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COVID 19 – Business Support

With the  COVID19  pandemic now affecting many small businesses, the UK government have put several new assistance schemes in place to support businesses through the next few challenging weeks/months.  We are experts who understand these schemes and can help and advise all rural and coastal businesses on understanding the various complexities these schemes may entail.  

Please see an update of options below (or click through to our News & Funding page for each article)

Please email for any assistance :   [email protected]


8th July 2020 –  Chancellor announced the introduction of the:

Job Retention Bonus

This is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers that have used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until 31‌‌‌ ‌January 2021. The bonus will provide additional support to retain employees.

To be eligible, employees will need to:

  • earn at least £520 per month (above the Lower Earnings Limit) on average for November, December and January
  • have been furloughed by you at any point and legitimately claimed for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • have been continuously employed by you up until at least 31‌‌‌ ‌January 2021.

Employers will be able to claim the bonus from February 2021 once accurate RTI data to 31‌‌‌ ‌January has been received. More information about this scheme will be available by 31‌‌‌ ‌July and full guidance will be published in the Autumn.


VAT reduction

From 15‌‌‌ ‌July until 12‌‌‌ ‌January 2021, the UK government will cut VAT from 20% to 5% on any eat-in or hot takeaway food and drinks from restaurants, cafes and pubs, excluding alcohol.

This VAT reduction also applies to all holiday accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites, as well as attractions like cinemas, theme parks and zoos


DISCRETIONARY BUSINESS GRANT

This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with on-going fixed property-related costs.  Local authorities will prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.

Local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need. The allocation of funding will be at the discretion of individual local authorities.

Businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.

There will be three levels of grant payments. The maximum will be £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000. local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. It will be for councils to adapt this approach to local circumstances.

Small and micro businesses with fixed property costs that are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund may be eligible for the Discretionary Grants Scheme.   For full details see our News & Funding page


Flexible furloughing – FROm 1 JULY:

From 1‌‌ July 2020, you’ll have the flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time – with the government continuing to pay 80% of wages for any of their normal hours they do not work up until the end of August. This flexibility comes a month earlier than previously announced to help people get back to work.

You can decide the hours and shift patterns that your employees will work on their return and you will be responsible for paying their wages in full while working. This means that employees can work as much or as little as your business needs, with no minimum time that you can furlough staff for.

For full details on Flexible Furloughing – click here for full details


£10,000 – Business Grant Update 

Local councils have been working very hard to pay out millions to funding local businesses and thousands have already applied for the grant. However, there are still many businesses who have not yet applied for their grant funding despite having been sent a letter inviting them to do so.

If you have received a letter but don’t think you’re eligible and have not applied because:

  • You’re in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief and currently don’t pay rates; or
  • Your normal level of earnings during the lockdown period is likely to be less than £10,000.

You should be reassured, and you should apply.  The £10,000 grant is applicable to all small businesses operating from premises on 11th March 2020 where the Rateable Value is less than £15,000. The grant is a one off payment and is paid regardless of expected levels of turnover or profit.

For full details of this grant scheme and how to apply: click here


£500 SUPPORT FUND – DARTMOOR NATIONAL PARK

Dartmoor National Park Authority has launched a Coronavirus Community Support Grant (CCSG) to provide valuable funding to organisations working in communities affected by the pandemic.

The scheme rapidly provides grants of up to £500 to voluntary and community groups to help them tackle the social and economic impacts of the outbreak and help those who are most vulnerable.

So far, the Authority has dealt with 12 applications and provided more than £5,000 to support community initiatives such as veg boxes for vulnerable people, phone support, local delivery of prescriptions and an online arts platform.

Applications are accepted from constituted and not-for-private-profit voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector groups and organisations, town/parish councils, charities or businesses, or a combination of such groups working together.Dartmoor National Park Authority’s Chief Executive Kevin Bishop said: “Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a significant effect on Dartmoor and elsewhere and we know how important it is to help our communities remain resilient and support each other through these incredibly difficult times.“The Community Support Grant is aimed at providing financial support to local groups as quickly as possible so they can tackle some of the issues they face safely and in the ways that work best for their communities.”Groups, small local businesses and individuals without their own separate bank account may also apply, but they will need to have the support of a recognised organisation acting on their behalf as guarantor or as the holder of the funding.If you think your group might qualify for grant funding from this initiative, or if you want to find out more, contact Dartmoor National Park Authority’s Community Engagement Officer Emma Stockley by email:  [email protected]


Business Interruption Loan Scheme

 A temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will support primarily small and medium-sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% 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.

 Eligibility

You are eligible for the scheme if:

  • your business is UK based, with turnover of no more than £45 million per year
  • your business meets the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria

How to access the scheme

The full rules of the Scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website. All the major banks offer the Scheme. There are 40 accredited providers in all.

You should talk to your bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them. This will help your finance provider to act quickly once the Scheme has launched. If you have an existing loan with monthly repayments you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to help with cash flow.

Available from 23 March 2020


Job Retention Scheme 

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

Eligibility

All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access the scheme

You will need to:

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
  • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.


paying tax: Time to Pay service

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

Eligibility

 You are eligible if your business:

  • pays tax to the UK government
  • has outstanding tax liabilities

 How to access the scheme

If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559.   If you’re worried about a future payment, please call HMRC nearer the time.


sUPPORT FOR SELF-EMPLOYED:

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme offers a taxable grant of up to 80% of a self-employed person’s income based on their tax return over the past three years, capped at £2,500 per month. It is open to anyone who is self-employed (and makes a majority of their earnings from self-employment) with trading profits of £50,000 or less and have already received a tax return for 2019.

The scheme will become available at the beginning of June and will initially last for 3 months. Payments will be back dated from 1st March 2020 and if you are eligible you will be contacted directly by HMRC. You will then be able to fill in an online form and the grant will be paid directly into your bank account.

In addition, to those who are late with filing their latest tax return, there will be an additional period of 4 weeks to complete these.

The Chancellor when questioned also stated that for those who do not have 3 years worth of accounts, HMRC will be basing it on whatever number of tax returns are available.

Self-employed people will also now be able to access the Universal Credit system in full.


Insurance Cover

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 as long as all other terms and conditions are met.

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.


CAF CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY FUND

This Fund is to help smaller charitable organisations in the UK affected by the impact of Covid-19. Grants of up to £10,000 are available.

In this time of national crisis, CAF has launched this rapid response Fund to help smaller charitable organisations affected by the impact of Covid-19. Grants of up to £10,000 will help them to continue to deliver much needed support to our communities across the UK.

This is intended as a rapid response fund, and we aim to make payments to selected organisations within 14 days of application.  READ MORE

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