COVID 19 - Support for Businesses

Following the announcements made by the Chancellor on 17th March, the .gov.uk website has now been updated: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-employees-employers-and-businesses

Details of the Chancellor’s statement can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-announces-additional-support-to-protect-businesses

Financial Support for Business

The details behind the financial support for smaller businesses through business rate relief is yet to be released by Government but announcements will follow regarding the scheme criteria.

£20bn of business rates support and grant funding was announced to help the most-affected firms manage their cashflow through this period by:

  • Giving all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months
  • Increasing grants to small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief from £3,000 to £10,000
  • Providing further £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000

The current size criterion for the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, designed to support businesses that are viable but unable to obtain finance due to having insufficient security to meet the lender’s normal requirements, is up to £41m turnover.

The latest details on that are below:

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

  • A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will launch in the week commencing 23 March, to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The maximum is £1.2 million and there is no fee payable to the Government. This is borrowing that must be repaid, these are not grants.
  • The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the Government-owned British Business Bank. There are 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks. The Scheme will support business loans and overdrafts of up to £5 million in value by providing a guarantee to the lender. The Government will not charge businesses for this guarantee. The scheme will also cover asset finance and invoice finance.
  • The decision on whether to offer finance is taken by each individual lender, not by government. Businesses remain responsible for repaying any borrowing that they take out.
  • In order to access the scheme, businesses should contact their finance provider, not the British Business Bank. This will help your finance provider to act quickly once the scheme has launched. If you have an existing loan with monthly repayments you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to help with cash flow.
  • The lending decision is taken by each individual provider, not by government. To find the full rules of the Scheme and list of accredited lenders, search online for “Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme” and this will take you to the British Business Bank website. All the major banks will offer the Scheme once it has launched. There are 40 accredited providers in all.

Full details of the scheme, including eligibility criteria, will be available on the British Business Bank website as soon as it is launched.

For Individuals and businesses claiming Statutory Sick Pay relief (note: some details still to be provided), information can be found HERE.

For more information on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, click HERE.

Growth Hub events – the Growth Hub is following government advice in regards to events and at present our events programme , which usually includes gatherings of no more than 50 people, will continue. We will however be monitoring the situation very closely and reserve the right to postpone an event should government advice change. If you have booked onto a Growth Hub event you will receive updates from our events team but if you are unsure please call 0333 006 9178.

Further Advice

The Government has produced guidance for employers and businesses.

The Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development has produced a fact sheet, which sets out how employers should respond to the threat from Coronavirus.

HMRC has launched a tax helpline to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus. Details here. The number is 0800 0159 559.

Companies House has produced guidance if coronavirus has affected your company and you need more time to file your accounts. Information here.

The Department for Transport and Public Health England have produced specific guidance for the transport sector here.

The NHS has a concise guide to Coronavirus setting out how it is spread, how to avoid catching it, symptoms, treatment and what to do if you think you or any of your employees might be infected. Details here.

The World Health Organisation has more detailed information including videos on best practice and posters to download to inform your workforce. There’s also a useful myth-buster section and advice on when face masks are appropriate. Click here.

Chamber member Mills & Reeve explore the issues that employers will need to address if their staff may have been in contact with coronavirus (COVID-19). Details here.

Finally, Public Health England has two useful blogs. The first here addresses frequently asked questions around Coronavirus. The second blog here looks at how it uses contact tracing to limit the spread of the virus in the UK.

Support for charities in can be found here

The D2N2 Growth Hub will continue to provide updated information for businesses as it becomes available. Please refer to this news feed for the latest information.

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Anthony Byrne
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