Key Workers and Business Closures
• Key workers could be people whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response and those who cannot keep their children safe at home. Other areas include education and childcare , the production of food and other necessary goods and transport.
• A more comprehensive list of key workers can be found here, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision, but this list is not prescriptive.
• If workers think they fall within the critical categories listed on the website above, they should confirm this with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service.
• Please consult https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance to see which businesses must close, and the exceptions to those requirements.
• If you are an essential business, it is important that you operate within the government guidelines to keep yourself and your employees safe. Please check them out here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19#keeping-your-business-open
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
• You can claim for 80% of your employee’s wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions, if you have put them on furlough because of coronavirus (COVID-19) through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
• Businesses will receive government grants worth up to 80% of wages to keep workers in jobs- enabling them to furlough staff. The CJRS will pay up to £2,500 per worker each month, helping those who are self-isolating or caring for loved ones. Please note- business do not have to make up the other 20% of wages.
• The Chancellor has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) eligibility date to 19 March 2020. Individuals originally had to be employed on February 28 2020.
• The government is extending the CRJS that is keeping millions of people in jobs by a further month – until the end of June – to reflect the continuing social distancing measures.
Self Employment Income Support Scheme
• This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. It will be available for 3 months, but may be extended.
• The grant will be subject to Income Tax and National Insurance contributions but does not need to be repaid. Please check here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme for more information on the scheme.
• Self-employed people who are eligible will be contacted by HMRC directly, asked to fill out a simple online form, and HMRC will pay the grant directly into their bank account. We expect people to access the scheme by the beginning of June.
If you are self-employed or own a business and you are concerned about not being able to pay your tax bills because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for support through Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) Time to Pay service:
• If you think you or your business is eligible for support through Time to Pay, you can call the following helpline number to get practical help and advice: 0800 0159 559.
• These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
• For more information, please check the HMRC site here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tax-helpline-to-support-businesses-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19 .
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
• A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, has launched to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.
• The government will provide lenders with a partial guarantee of 80% on each loan to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.
• The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. The first 6 months of these loans will be interest-free, as the Government will cover these payments.
• Businesses will be able to get finance under the scheme from a large number of providers, including the main high street banks, as of next week.
• Businesses will remain responsible for repaying any facility they take out.
• For further information, please visit: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/
Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan
Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders.
To learn more about how to access the various financial support schemes, please see the link here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19
There is a BEIS Business Support Helpline for any queries: 0300 456 3565
Some businesses, including nurseries, in England will be eligible for a Business Rates holiday for 1 year from 1 April 2020:
• If you are currently receiving the retail discount for your Business Rates bill, you will receive a revised bill with 100% relief shortly.
• If your business occupies a property in the retail sector with a rateable value of £51,000 or more, or if your business occupies a property in the leisure or hospitality sectors you may also be eligible for the 100% discount on your business rates bill.
• You will shortly hear from your Local Authority. If you have any questions, you should contact your Local Authority.
• If you are a nursery, you will be entitled to the 100% relief for the next year. You should contact your Local Authority for more information.
• Guidance for Local Authorities will be published by MHCLG by 20 March.
If your business is eligible for small business rate relief or rural rate relief in England, you are entitled to a one-off cash grant of £10,000:
• If your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector in England, then you may also be entitled to a cash grant. If you have a property with a rateable value of less than £15,000 then you will be entitled to a grant of £10,000, whether or not you are entitled to small business rate relief or rural rate relief. If you have a property with a rateable value of between £14,999 and £51,000 then you will be entitled to a cash grant of £25,000.
• The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will provide guidance for Local Authorities on how to administer these grants shortly.
• If you are an eligible business, your Local Authority will then be in touch in the coming weeks to provide details of how to claim this money.