Read the comprehensive guide for businesses and employees of all the support schemes offered by the Government – showing people what schemes are available, what they are eligible for and when they start - HERE
I am worried about being able to pay my staff because of COVID-19, what support is there for me?
On 20th March, the Chancellor announced a plan to protect people’s jobs and income.
For the first time in our history – the Government will help pay people’s wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – offering grants to employers who promise to retain their staff, covering most of the cost of paying people’s wages. Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month.
Through the scheme, any employer can apply to put workers on temporary leave or 'furloughed' status, and the employer will receive a grant from HMRC.
Furloughed employees can be on any type of contract, including:
- full-time employees
- part-time employees
- employees on agency contracts
- employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
This scheme is designed to help employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to retain their employees and protect the UK economy.
The Government recently confirmed that they are extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) not just by one month – but until the end of March 2021, with 80 per cent of wages for hours not worked covered by the Government and the employer will only have to cover National Insurance and Employer pension contributions. The Treasury will review the policy in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more.
As the CJRS is being extended until the end of March, the Job Retention Bonus will therefore not be paid in February; the Government will instead redeploy a retention incentive at the appropriate time.
Get more information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme HERE
Click HERE to find out what you need to make a claim.
Once you’ve claimed, HMRC will check that your claim is correct and pay the claim amount by Bacs into your bank account within 6 working days.
What assistance is available to support small/medium businesses' cash flow throughout the outbreak?
The Government has been clear that it is willing to do 'whatever it takes' to support the UK's businesses at this difficult time, and has allocated funding to go towards both grants and loans. It is important to ensure businesses can survive this period and go on to have a profitable future.
There are a wide range of financial support for businesses. To find more information about the grants available, click HERE
The Government have also provided £1.1 billion to councils in England to further support businesses more broadly over the coming months. Get in touch with your local authority to find out more about their discretionary grant schemes.
Contact Forest of Dean District Council
Contact Tewkesbury Borough Council
CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME
The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million.
The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months.
The scheme is open until 31 January 2021.
Find out more about the Business Interruption Loan Scheme HERE
BOUNCE BACK LOANS
The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000.
The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year.
The scheme is open to applications until 31 January 2021.
If you already have a Bounce Back Loan but borrowed less than you were entitled to, you can top up your existing loan to your maximum amount. You must request the top-up by 31 January 2021.
Read more information about the Bounce Back Loans HERE
I am a small/medium business and worried about being able to afford to pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), is there any help available for me?
Since 13th March, businesses with less than 250 employees have been eligible to reclaim the costs of SSP for sickness absence due to COVID-19.
The refund covers up to two weeks' SSP per eligible employee who are either ill or have been told to self-isolate because of COVID-19.
Please ensure to maintain a full record of staff absences and note that employees will not need to provide a GP fit note for COVID-19 related absences during the outbreak.
As existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP, the Government will work with employers in the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism as soon as possible.
Please find the Government's coronavirus guidance for employers HERE
I own a business and am concerned about being able to pay my tax bills because of COVID-19, what help is available for me?
If you deferred VAT between 20 March and 30 June 2020 and still have payments to make, you can:
- pay the deferred VAT in full on or before 31 March 2021
- opt in to the VAT deferral new payment scheme when it launches in 2021
- contact HMRC if you need more help to pay
Under the new payment scheme, instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, you can make up to 11 smaller monthly instalments, interest free. All instalments must be paid by the end of March 2022.
The scheme will allow you to:
- pay your deferred VAT in instalments without adding interest
- select the number of instalments from 2 to 11 equal monthly payments
To use this scheme you must:
- still have deferred VAT to pay
- be up to date with your VAT returns
- opt in before the end of March 2021
- pay the first instalment before the end of March 2021
- be able to pay the deferred VAT by Direct Debit
If you opt in to the scheme, you can still have a time to pay arrangement for other HMRC debts and outstanding tax.
For more information about the scheme and the current available support with VAT bills, click HERE
Do I still have to pay Business Rates throughout the outbreak?
The Government has announced that the Business Rates holiday is to be extended to all businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector for the next twelve months. If you own a business that falls into this category, you will not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. This is to help the businesses worst-impacted by coronavirus.
If you are currently receiving the retail discount for your Business Rates bill, you will shortly receive a revised bill with 100% relief. Get more information about this scheme HERE.
If you are a nursery, you will also be entitled to the 100% relief. You should contact your local authority for more information. Get more information about this scheme HERE.
Contact Forest of Dean District Council
Contact Tewkesbury Borough Council
I have pandemic/government ordered closure insurance for my businesses, am I able to claim even though the Government has not forced my business to close?
The Government's medical advice of 16th March is sufficient to enable those businesses which have an insurance policy that covers both pandemics and government-ordered closure to make a claim - provided all other terms and conditions in their policy are met.
If in doubt, please check the terms and conditions of your specific policy and contact your insurance provider.
I am a restaurant/pub serving food, can I quickly operate as a takeaway so I can keep my business running?
The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has legislated to bring forward a temporary Permitted Development Right to allow for a change of use from A3 (Restaurant) and A4 (Pub) to A5 (Hot Food Takeaway).
Under this legislation, pubs and restaurants will be able to notify their local authority that they are now operating as a takeaway without any prior approval.
Get more information about this measure HERE