If you’re a small business wondering what support is available to you to help you cope with the challenges of Covid-19, we’ve put together a summary from Chris Loder MP that may help, distributed recently by Liz Murray, Constituency Communications Manager from the Office of Chris Loder MP.
The Government is doing the following to support small business:
- GOVERNMENT BACKED LOANS: The Business Interruption Loan Scheme will provide loans of up to £5 million, with no interest for the first six months to long-term viable businesses. This is delivered by the British Business Bank through participating providers, and will be running by w/c 23 March. More info: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/
- GOVERNMENT GRANTS: Small business grant funding (not repayable) of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief (this is an increase from the £3k announced in the budget). Funding for the scheme will be provided to local authorities by Government in early April. Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly but I understand no action is required and that any business in receipt of SBRR will automatically be contacted.
- RETAIL, HOSPITALITY & LEISURE SPECIFICALLY: All businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector, irrespective of their rateable value, are exempt from business rates for 12 months – that’s every shop, pub, theatre, music venue, restaurant, and any other business in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors. The Government will provide small businesses in these sectors with an additional grant scheme of up to £25,000 to those businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000 can now get access to a Government grant. This will be managed by Dorset Council. The Government will be providing guidance to Dorset Council on 20 March.
- SICK PAY: Helping small and medium-sized businesses to cope with the extra costs of paying Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) by refunding eligible SSP costs. The Government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers “as soon as possible”. The criteria for eligible businesses are:
- The refund will be limited to two weeks per employee who has claimed SSP as a result of Covid-19.
- Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible.
- Employers should keep records but should not require employees to provide a doctor’s note.
- The eligible period will commence from the day on which regulations extending SSP come into force.
- TAX: Businesses and self-employed people may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time to Pay service. Arrangements are agreed case-by-case. Businesses can contact HMRC’s new dedicated COVID-19 helpline for advice: 0800 0159 559.
- INSURANCE: 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.
ADDITIONAL PAGES TO BOOKMARK
In addition to the above, the following website will be updated with the latest bulletins and contact details & helpful links regularly, so please make sure you bookmark the page: www.chrisloder.co.uk/coronavirus .
The Chancellor’s recent speech can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/chancellor-of-the-exchequer-rishi-sunak-on-covid19-response
Here is the Government’s guide for employers, employees and businesses re. coronavirus https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
The final link is very important, as this outlines measures within the Coronavirus Bill https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-bill-what-it-will-do/what-the-coronavirus-bill-will-do
If anybody needs any clarity on any of the points raised above, feel free to contact Liz directly on the following contact details: