Business grants are now available for small businesses covered by the two schemes recently announced by the Chancellor.
The small business grant provides any business that is receiving small business rate relief with a cash grant of £10,000.
The retail, hospitality and leisure grant provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant. Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000 per property and businesses with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000 per property.
We are already making grants to eligible small businesses where we have the business’s bank account details. Payments should arrive in accounts from this Friday 27th March.
Qualifying businesses will receive payment directly by bank transfer.
We understand that many businesses will be experiencing financial hardship during these unprecedented times. Whilst instalments would be due in April and May please be assured that if you are unable to pay we will not be undertaking any recovery or enforcement activity for unpaid rates at this time. We will keep this under review and encourage businesses to contact us at an appropriate time to revise payment term
Government Job Retention Scheme
The government announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on Friday 20 March, which will provide support to all UK employers to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. HMRC will reimburse 80% of the wages of all workers affected, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Payments will be backdated to 1 March and will be made available for at least three months. HMRC is working to set up a system for reimbursement.
To access the scheme you will need to:
Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change. Changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.
Submit information to HMRC about furloughed employees and their earnings through a new online portal which is being set up.
The council will provide further updates on the process for accessing the scheme as soon as these are released.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now open for applications. The scheme supports a wide range of business finance products and can provide smaller businesses with loans of up to £5 million, with no interest for the first 12 months. The scheme provides the lender with a government backed guarantee of 80% of the loan and there is no fee for businesses accessing the scheme.
We are continuing to seek clarity from the government on support available to those who are self-employed.
We are currently aware of the following measures:
· Income tax deferral to January2021 – this will happen automatically and no application is required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.
· HMRC Time to Pay scheme – support is available to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of COVID-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities. To access this support, please call HMRC’s helpline: 0800 0159 559.
You can claim Universal Credit if you are self-employed, providing you meet the usual eligibility criteria. From 6 April, the government will relax the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor for the duration of the outbreak. New claimants will not need to attend the job centre to demonstrate gainful self-employment. You can find more information in the government’s guidance on self-employment and Universal Credit
We are aware that support organisations are advising anyone who thinks they may need to apply for Universal Credit to do so as early as possible and we would echo this advice.