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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]

 

£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.

South Hams and West Devon Councils have also given their top tips to get your application through quickly and right first time:

  • Take time to double check key numbers in your application when entering the unique reference number and business rates account number
  • If you have a company, enter the company name as exactly as it appears on the records on Companies House
  • When uploading your bank account statement, also enter your business rates account number

All these things if they are incorrect will mean that the claim won’t go straight through when being processed and will delay the claim.

How to Apply

The letter has been sent to the business rates contact address of businesses who may be eligible for the cash grants. Councils are asking businesses to look out for this letter at their business rates contact address as it will contain a unique reference number to enable businesses to apply online. Eligible businesses will be asked to apply online on the Council’s website in order for a payment to be made direct into their business bank account.

The payment should be received by eligible businesses in early April. If the Local Authority have an email address they will tell you its gone out (to the registered business address).

If you aren’t able to travel to your business contact address, you can contact your council and provide an email address and they will email a copy of the letter to you. The councils are struggling to answer queries so it’s best to email rather than call, and wait for a response. Some councils (such as East Devon) will be making phone calls to eligible businesses to gather email addresses to send out a copy of the letter where they do not have an email address already on file.

If you are able to travel and haven’t revived an email then it’s probably worth waiting until the beginning of next week before travelling to see if it’s arrived to avoid having to make more journeys than necessary.

In the letter will be a pin code to access the system.

The claim form is straightforward BUT the pin can only be used once so don’t make any mistakes.

You will need to have the following information in order to make a claim:

  • VAT number (if applicable)
  • Business rates account number
  • Company number and business name
  • Bank account number and sort code
  • A copy of a recent bank statement (less than 3 months old)

Make sure to double check every number especially bank accounts and sort codes.

To upload your bank statement you will need to take a photo of it and either upload it directly from your phone, or save it to a computer first depending on what device you’re using to complete the form. Images must clearly show your bank account details so that the information can be verified and to make sure the payment goes to the correct account. Local authorities will never ask for your bank details over the phone.
Teignbridge Council have created a useful video with information on how to apply –   See here

 

 Job Retention Scheme NOW Open :

The application system for the new scheme that allows employers to claim a grant for 80% of employee wages is now open.. 

Jim Harra, chief executive and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), confirmed the date for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme website during a meeting of the Treasury Committee. He said the first payments through the system will be made by 30 April.

Harra revealed that the portal is being tested by a small group of employers and that the government is “confident it will be able to cope with the very large number of claims we expect to receive”. It has been tested up to a volume of 450,000 claims an hour, he said.

In addition the government have moved the cut-off date by 3 weeks. Previously workers had to be on an employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 28th February. But in a statement, published on Wednesday, the government said it would extend the “unprecedented” package to cover those who were on their employees’ payroll by 19 March.

You can find further information about the Job Retention Scheme on the .gov website –  See 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 new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch early next week to 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 will offer the Scheme once it has launched. 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.

The scheme will be available week commencing 23 March.

 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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