Financial Support

coronavirus impact on UK roofing industry

Information on this page last updated: ​Tuesday 31 March at ​​​​15:​43

Company and Self-Employed Financial Advice

The government has announced a variety of measures to support businesses during this pandemic. What measures are particularly important to employers in our sector?

These include:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a series of emergency measures including a huge bailout to cover the wages of millions of workers.
  • The Chancellor said the government will cover 80% of salaries—up to £2,500 per month—with all employers able to apply to HMRC to pay the wages of people who are furloughed.
  • Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all employers in the UK will be able to access support to continue paying part of employees’ salaries who would otherwise have been laid off or made redundant during the ongoing health crisis.
  • Furloughed workers are those whose employers cannot cover staff costs due to COVID-19, and as such they have been asked to stop working but have not been made redundant.
  • Employers will submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required).
  • The scheme will initially run for at least three months, from 1 March 2020, with all UK businesses eligible, and will be extended if necessary.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme was launched on the 23rd March. Details are  available through the British Business Bank. Interest and fees on the loans will be paid by the government for the first twelve months, making them interest free to customers.
  • CBILS can provide facilities of up to £5m for smaller businesses with annual turnover of no more than £45m across the UK who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues, leading to disruptions to their cashflow.
  • CBILS supports a wide range of business finance facilities, including term loans, overdrafts,
    Asset finance and invoice finance.
  • CBILS are available through the British Business Bank’s 40+ accredited lenders.
  • Note a number of private lenders are also making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including £2 billion from Lloyds Banking Group, £5 billion from NatWest and £7 billion from Barclays.

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility for larger firms

The COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility is designed to support liquidity among larger firms, helping them to bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through the purchase of short-term debt in the form of commercial paper of up to one-year maturity, issued by firms making a material contribution to the UK economy. It will help businesses across a range of sectors to pay wages and suppliers, even while experiencing severe disruption to cashflows.

Relevant factors for eligibility include whether the company:

  • is a significant employer in the UK
  • is headquartered in the UK
  • is incorporated in the UK (including those with foreign-incorporated parent companies and with a genuine business in the UK);
  • generates significant revenue in the UK
  • serves many customers in the UK
  • has several operating sites in the UK

Available from the Bank of England.

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

Additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR). This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs. Funding for the scheme will be provided to local authorities by the government in early April. No action is required, the local authority should action once up and running.

Statutory sick pay relief package

  • Statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs. The Chancellor announced that businesses with fewer than 250 employees would be able to claim back from the government two weeks of SSP paid to staff affected by coronavirus.
  • The Government are legislating for SSP to be paid from day one, rather than day four, of absence from work if the employee is absent from work due to sickness or need to stay at home due to COVID-19. Once the legislation has been passed, this will apply retrospectively from the 13th March. This legislation is being fast tracked through Parliament.
  • Visit the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) page for more information.
  • Those not eligible for SSP—for example the self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week—and have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or new style Employment and Support Allowance.

Tax Deferral Measures

  • All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.
  • Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during the period of 20 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
  • Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020/2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during this deferral period.
  • For the self-employed, the second payment on account of income tax, which had been due on 31 July 2020, has been deferred until 31 January 2021.

Note: For VAT registered businesses that wish to take advantage of the deferral of any VAT payments between now and 30 June, HMRC have now confirmed that it will not automatically cancel collection of VAT payments by direct debit and so direct debits will need to be cancelled by the businesses. This needs to be done before the direct debit is due to be collected. Businesses will also need to remember to reinstate their direct debit mandate once the deferral is over and to make arrangements to pay the accumulated VAT owed by the end of the 2020/21 tax year.

IR 35 Implementation Delayed

IR 35 Off-payroll working rules reforms postponed until 2021.

MOT 3-Month Exemption

MOTs for lorries and trailers will be exempt from needing a MOT for 3 months from the 21st March 2020.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Announced by the Government on the 27th March, this scheme provides a grant to the self-employed or those in a partnership worth 80% of an individual’s trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next three months.

Available to those who: -

  • have submitted an Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 – 19
  • traded in the tax year 2019 – 20
  • are trading when making the application, or would be except for COVID-19
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 – 21
  • have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19
  • profits are less than £50,000 and more than half of income comes from self-employment. 
  • The grant is based is based on adding together the total trading profit for the ​three tax years (2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, 2018 to 2019) where applicable, divided by three to provide an average. This is then used to calculate a monthly amount.
  • It will be up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for three months and paid directly into the individual’s bank account, in one instalment. It will be extended if necessary.
  • This scheme is not open yet. The aim is to pay at the beginning of June (three months backdated).
  • HMRC will contact those who are registered as qualifying, to verify eligibility for the scheme and invite applications online.
  • IMPORTANT: Anyone who missed the Jan filing deadline for the tax year 2018-19, must do this by 23 April 2020.
  • Beware of Scams! Access will be only through GOV.UK. If someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC it is highly likely to be a scam—do not part with any personal of financial information.

Anyone in short term financial difficulties, the Government advises to investigate: -

Government Updates

We urge all employers to view COVID-19: support for businesses and sign up for updates.

I've heard the Government will cover 80% of some of my employees' salar​ies, how will that work?

What is meant by ‘furloughed’ workers?

An employee is ‘furloughed’ if they remain employed but are not undertaking work. This is new in the UK and is intended to prevent people being made redundant.

Who is eligible?

Any of your permanent PAYE employees who were on your payroll by the 28 February 2020 and would have been made redundant as a result of the Coronavirus. These can be those in full-time and part-time contracts qualify, as do employees on agency contracts or on flexible contracts, including those on zero-hour contracts.

What happens to employees who joined the company’s payroll after 28 February?

The job retention scheme is only eligible for employees with a PAYE reference number before February 28. If you do not have enough work to sustain the role you would need to consider other alternatives to redundancy.

What if an employee has already been made redundant after 28 February?

We are seeking clarification on this point. You should seek advice if this question arises.

Can furloughed employees take on new work?

While they are furloughed, they can NOT do any work for your company nor can they take​ on any other paid work in this time, however they can volunteer to help tackle the virus as long as it is in line with the Public Health Guidelines.

How much do furloughed employees get?

Firms can claim 80% of an employee’s wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month plus the associated Employer NICS and minimum auto-enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage. That in effect raises the cap that the government has set to a maximum ceiling of £2,804 of total grant per employee

There are no exceptions to this (for example the National Living Wage).

If the employee has been employed for a full twelve months prior to the claim, you can claim for the higher of either:

  • the same month’s earning from the previous year
  • average monthly earnings from the 2019 – 20 tax year

If the employee has been employed for less than a year, you can claim for an average of their monthly earnings since they started work.

If the employee only started in February 2020, use a pro-rata for their earnings so far to claim.

On the Job Retention scheme, does employee holiday accrue during the furlough?

Holiday will continue to be accrued while the individual is furloughed.

Who decides whether an individual is furloughed?

Whilst it is the decision of the employer on who will be furloughed based on which employees operate with reduced capacity, an employee can only be furloughed by agreement with them.

Can directors of limited companies furlough themselves?

Yes, as long as they are on the payroll as an employee. If they furlough themselves, they are not allowed to then work in the business whilst they are furloughed. However, they are allowed to undertake their statutory duties whilst furloughed, such as filing company accounts etc.

Does a furloughed employee retain their employment rights?


How do I furlough an employee?

Firstly you should have a conversation with each employee to explain why you wish to furlough them and ask for their agreement to do so.​ If the employee verbally agrees to be furloughed you must then write to each employee formally advising the details of this.​ A template is available from NFRC to assist with this. 

Your employee must be furloughed for a minimum of three weeks at a time.​ You can place your employee on furlough in blocks of ​three weeks however they are not allowed to be on annual leave during furlough. You should agree with the employee when their furlough ends.

How long does the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme last for?

It will be in place for at least​ three months and backdated to start from the 1st March 2020.

How do I tell the government about a furloughed employee?

HMRC is building an online portal now for you to do this which they have said should be up and running by late April.

How do I get my hands on the cash from the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme?

Hopefully very shortly after the online portal is ready. We will give you updates when we know.

The key information companies will need is their PAYE reference number.

Are there separate support measures in the devolved nations?

Government Coronavirus response regional support figures

Where do I seek guidance on setting out my business case for support?

The government gives guidance on producing a business plan. The Start Up Loans website provides Business Plan and Cash Flow downloadable templates. The Prince’s Trust also provide useful material.

What do I do if I feel that none of the Government’s measures cover my company’s circumstances caused by this emergency?

Search online for reputable sources of information which may provide a solution. Check if there is a groundswell of similar opinion and if any petition has been created to lobby government. Contact our helpline—we can advise if your situation is shared by other members and what we are doing to lobby on your behalf.

What support is available if my customer is delaying payment or won’t pay for completed work stating the reason is this emergency?

The client can only withhold or delay payment in line with the terms of the contract not due to the emergency.

What conditions should I include in any new quotation?

Any quotation being issued or contracts for works being signed where the project needs to be commenced or undertaken during the COVID-19 outbreak, it would be prudent to include a clause that allows for delay or disruption for unknown viruses, or biological contamination.

We would also advise speaking to your client with regards to existing ongoing contracts and how you can work together through this outbreak to put into place an agreed procedure for any delay that may be incurred.

What is the construction industry doing to keep business going in the current climate?

The Construction Leadership Council along with our umbrella body Build UK, CECA and the FMB have written to the Prime Minister emphasising that it is vital that construction sites are able to remain open where safe to do so. 

HM Government support for businesses

Government's advice page on support for business affected by COVID-19.

See the Government's advice page on support for business affected by COVID-19.

See how NFRC Supplier Members are responding to the coronavirus outbreak; keeping you updated on stock availability, changes to lead times etc.

covid-19 the facts home page 

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