Measures to support businesses
A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees. Here are the latest financial support schemes your business can register for.
The Chancellor has set out a package of targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. These can be found here.
The package includes measures to support businesses including:
- a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- deferring VAT and Self-Assessment payments
- a Self-employment Income Support Scheme
- a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
- a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
Here is the governments guidelines on all businesses that must close. This is updated regularly so keep checking for the latest information.
Coronavirus grant process now live for Havant borough businesses
Businesses that qualify for coronavirus-related business grants can now confirm their details online to Havant Borough Council. There are two grants available:
- Small Business Grants - a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses that pay little or no businesses rates
- Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants - provide businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property
Visit www.havant.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support to find out more and apply.
Support for Charities
Support from Facebook
Facebook have launched a small business resource hub a few weeks ago to provide SMEs with information, advice and resources for managing the COVID-19 outbreak, including a business resilience toolkit and a quick action guide. They also run online training through that hub, this will include industry-specific videos to support broader sectors. https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/resource
Facebook have also announced a Facebook Small Business Grant, which will be supporting 30,000 small businesses in 30 countries offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time.
Preventing spread in the workplace
While advice is for non-essential staff to work from home, guidance for employers offering advice on preventing the spread of the virus in the workplace can be found here.
As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Takeaway and delivery services may remain open and operational in line with guidance on Friday 20 March. Online retail is still open and encouraged and postal and delivery service will run as normal.
Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).
Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim.
Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.
UK businesses trading internationally
This advice is for UK businesses that export or deliver goods and services abroad and have been impacted by the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). It includes:
- DIT support for UK business trading internationally
- financial support for business trading internationally
DIT can support businesses by:
- providing assistance with customs authorities to ensure smooth clearance of their products
- offering advice on intellectual property and other issues with business continuity British businesses that may face disruption due to the spread of coronavirus can contact DIT’s dedicated business support team by emailing COVID19@trade.gov.uk.
This team will discuss the challenges faced by UK businesses that trade internationally to understand how best the department can support them.
The new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
The self-employed will now be eligible for a new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). This will support the self-employed whose income has fallen temporarily due to COVID-19.
The Scheme will provide further additional support to the self-employed across the whole of the UK and is expected to help millions of individuals. This Scheme has been developed at rapid pace to get support to the self-employed as soon as possible and overcome the very challenging operational difficulties in establishing such unprecedented further support for this group.
The Scheme will provide taxable grants to self-employed individuals, including members of trading partnerships, worth 80% of their trading or partnership profits up to a maximum cap of £2,500 per month. The Scheme will cover three months of an
individual’s typical profits so an individual could receive up to £7,500. HMRC will use the average annual profits from eligible individuals’ tax returns for 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to determine the size of the grant for each person.
This Scheme provides targeted support for those who most need it to ensure it is fair. Reflecting this, individuals will be eligible to claim a grant if they:
- have lost trading profits/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19;
- have filed a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership, although we will make special provision for those who have not filed their return for 2018-19;
- have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of their total income come from self-employment. The individual will qualify on this criterion if at least one of the two following conditions applies:
- individual’s trading profits in 2018-19 were less than £50,000 and more than half their total income in 2018-19 came from self-employment
- the average of individual’s trading profits across the three years 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 were less than £50,000, and more than half their total income in those three years came from self-employment
These criteria reduce the opportunity for abuse of the Scheme and ensure those who rely primarily on their trading profits from self-employment receive support. These individuals must be the priority for any taxpayer-funded help to deal with sharply reduced income over the next few months. 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment are eligible for this Scheme.
For clarity, those who pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company are not covered by this Scheme. Their status is different to the individuals highlighted above and the CJRS is available to them if they are operating PAYE schemes.
It is also not possible to distinguish between dividends derived from their own company and dividends from other sources.
Delivery of the Scheme
We are working with urgency to make this Scheme operational as soon as possible so payments can be paid as quickly as possible. This is an extremely complex operational task but we believe the first payments can be made by the beginning of June. The challenge to achieve this timeframe is enormous and should not be underestimated. Individuals do not need to contact HMRC now and doing so will only delay the urgent work being undertaken to introduce the Scheme. Once the Scheme is operational, HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications. Eligible individuals will use a simple online form to verify their eligibility. HMRC will then pay a single lump sum grant covering all 3 months straight into the individual’s bank account.
The grants are subject to Income Tax and National Insurance so will then be reportable on future Income Tax Self Assessment tax returns.
HMRC has published further guidance on this here
Call for businesses to help make NHS ventilators
The Government were looking for businesses to support in the production and supply of ventilators and ventilator components. Thank you to all those who offered support. We have received a large number of offers so regret that we cannot respond to each one. We will be matching requirements and will reach out to companies individually.