Help for business, charities and the self-employed
The government has outlined guidance on the schemes available to business.
There is also guidance for employers and how to maintain social distance.
Key advice for businesses and organisations on other pages
Guidance on reopening your business
More information on help for businesses, charities and the self-employed
On 24 September 2020, the chancellor announced his Winter Economy Plan which included his Job Support Scheme .
The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months.
The company will continue to pay its employee for time worked, but the cost of hours not worked will be split between the employer, the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), and the employee will keep their job.
The Government will pay a third of hours not worked up to a cap, with the employer also contributing a third. This will ensure employees earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages, where the Government contribution has not been capped.
Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.
The government has launched a new 'Kickstart Scheme', a £2bn fund to create hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements aimed at those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long term unemployment.
Funding available for each job will cover 100 per cent of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.
On 8 July 2020, the Chanceller Rishi Sunak, announced his Plan for Jobs 2020. This included measures to help the hospitality and restaurant trade as well as businesses with staff who are on furlough.
The government is introducing a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Following government guidance we have reissued revised bills.
You do not need to do anything
A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, has been set up to support primarily SMEs to access bank lending and overdrafts. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80 per cent on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee and the scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. Businesses can access the first six months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first six months of interest payments.
The government announced a further extention of the scheme on 3 April 2020. The changes mean more businesses will be eligible and there were amendments to what information the banks can ask for. The scheme was further expanded on 16 April to include large businesses.
Small firms are to get access to 100 per cent taxpayer-backed loans after they raised concerns about slow access to existing coronavirus rescue schemes. Businesses will be able to apply for 25 per cent of their turnover, up to a maximum of £50,000. The loan terms mean that no capital or interest repayments will be due for one year; the government will pay the interest for the first 12 months. The scheme opens at 9am on Monday, May 4. For most firms, the Bounce Back Loans should arrive within 24 hours of approval.
Help for tourism businesses
Communities that depend on tourism will receive a major boost from a new £10 million Kick-starting Tourism Package , the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government Simon Clarke MP announced on 3 July 2020.
Speaking at the Local Government Association’s annual conference, Minister Clarke confirmed the new funding will be distributed to communities immediately to kick start tourism in time for the summer as part of the government’s drive to boost the recovery of the economy.
The £10 million Kick-starting Tourism Package, will give small businesses in tourist destinations grants of up to £5,000 to help them adapt their businesses following the coronavirus pandemic.
The government announced an extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme on 24 September 2020. The scheme has been extended so it will run from November 2020 to March 2021.
To be eligible for the grant extension self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:
- currently be eligible for the the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
- declare that they are currently actively trading and intend to continue to trade
- declare that they are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus in the qualifying period (the qualifying period for the grant extension is between 1 November and the date of claim)
More information on these schemes
More information on the schemes above, and others, can be found at the government dedicated website.
Also included in the measures, is additional funding of £500 million (nationwide) for Council Tax relief through existing Local Council Tax Support schemes.
How has your business been affected by the coronavirus outbreak? Let the Chamber of Commerce know to help them to help you.
- The Rural Services Network provides a good round-up of available funding opportunities
- A new bounce-back plan was announced by the government to help agriculture and food and drink businesses take advantage of the trade agreements being devised with other countries.
- The government has provided advice on how to get a rebate on the Statutory Sick Pay Scheme
- The Chancellor announced on 12 May 2020 an extension of the furlough scheme for staff until October.
- There is guidance for landlords and tenants from the government.
- HM Revenue & Customs has launched a Tax Helpline to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to Coronavirus. 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.
- ACAS has published information for employees and employers, including simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff.
- Go to the British Chambers of Commerce’s site for advice on preparing for and responding to Coronavirus.
- The Business Growth Hub has a suite of resources including 10 steps to take now, a series of webinars, and guidance on keeping your business operating and managing cashflow.
- Cumbria Chamber of Commerce has created a range of resources (toolkits, webinars, links, one-to-one professional advice) that's being constantly updated.
The Chamber has also set up a scheme called Chamber Connect , which brings together those available for work in the current sitaution with those businesses looking for staff.
Groups that are providing emergency relief to vulnerable or isolated individuals, providing support to farmers and farm businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic or helping rural or farming communities to cope with the pandemic can apply for grant funding of up to £2,500 from The Prince’s Countryside Fund.
The Farmer Network has released details of a farm labourer support scheme. More details is on the Farmer Network website.