Advice and support available for Kings Heath businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak

Posted on Thu, 19 Mar 2020 in: News

It goes without saying that we are going through some very testing times at the moment. We’d like to assure you that we are doing everything that we can to help you through these difficult times. Please see some information below from the government that you might find useful. The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. Please see below some important information about what is available to you, when you can claim and how to claim.

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Updated 24.03.20

Please see below the latest financial support being offered by the Government through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

This is in addition to the package outlined on 19.03.20 - full details of which can be found here.

- Support for businesses through the Coronavirus 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.

- Support for businesses through deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

The Government will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

VAT

For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

Eligibility

All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access the scheme

This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Income Tax

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.

Eligibility

If you are self-employed you are eligible.

How to access the scheme

This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities.

- A statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs

What is it?

The government will bring forward legislation to allow small- and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows: 1. The refund will cover up to 2 weeks' SSP per eligible employee who has ben off work because of COVID-19; 2. Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible; 3. Employers will be able to claim expenditure of any employee who has claimed SSP as a result of COVID1-19; 3. Employers will not need to provide a GP fit note; 4. Eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home comes into force.

When it will be available and how you can claim

The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.

- A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England

What is it?

The Government will introduce a business rates retail holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

When it will be available and how you can claim

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to the relevant local authority. Guidance for local authorities on the business rates holiday will be published by 20 March.

- Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief

What is it?

The government will provide additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR). This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs. If your business is eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, you will be contacted by your local authority – you do not need to apply.

When it will be available and how you can claim

Funding for the scheme will be provided to local authorities by the government in early April. Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly. Funding for the scheme will be provided to local authorities by the government in early April.

- Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000

What is it and when will it be available?

More information about this grant funding will be available in the next few weeks. We will keep you posted when this information will be available.

- New Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance

What is it

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch W/C 23rd March to support 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. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as the government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments. More information to be provided W/C 23rd March.

- The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

What is it

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. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

- Mortgage holiday up to 3 months

What is it

Mortgage lenders have agreed they will support customers that are experiencing issues with their finances as a result of Covid-19, including through payment holidays of up to 3 months. This will give people the necessary time to recover and ensure they do not have to pay a penny towards their mortgage in the interim. Please contact your Mortgage lender directly for advice on when this will come into effect and how you can make a claim.

- Additional support available:

- The government have confirmed that their advice to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres etc. is sufficient for businesses to claim on their insurance where they have appropriate business interruption cover for pandemics in place.

- To support the food industry and help provide meals for people who need to self-isolate, the government have relaxed planning regulations to allow pubs and restaurants to start providing takeaways without a planning application.

- A number of private lenders are also making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including £2 billion from Lloyds Banking Group and £5 billion from NatWest. There may be other grant schemes on offer you may be able to access: 

https://www.gov.uk/business-finance-support?keywords=west+midlands

- Using the Kings Heath BID’s social networks

The Kings Heath BID have a very active and engaged social media following. If your businesses has implemented any additional measures, new services or offers during these difficult times, please let us know by emailing kingsheath@tigerbam.co.uk. These will be shared across the @EnjoyKingsHeath networks.

Most importantly, please stay safe, look after each other and we’ll get through these difficult times together.

The Kings Heath BID team

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