Coronavirus - What Help is Available?
Updated: Mar 20
We know that the impact of Coronavirus is a significant concern for businesses at the moment, and it seems that most are going to be affected in one way or another. This already difficult situation is made more frustrating by the lack of clarity regarding what support is available and to who.
We are going to be publishing updates to give clear advice on what is available, what the eligibility criteria are, and how you can access the support.
What you can do now:
£10,000 Cash Grant
Businesses operating across all industries will be eligible for a cash grant of up to £10,000 if they are eligible for Small Business Rate Relief.
Cash grants of up to £10,000, will be automatically awarded to any businesses that registered for business rates and receives small business rates relief (ie rateable value of property £15k or below).
It’s our understanding that your business needs to be registered with the local authority for business rates to receive these grants. They are not available to business based at home and so don’t pay business rates.
Updates on 19.3.20 by Newark and Sherwood District Council indicate cash grants will be processed in the next 14 days. The council will be contacting eligible businesses asap.
Updates on 20.3.20 - If you are eligable for the £10k cash grant, Newark and Sherwood District Council are now asking you to provide your bank details to them, so they can process your grant payment. The link to the form can be found here. If you think they already have your bank details, you do not have to provide them again.
If your business premises are based in a different area, please check your local council's website for more details.
Defer or Delay Payment of Taxes
HMRC has set up a dedicated helpline to provide guidance and support for companies and the self-employed that are unable to pay their taxes on time due to Coronavirus. This includes Corporation Tax, PAYE, VAT and Income ax.
Through this helpline, HMRC is offering ‘Time to Pay’ with options to delay payments. If you have late payment penalties or interest due to HMRC, you may be able to get these waived and should contact HMRC asap.
The helpline number is 0800 0159 559 and the opening hours are Monday to Friday, 8am to 8 pm and Saturday, 8 am to 4 pm.
Speak to your Landlord about a Rent Holiday
If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Clearly explain your situation and ask if it would be possible to get a rent holiday. You may well find that your landlord doesn’t want to lose you as a tenant, especially if your business can weather the storm and commence rental payments later in the year.
Speak to Current Lenders
If your business has loans or equipment on finance etc., speak to your lenders to see if you can take a payment holiday or if they can defer interest costs for a few months.
Claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
If you are self-employed and are tested positive for Coronavirus or are in self-isolation, you may be able to claim ESA from day one, rather than waiting the usual seven days. ESA is a self-employed individual’s equivalent of Statutory Sick Pay.
To claim ESA, please visit https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance/how-to-claim
Apply for Universal Credit if Your Household Income has Fallen
If you do not receive Universal Credit you can apply to do so. If you need income fast, you can apply for an advance on your first scheduled universal credit payment. The amount of universal credit you may receive is based on your household's circumstances.
More details can be found here https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit
What’s to come:
Statutory Sick Pay
The Government has agreed to cover the cost of 14 days’ Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) per employee, for those off work due to Coronavirus, in small and medium-sized businesses.
These are the details we know so far:
This will be available to businesses with up to 250 employees as at 28 February 2020
It will come into effect from day one of sickness, rather than the usual day four
Employers will be able to claim this expenditure as a rebate on their monthly PAYE bill
Employers should maintain records of staff sickness and payments of SSP, but employees do not have to provide a GP note.
Business Rates and Cash Grants
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure industry will:
Receive a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months be eligible for a cash grant of up to £25,000 if they operate from premises with a rateable value between £15k and £51k.
It's likely that your local authority will process the cash grants of £25k. Less details are known about this grant at the current time.
Cashflow and Lending
The Government will underwrite loans of up to £5m to be available to small and medium-sized businesses. The first six months of the loan will be interest-free. We understand that these loans will be available with attractive interest rates. This scheme is known as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
Updated information can be found at here on the British Business Bank website, including details of industries eligable for the loans.
The Government are asking lenders to provide mortgage payment holidays of at least three months for those facing financial issues as a result of Coronavirus.
In yesterday’s press conference (17 March), the Government promised that loans would be available from Monday 23 March 2020.
We will keep you up to date as things develop, so look out for more from us in the coming days and weeks.
Most importantly, we hope you all keep safe and well