COVID-19

* Main UK Gov page: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

* LOCAL SUPPLIES & SERVICES (including delivery services): https://www.oneoswestry.co.uk/covid-19/oswestry-business-covid19-response/

Updated 2nd April 2020 at 10.20am

Covid-19 business grant schemes for Small Businesses, Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government have announced support for small business, and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. This support will take the form of two grant funding schemes, the Small Business Grant Fund, and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund. Only one grant will be awarded per hereditament.

Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in this scheme.

Please note, if you are occupying the premises, but are not the ratepayer as addressed, please advise the business rates team at: business.rates@shropshire.gov.uk

Details of both schemes can be accessed from the Gov.UK website by following this link

Further information

Small Business Grant

Under the Small Business Grant Fund, all businesses in England in receipt of either Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief in the business rates system will be eligible for a payment of £10,000, providing they meet the eligibility rules given here.

To be included a business must be eligible for either relief as at 11 March 2020 and have a rateable value of £15,000 or less.

Some businesses are excluded from this scheme. They are:

  • Businesses occupied for personal uses, such as private stables and loose boxes, or moorings
  • Car parks and parking spaces
  • Businesses that as of 11 March were in liquidation, or were dissolved are not eligible

The person who the billing authority have identified as the ratepayer in respect of the business premises on that day will be eligible for the grant.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant eligible businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for cash grants of £10,000 or £25,000 per property.

Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to and including £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.

Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

Some businesses are excluded from this scheme. They are:

  • Recipients eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund will not be eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
  • Businesses occupied for personal uses, such as private stables and loose boxes, or moorings
  • Car parks and parking spaces
  • Businesses that as of 11 March 2020 were in liquidation, or were dissolved are not eligible
  • Hereditaments with a rateable value of £51,000 or over
    The person who the billing authority have identified as the ratepayer in respect of the business premises on that day will be eligible for the grant.

Post Grant Award Assurance

The Government have advised that any business caught falsifying their records to gain additional grant money will face prosecution and any funding issued will be subject to clawback. The Government expect Local Authorities to be making checks to provide grant payment assurances and the Government will support Local Authorities in carrying out post-event assurances.

State Aid

Although the United Kingdom left the EU on 31 January 2020, as part of the withdrawal agreement State Aid rules continue to apply during the transition period. For further information on state aid law please visit https://www.gov.uk/state-aid

If you have been offered Small Business Grant Fund as de minimus aid you can only receive up to 200,000 euros over a three-year period. If you have been offered Small Business Grant Fund you can only receive up to 800,000 euros under the Temporary Framework (other conditions apply).

Apply here – https://shropshire.gov.uk/covid-19-grants

 

Updated 1st April 2020 at 6.15pm

Small Business Grant Fund/Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund: guidance for businesses

This guidance sets out details and eligibility criteria for:

– the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF)
– the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)

It informs businesses about the operation and delivery of the 2 funding schemes.

The guidance applies to England only.

Direct link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-business-support-grant-funding-guidance-for-businesses

Updated 1st April 2020 at 12.02pm

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

What is it?

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020, will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will pay employers a grant worth 80% of an employee’s usual wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that subsidised wage. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st if applicable and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary.

Am I eligible?

All UK-wide employers with a PAYE scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020 will be eligible including:

  • Businesses,
  • Charities,
  • Recruitment Agencies (agency workers paid through PAYE),
  • Public Authorities

The employer must have a UK bank account.

How do I access it?

You will need to:

  1. 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.
  2. Once the new online portal is live, submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings.

When can I access it?

HMRC are working urgently to set up a system to pay these grants. We expect the first grants to be paid within weeks, and we’re aiming to get it done before the end of April. If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

Further guidance

For more information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme please read the guidance for employers. We have also published guidance for employees.

More information is available here – https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme/

 

HMRC Webinar – Coronavirus (COVID-19) – helping employers to support employees

HMRC are running several webinars over the next few days, providing an overview of the support available to help employers and their staff in addressing Coronavirus (COVID-19) – including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, refunding eligible Statutory Sick Pay costs, furloughed employees and more.

Sign up here: socsi.in/Kjwxo

Updated 28th March 5pm

Free parking in Shropshire Council car parks from today (28/3/2020)

In Oswestry, these car parks include OAK STREET, FESTIVAL SQUARE, OSWALD ROAD, GATACRE & LLOYD STREET.
(More: https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/parking/find-my-nearest-car-park/)

Shropshire Council said, “As a result of the coronavirus pandemic Shropshire Council is to provide free parking in all of its car parks from Saturday 28 March 2020 until further notice.”

Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for highways and transport,  said:

“As well as providing free parking for our fantastic NHS staff, volunteers, social care staff and other key workers, I’m pleased that we can go further and make our car parks free for all users, to help those who need to make essential trips to buy food and medicine.

“We do appeal to everyone that whilst using our car parks please adhere to the Government and Public Health England’s advice relating to coronavirus prevention measures, particularly self-distancing.”

On-street parking charges will remain so that the parking bays can be used for those needing to use the 15 minutes’ ‘pop and shop’ free parking and to provide short-stay and easy access to essential services in the town centres – especially for those who find it difficult to walk significant distances.

People holding a current residents’ permit or season ticket are advised that Shropshire Council will review these at a time when face-to-face contact is permitted and these will remain valid until further notice. If the permit expires they don’t need to purchase another permit until further notice – and people holding paper permit should continue to display them in their vehicle.

[Source: https://newsroom.shropshire.gov.uk/2020/03/free-parking-in-shropshire-council-car-parks-for-nhs-staff-nhs-volunteers-and-care-workers/]

Updated 27th March 4pm

Park and ride buses to provide free transport for hospital staff

SUMMARY
Shropshire Council is to deploy its park and ride buses and drivers to provide free transport between Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals for hospital staff, in particular a number of student nurses that need to travel between Telford and Shrewsbury each day for training

Following a fall in passenger numbers the Shrewsbury park and ride service will be suspended after the last journey this Saturday (28 March) until further notice.

FULL ARTICLE: https://newsroom.shropshire.gov.uk/2020/03/park-and-ride-buses-to-provide-free-transport-for-hospital-staff/

Updated 26th March 5pm

Shropshire Council pledges £295,000 for voluntary and community groups responding to the impact of coronavirus

From Shropshire Council
Shropshire Council is providing a package of financial support to community groups and voluntary organisations who are providing critical support to those impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) living here.

Shropshire is fortunate to have communities that want to come together to support themselves at times like this, with local councils and councillors often playing an important role in leading and co-ordinating activity. We also have a host of voluntary and community organisations that work tirelessly with their volunteers to provide vital services to older people and vulnerable people across the county.

To support this work at a time when the need for their support has never been so important, Shropshire Council will fund local community and voluntary organisation activity in the following ways –

  • £75,000 for local community groups, including community centres and village halls – to be made available in grants up to a maximum of £500.
  • £100,000 for groups and initiatives providing food and home supplies to older people and vulnerable residents.
  • £120,000 investment in our key voluntary organisations, to enable them to both deliver vital support, and provide support to our communities to do this.

Read more… https://newsroom.shropshire.gov.uk/2020/03/coronavirus-community-funding/

Updated 25th March 2pm

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is now available through participating lenders

CBILS is a new scheme, announced by The Chancellor at Budget 2020, that can provide facilities of up to £5m for smaller businesses across the UK who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues, leading to disruptions to their cashflow.

CBILS supports a wide range of business finance products, including term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance. The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed guarantee potentially enabling a ‘no’ credit decision from a lender to become a ‘yes’. The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt.

CBILS: KEY FEATURES

  • Up to £5m facility: The maximum value of a facility provided under the scheme will be £5m, available on repayment terms of up to six years.
  • 80% guarantee: The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed, partial guarantee (80%) against the outstanding facility balance, subject to an overall cap per lender.
  • No guarantee fee for SMEs to access the scheme: No fee for smaller businesses. Lenders will pay a fee to access the scheme.
  • Interest and fees paid by Government for 12 months: The Government will make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees[1], so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.[2]
  • Finance terms: Finance terms are up to six years for term loans and asset finance facilities. For overdrafts and invoice finance facilities, terms will be up to three years.
  • Security: At the discretion of the lender, the scheme may be used for unsecured lending for facilities of £250,000 and under. For facilities above £250,000, the lender must establish a lack or absence of security prior to businesses using CBILS. If the lender can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the scheme, they will do so.
  • The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

Smaller businesses from all sectors[3] can apply for the full amount of the facility. To be eligible for a facility under CBILS, an SME must:

  • Be UK-based in its business activity, with annual turnover of no more than £45m
  • Have a borrowing proposal which, were it not for the current pandemic, would be considered viable by the lender, and for which the lender believes the provision of finance will enable the business to trade out of any short-to-medium term difficulty.

Please note: If the lender can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the scheme, they will do so.

[1] Following earlier discussions with the banking industry, some lenders indicated that they would not charge arrangement fees or early repayment charges to SMEs borrowing under the scheme. HM Government greatly appreciates this approach by lenders.

[2] Fishery, aquaculture and agriculture businesses may not qualify for the full interest and fee payment.

[3] The following trades and organisations are not eligible to apply: Banks, Building Societies, Insurers and Re-insurers (but not insurance brokers); The public sector including state funded primary and secondary schools; Employer, professional, religious or political membership organisation or trade unions.

Find out how to apply for a CBILS-backed loan facility

 

Updated 25th March 10.25am

Companies to receive 3-month extension period to file accounts during COVID-19

From today (25 March 2020), businesses will be able to apply for a 3-month extension for filing their accounts.

This joint initiative between the government and Companies House will mean businesses can prioritise managing the impact of Coronavirus.

As part of the agreed measures, while companies will still have to apply for the 3-month extension to be granted, those citing issues around COVID-19 will be automatically and immediately granted an extension. Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system which will take just 15 minutes to complete.

Visit the government website for more information on how to apply.

 

Shropshire Council support for residents impacted by the coronavirus pandemic

We’re offering residents whose employment or income has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic the opportunity to delay payment of council tax until 1 June 2020.

Visit the Shropshire Council website for more information and how to apply.

 

MOTs for cars, vans and motorcycles due from 30 March 2020

The Government has announced that from 30 March 2020, MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans will be extended by 6 months. This is being done to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Please check the government website for more information.

 

Updated 24th March 3.30pm

Shropshire Council – Coronavirus: Government support to help protect businesses

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this Coronavirus emergency. This includes a package of measures to support businesses including the following.

For the latest information about business advice and support please visit the Invest in Shropshire website.

  • £330bn of Government-backed and guaranteed loan
  • No business rates payable for 12 months, extended to retail, leisure, hospitality and nursery businesses of all sizes
  • Cash grants for up to £25,000 for smaller retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with rateable values below £51k, who do not have insurance to cover pandemics
  • Cash grants of £10,000 for the 700,000 businesses who do not pay business rates
  • A mortgage holiday of three months for people struggling to make mortgage payments as a result of Coronavirus
  • Government have also granted permission for pubs and restaurants to operate as takeaways as part of their coronavirus response
  • A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, will enable businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5 million, with the first 12 months interest and fees paid by Government
  • dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals receive support with their tax affairs, where businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. Call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559
  • For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the Government in full
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility.

Click here to view further information and eligibility criteria.

Further details on how to access this support will be available in due course.

For any business enquiries related to COVID-19 please contact COVID19businessenquiries@shropshire.gov.uk

For advice and support regarding business rates, including holidays, relief or setting up payment schedules over 12 months, please contact business.rates@shropshire.gov.uk

Other useful links and contact details include:

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Government Business Support Helpline  – Telephone: 0300 456 3565 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)

[Source: https://newsroom.shropshire.gov.uk/2020/03/coronavirus-support-businesses/]

 

Updated 23rd March 5pm

Given the increase in broadband usage, BT Updates states…

“At this very busy time, we’re constantly monitoring our broadband network and doing everything we can to continue to support and provide a brilliant service to you and the critical services we enable. We have built in more than 10 times the capacity needed for everyday use, so have more than enough even with the massive increase in working from home that we’re seeing right now.

We can also support the extra calls that people will make to keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues. We’re monitoring our network closely so if data usage does increase, we’ll handle that, too.”
[Source: https://www.bt.com/coronavirus]

 

Updated 20th March 3.45pm

Shropshire Council – Restrictions on concessionary bus travel lifted due to coronavirus

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Shropshire Council has extended its concessionary bus travel for the elderly and vulnerable, to enable them to take advantage of the exclusive early morning shopping times being offered by some supermarkets and shops.

Until today concessionary bus passes couldn’t be used before 9.30am.

Under the new arrangement the passes can be used before 9.30am, with immediate effect and until further notice.

The change applies to all bus services operating in the Shropshire Council area.

READ MORE…on concessionary bus travel

 

Updated 19th March 2.30pm

Shropshire Council: Coronavirus (COVID-19): waste and recycling services

We are working closely with our partner Veolia to minimise the impact of coronavirus on recycling and waste services. Business continuity plans have been successfully implemented and resources are being closely monitored to ensure the most essential services can continue to be delivered safely.

Currently services are operating with no significant disruption.

Please continue to use your recycling and waste collection services as normal, with the following important exception:

Households that are self isolating should follow the UK Government’s ‘Stay at home’ advice which states:

  • Store personal waste such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths securely within disposable rubbish bags. Please do not place any of these items in your recycling containers as they will not be collected
  • Place these bags into another bag, tied securely and keep separate from other waste
  • These bags should be put aside for at least 72 hours, before being put in your usual external general waste bin
  • Please do not take this waste to your local Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

Please dispose of your other household waste as normal. It is more important than ever to ensure that recycling is clean and dry, and that any rubbish bags are all securely tied, to help prevent spills and protect our collection teams and the public.

[Source: https://newsroom.shropshire.gov.uk/2020/03/coronavirus-waste-recycling/]

 

Updated 18th March 4.30pm

Shropshire Council is urgently working through a number of measures to support local businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.

Shropshire Council has over 12,000 businesses listed for business rates but of those, over 5,400 don’t pay any business rates currently as they receive 100% small business rate relief. On 17 March 2020 the Government have announced that these businesses will receive an additional 10,000 grant to assist them with ongoing business costs.

Also, it has been announced that retail relief has been increased for 2020-21 to 100% and extended to include leisure and hospitality businesses. Also, qualifying retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value of less than 51,000 will receive a 25,000 grant.

We would ask all businesses to bear with us while we wait for further clarification from the Government about how this assistance will work. Please be assured that we are working to get these reductions notified to qualifying businesses as soon as we can.

Any other businesses that won’t qualify for these reliefs but who would like to discuss their payments or spread their instalments over twelve months should contact business.rates@shropshire.gov.uk.

We have also added a page to the Invest in Shropshire website with the latest COVID-19 support, details can be found at http://www.investinshropshire.co.uk/business-support-advice-covid-19/.

 

Updated 18th March 10.30am

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.

This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:

  • a statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

Read more.

[Source: gov.uk]

 

Updated 17th March 2020 7pm

Following the government announcement at 5pm, among the new support includes:

  • Government backed and guaranteed loans of £330bn to support companies
  • A potential support package specifically for airlines and airports
  • A three-month mortgage payment holiday for homeowners
  • £10,000 cash grants for smaller firms
  • An extension of the business rate holiday announced in the Budget

[Source: BBC]

 

Updated 17th March 2020 2pm

COVID-19 – Initial Guidance for Businesses – https://www.marchesgrowthhub.co.uk/advice-and-support/coronavirus-information-for-businesses/

A message from Matt Potts, Business Growth and Inward Investment Manager at Shropshire Council.

Dear Oswestry BID Members,

I am writing to provide some initial guidance and information that is included in the attached letter from Shropshire Council Leader, Peter Nutting regarding COVID-19.

This situation is very much a moving one and further information will be provided in due course, including the process for applying for funding support and relief in further releases in the coming days.

We are in the process of setting up a business enquiry inbox specifically for COVID-19, which will be live in the next 24 hours, if you require any support please direct this to the following address; COVID19businessenquiries@shropshire.gov.uk. Please do also forward this information on to contacts in your network.

Kind regards

Matt

Matthew Potts BA (Hons), MSc, MIED

Business Growth and Inward Investment Manager