Coronavirus Government Support Schemes feature in Royston Crow by Helen Froggett Thomson for The Accountancy Practice

Hard to believe how much our world has turned upside down. Now in week two of ‘lock down’, some people are working even harder than ever at enormous personal risk, while others are going to be paid to stay at home. Some are surrounded by family, others self isolating alone. The extremes are stark, and the government are attempting to provide support, in a manner which could never have been anticipated before. Attempting to keep food on our tables and the wheels of industry, if not exactly turning, in ‘hibernation’ til this situation passes.

As you might have seen in last weeks paper, charities are more desperate than ever as their event funding programmes have been decimated. As ambassadors for Home-Start Hertfordshire we are well aware of their plight and it’s heart warming to see how many people are offering to help support the existing, and also community initiatives such as Royston vs Coronavirus which have reassuringly sprung up in the last few weeks.

Cash is king at the moment. Not in our pockets as we’re discouraged from paying for anything with the ‘filthy virus carrying lucre’ but certainly for use with our cards. Conserve it right now, we don’t know how long this is going to last. So it will help if everyone has taken advantage of the mortgage/loan holidays on offer, contacted their utilities providers, cancelled unnecessary DD’s, agreed a deferred/reduced payment plan with landlords.

No one is allowed to have their utilities cut off or have their house repossessed for next three months (at least). 

So the main costs remaining are food, TV entertainment packages, phone and wifi/broadband.

The governments support falls into three main camps.

We’ve made a Financial Support Flowchart to help explain and signpost the options. It doesn’t cover every eventuality but it is a good tool to start you on your decision making path.

Summary of key benefits

For the self employed:

  • 80% taxable grant equivalent of PC (pre corona) monthly profit, averaged over three years, for those earning less than £50,000 a year, as submitted on self assessment form
  • Need to have been trading before April 2019 and submitted a tax return
  • Encouraged to apply for ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance and/or new (no minimum income threshold) Universal Credit as grant not due til June
  • Defer VAT and Tax payments for at least six months
  • Can work while being supported by the grant

Sorry to say if you’ve been working as a self employed sole trader since April 2019 and have not yet need to submit your tax return you are not in the system and are not covered.

Consider applying for a 12 months interest free business loan through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Support Scheme (CBILS) or look into new style ESA (which has been extended to support self employed temporarily) and Universal Credit, the latter especially if you rent your home and have savings under £16,000.

EDIT 28TH APRIL: IF YOU NEED TO BORROW UP TO £50,000 (against a quarter of your annual turnover) you can apply for the ‘simple and fast’ BOUNCE BACK scheme. Will open 4th May.

It will be 100% underwritten to the lender by the government and be interest free for the first 12 months.

It is simpler to apply for than the CBILS loan and will have a quick 24 hour turn around from application to access to the money. Click here to find out more 

Main exceptions:

  • There’s no support for self employed who over the last three years have averaged over £150,000 in taxable profit.
  • If you were juggling your new business while on PAYE elsewhere, the profit for the self employed portion needs to be more than half your income to qualify.

For the employed

  • Need to have been in PAYE employment (incl Zero hours) Feb 28th 2020
  • Can receive 80% of salary up to of £2500 per month if ‘furloughed’ on Job Retention Scheme (JRS), which is paid to their employer in April
  • Cannot work for ‘furloughing’ employer but can work for another business or volunteer


For small businesses 

Grants of up to £25,000

Option to furlough staff (and all company directors)

Interest free loans from the CBILS scheme

No rates to pay for the year 20/21

SSP paid in full for first two weeks of sickness/isolation


Good luck to us all in these trying times.


Please email  if you would like some free advice.

Helen Froggett- Thomson is sharing down to earth translations of government proposals for family run The Accountancy Practice, in Royston, via their website blogs. Please visit

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