Help for business, charities and the self-employed
The government has outlined guidance on the schemes available to business. Also see what support might be available to your business .
There is also guidance for employers and how to maintain social distance.
England has been placed in lockdown restrictions. This link includes details of the roadmap out of lockdown.
From 29 March:
- you are able to meet outdoors either in a group of 6 (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to 2 households (each household can include existing support bubbles, if eligible)
- you are able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people (outdoor sports venues and facilities will be able to reopen)
- childcare and supervised activities will be allowed outdoors for all children
- formally organised parent and child groups will be able to take place outdoors for up to 15 attendees. Children under 5 will not be not counted in this number
The government has announced that from 12 April, there will be a further easing of restrictions. You can find out more about what these changes mean on the gov.uk website.
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
The government launched in April 2021 a new loan scheme to provide further support to protect businesses and jobs.
Businesses – ranging from coffee shops and restaurants, to hairdressers and gyms – can now access loans varying in size from £25,000, up to a maximum of £10 million. Loans will include 80% government guarantee and interest rate cap.
Boosting the nation’s skills with the expertise employers need is a key part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs
- The Lifetime Skills Guarantee is part of the Government’s work to transform the adult education system so that businesses can find or develop talented people of all ages to fill skills gaps and help adults get the skills they need throughout their life, from free Level 3 qualifications and Skills Bootcamps, to basic skills offers and more.
As part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, the Government is offering eligible adults the opportunity to take a free Level 3 qualification from a choice of courses focussed on the skills our economy needs
- All courses have been identified to help ensure good job prospects, focussing on areas where employers are looking for skills and leading to job opportunities that can help adults earn a good wage.
You can benefit by supporting your staff to upskill or reskill into a higher level role in your business, without needing to fund the training
- Hold onto your talented staff by helping them to gain a qualification and progress in your business.
Businesses are being encouraged to bring in regular rapid-result COVID-19 testing for their workforce.
Cumbria County Council is offering businesses two ways to access regular rapid result Lateral Flow COVID-19 testing for employees.
- Protect your workforce, your business and your customers
- Free training, free tests, free ongoing support and backup
- Over 140 Cumbrian businesses already signed up
Find out more on the Cumbria County Council website .
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 now runs until October 2021.
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 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
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is being enhanced due to the new national restrictions from 5 November, to allow self-employed people to claim a grant equivalent to 80% of average trading profits for November.
The government announced some new support measures for businesses on 22 October 2020, alongside more money for the self-employed and grants for businesses in areas affected by local lockdowns. This was all part of its Winter Economy Plan. You can find out more on the government website as well as on the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce website .
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.
We have also extended various exemptions into the 2021/22 financial year. Find out more on our business rates exemption page .
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.
Thinking of starting a business? Need help to grow and expand your existing venture? Cumbria Growth Hub is a great place to start when it comes to specialist business advice, no matter what stage of the process you are at or what sector you are in. Best of all, a huge range of their activities are free or subsidised.
Set up by its close partners, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce in 2012, the Growth Hub is considered the one-stop-shop for business support, bringing together a huge wealth of information into one place. Their online support ranges from reviews and diagnostics, action plans, 1-2-1 advice, networking, workshops, events and links to other business support initiatives.
To date, the Growth Hub has worked directly with more than 6,800 businesses, around 2,000 benefiting from intensive assistance. This has created or safeguarded 6,285 jobs and generated an estimated £280 million GVA.
For more information on their business support activities or just for a quick, informal chat, get in contact on 0844 257 8450 (call for free), email email@example.com or visit their website https://cumbriagrowthhub.co.uk/.
The Growth Hub works closely with all of Cumbria's district councils and will ensure that once your business is ready to get off the ground, any statutory or regulatory queries are passed on to us directly.
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
- The government has provided advice on how to get a rebate on the Statutory Sick Pay Scheme
- 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.