Guidance for businesses
- Updated 26 March 2020
Many of our businesses have been seriously affected by Coronavirus and are working to provide support in whatever way we can. We have strengthened our teams to refocus resources where they can do most to support our communities. We will be regularly updating this webpage as we receive more information.
On 23 March the Government stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives and has instructed people to stay at home. Travelling to and from work will be allowed only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home. All retail premises selling non-essential goods must close, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship. On 25 March the Government updated guidance to include additional details to the list of businesses and premises that must remain closed. Guidance has also been added on work carried out in people’s homes. The guidance is available on the GOV.UK website. On 26 March The Government added a Frequently Asked Questions section.
The Government has set out measures so that pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways to serve people having to stay at home. If you are considering this, please also see our Food delivery advice for food businesses.
Do you offer a ‘contactless’ delivery service?
We are building a directory of ‘Stay-in-Place Support’ to help residents as they observe social distancing. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your product or service.
Support for businesses
The Government has set out a package of measures to support businesses through the economic disruption. You can read about the package of measures on its new Business Support website.
Business Rates relief
The government will provide 100% business rates retail relief for the current year 2020/21 for the following occupied premises:
- Shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, bingo halls and live music venues
- Sports, assembly and leisure premises
- Hotels, guest and boarding houses, holiday accommodation, caravan parks
- Nurseries on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
- Estate agents, Letting agents
Those businesses subject to the Small Business Rate Multiplier will not qualify. Find out more on gov.uk: Business rates: expanded retail discount - guidance
If you qualify, we will apply changes automatically to your account. You do not need to contact us. You will receive a revised business rates bill removing your liability to pay business rates by Wednesday 1 April 2020.
Arrears on your 2019/2020 tax year Business Rates
Businesses with 2019/2020 arrears should contact the Business Rates team on 01483 523522 or email@example.com to discuss options available.
Business Support Grant
Small businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR) or Rural Rate Relief will qualify for a grant of £10,000.
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, will receive a one-off grant of £10,000. Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, will receive a one-off grant of £25,000.
For more information and to apply for grants visit our Coronavirus Business Grants page.
Support for the Self-employed
The Government has announced a new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. The Government will pay a taxable grant of 80 per cent of average annual profits over the last 3 years up to £2,500 per month. The scheme will be open for at least three months, backdated to 1 March 2020. The scheme will provide targeted support for self-employed people with profits up to £50,000 per annum. Those self-employed workers who have not yet submitted their tax return will have four weeks to do so. The scheme will be administered by HMRC and it is expected that businesses will be able to receive the grant in early June.
Other Government advice and support
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. HMRC will reimburse 80% of affected workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. HMRC will be releasing details soon (expected during April 2020). For businesses with immediate cash-flow issues the Government recommends considering the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan. Further information is available on the Government's Business Support website.
Deferred VAT payment
The Government will support businesses by deferring VAT payments for 3 months. The deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. All UK businesses are eligible. 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.
Professional advisers such as accountants will be sent full details of this support.
Deferred Income Tax payments
If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021. For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021. If you are self-employed you are eligible. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period. Professional advisers such as accountants will be sent full details of this support.
HMRC 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. You are eligible if your business: pays tax to the UK government or has outstanding tax liabilities. 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 nearer the time.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will be available to support small and medium-sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan 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 12 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments.
The full eligibility and rules of the Scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website. The scheme has opened for applications, you should talk to your bank or finance provider and discuss your business plan with them.
Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility
Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies. This will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms. All UK businesses are eligible. The scheme is open for applications. More information is available from the Bank of England website.
Support for businesses who are paying Covid-19 sick pay to employees
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 headline eligibility criteria for the scheme is: the refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19; employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible; employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP as a result of COVID-19. More details can be found on the GOV.UK website.
Temporary lowering of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for Universal Credit
If you are self-employed and claiming Universal Credit, and are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus, the Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) will not be applied for a period of time whilst you are affected. From 6 April the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed. This change will apply to all Universal Credit claimants and will last for the duration of the outbreak. New claimants will not need to attend the jobcentre to demonstrate gainful self-employment.
If you are a gig worker and/or on a zero hours contract, you may be entitled to sick pay. Check your eligibility for Statutory Sick Pay. More information can be found on the Gov.UK website.
DIT support for UK businesses trading internationally
DIT can support businesses by providing assistance with customs authorities to ensure smooth clearance of their products and by offering advice on intellectual property and other issues with business continuity. Contact DIT’s dedicated business support team by emailing COVID19@trade.gov.uk. You can view the full guidance on the GOV.UK website.
Financial assistance for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments
If you cannot afford to pay your employees redundancy pay you can apply to the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS) for financial assistance. If approved, the RPS will make statutory redundancy payments directly to redundant employees on an employer’s behalf.
Protection from eviction for commercial tenants
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction.These measures will mean no business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment up until 30 June.There is the option for the government to extend this period if needed. This is not a rental holiday. All commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent. The change will come into force when the Coronavirus Bill receives Royal Assent. No action is required.
Support for tenants of commercial property owned by Waverley
The package of measures put in place by the Chancellor is designed to give financial assistance to sustain business. However, we also recognise the impact on businesses' cashflow during this time, so will offer support by working with tenants with regard to paying their rent. Whilst we are not in a financial position to waive rent, we can offer payment plans, allow longer periods over which to pay rent or offer other assistance as appropriate to the individual circumstances.
Should you require this assistance please contact the Corporate Asset Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01483 523250.
Employees with children
Schools are closed for most pupils from Friday 20 March until further notice. However, schools will stay open for vulnerable children and children of keyworkers.
Please see Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision (gov.uk) for more information.
Find government guidance for employers and businesses, including advice for staff, decontamination plus a downloadable poster to display within work spaces by clicking on the links below.
Page owner: Vanessa de Chazal. Last updated: 27/03/2020 10:33