A round-up of recent news around the Coronavirus

Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has said that charities can have an extension to the annual return deadline, on request, if they are struggling to meet the current deadline due to the pandemic.  – see an article in Third Sector, if you have a subscription, or the Charity Commission’s announcement.


Situation report from Be the Business

Be the Business, ‘a not-for-profit movement helping every firm in the country improve their performance’ has provided an update of the current situation, relating specifically to small businesses and  individuals:

17 March 2020
At a press conference on Tuesday 17 March, the Chancellor joined the Prime Minister to announce a massive range of economic stimulus designed to protect businesses and jobs, including:

  • Government-backed and guaranteed loans of £330bn on attractive terms to support businesses with rent, wages, suppliers, and other costs.
  • To support larger firms with liquidity, a low-cost new lending facility has been agreed with the Bank of England.
  • To support SMEs, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme will make loans of up to £5m available with no interest due for the first 6months. Both schemes should be available from next week (w/c 23 March).
  • Firms in the retail / hospitality / leisure sector without insurance and with a rateable value of up to £51,000 will be eligible for a cash grant of up to £25,000.
  • Firms in these sectors will also now have a 12 month business rates holiday irrespective of the rateable value of the property.
  • The £3,000 cash grant available from Local Authorities announced for businesses in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief at the Budget last week has now increased to £10,000.
  • A support package for airlines and airports to be announced.
  • The Chancellor is also taking a new legal power in the Covid Bill to offer whatever further financial support deemed necessary.

16 March 2020
Speaking at a press conference on Monday 16 March, the Prime Minister requested that anyone with a cough or fever and all the members of their household to stay at home for 14 days. The government has also advised against all unnecessary travel, mass gatherings and social meetings at venues such as pubs, clubs and theatres. Working from home is also encouraged.

Last week 
In the Budget on 11 March, the Chancellor set out a package of temporary and targeted measures to support public services, individuals and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. This included a package of measures to support businesses including:

  • a statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
  • a Business Rate Relief for small businesses and pubs, small business grant funding of £3,000 for all business in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme


Articles from other sources

Rural Services Network
  • Why rural areas could struggle – see the article here.
Civil Society
  • Charities in talks with the government around increased demand and drop in income, with a package of support to be announced later this week, it is anticipated. See the article here.
  • Some charities are already launching emergency appeals to fill their funding gaps – see the article here.
  • Some charities are cutting staff pay, and closing venues – see the article here.


What’s closed and what’s open

The National Trust’s properties are closed, but the gardens and countryside areas will be open and free to use

The main London museums and most others are closing, and most arts, training and performance venues are also closing their doors, for the protection of patrons and staff.

The RNLI will continue to operate its service, but is closing its premises to visitors.

Many charities which run shops are closing them, due to a shortage of volunteers, and customers.