready sooner.


Bounce Back Loans


Self-employed to start claiming coronavirus grants

05 May 20

Income support scheme opens ahead of schedule.


New grants for shared-property businesses

04 May 20

Scheme plugs gap in government support.


More firms access business interruption loans

25,652 applications were successful up to 28 April.

Read more


Businesses get VAT help reminder

Direct debits should be cancelled before 7 May.


Lenders grant 1.6m mortgage payment holidays

Average homeowner frees up £755 a month.


New microloans revealed for small firms

28 Apr 20
Loans of up to £50,000 available from 4 May.

A Guide for Taxpayers on Seeking a Time to Pay Agreement with HMRC

27 Apr 20

Seeking a Time to Pay Agreement


Shops get rent break during crisis

27 Apr 20
High street firms asked to pay what they can.

Govt. to offer 100% guarantee on SME loans

Most small firms have seen applications turned down.


Growing tech startups get £250m lifeline

Loans of between £125k and £5m available next month.


Chancellor expands loan scheme for large firms

All firms turning over more £45m can apply.


One-month extension for furlough scheme

Job retention scheme will be open until 30 June.


Coronavirus job retention scheme goes live

Treasury can field 450,000 applications an hour.


Coronavirus triggers surge in demand for will-writing services

Self-isolation puts strain on 183-year-old rule.


UK employers to furlough more than 9 million workers

16 Apr 20

More businesses claiming staff pay through Government scheme.


New starters in job retention scheme boost

Those on payroll before 19 March are eligible.


‘Self-employed can claim support in mid-May’

Payments to be made in early June.


Chancellor pledges £750m for charities

Sunak vows “charities have not been forgotten”.


Landlords want Govt. to clarify rent advice

Emergency measures prompt tenants to stop paying.


Groups back increased support for crisis-hit firms

06 Apr 20

Chancellor paves the way for easier access to funds.


Public-sector contractors in furlough boost

03 Apr 20

Job retention scheme open to those in contract.


How to access coronavirus support schemes

02 Apr 20

Details on how to apply for emergency measures.


Second phase of MTD for VAT delayed

HMRC defers rollout of more stringent rules until 1 April 2021.


The proposed amendments to insolvency law following COVID-19

31 Mar 20

The Government announced changes to insolvency laws at a press conference on Saturday, 28 March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.


The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

27 Mar 20

There seems to be a lot of confusion out there in terms of how the banks are supporting SME’s funding requests during the COVID-19 crisis, and in particular the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).


COVID-19 job retention scheme Q&A

27 Mar 20

Late last night H.M. Revenue and Customs published detailed guidance on the Job Retention Scheme. Here we will try to answer many of the common questions that we have received over the last few days.


COVID-19 update on support available

26 Mar 20

Since we last provided an update just over 24 hours ago, there have been some significant developments on the support available to help both individuals and businesses.


COVID-19 support guide

26 Mar 20

Here we have detailed all the COVID-19 support available to small businesses.


Whitley Stimpson warns that direct debits should be cancelled due to the VAT deferral

25 Mar 20

HMRC are supporting businesses through these unprecedented circumstances by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months.


Whitley Stimpson expert welcomes new IR35 tax delay

18 Mar 20

A leading tax expert today welcomed the decision to delay complicated tax changes that will affect thousands of contractors in the private sector.


Whitley Stimpson coronavirus (COVID-19) business continuity plan

18 Mar 20

As we are amidst a global pandemic and the spread of the coronavirus has reached unchartered territories, we would like to share with you our plans in place, enabling us to provide an uninterrupted service.