COVID-19 Business Information

Coronavirus Business Update

Oswestry BID understands the impact the Coronavirus pandemic is having on our business community. We’re working hard to bring you the latest information as quickly as possible during these uncertain times.

We’d like to thank the Oswestry BID businesses that are rallying round to provide services and products that are especially valuable at this time and also thank those businesses who have taken the difficult decision to close their businesses in order to protect their staff and the public.

We’re with you during these difficult times.

To get in touch with us or sign up to the newsletter email info@oswestry4bid.co.uk

#WeAreOneOswestry

This is an evolving resource that will be amended as and when we receive updated information from the UK Government, Shropshire County Council and Oswestry Town Council.

Measures have been put in place by the Government to support businesses through the disruption caused by COVID-19:

1. Increased Business Rates Relief

To help reduce your business outgoings, the Government will be introducing a business rates retail holiday for the 2020/21 tax year for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. There is no action for you. Local authorities will apply the business rates holiday to your bills. For more information please check the guidance on gov.uk.

For advice and support with Business Rates, contact the Shropshire County Council Business Rates Team on 0345 678 9002 or email business.rates@shropshire.gov.uk

2. Support for businesses paying little or no business rates

To help small businesses meet their ongoing business costs, the Government will provide additional funding for local authorities to support those paying little or no business rates (due to Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rate Relief (RRR)). This scheme is expected to be operating by early April and will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or RRR.

How it will work:

If your business is eligible for SBRR or RRR, your local authority will contact you directly; you do not need to apply.

3. Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new temporary ‘Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme’ will be launched week-commencing 23rd March 2020 to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.

How it will work:

  • 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 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.

4. Small businesses boosted by bounce back loans – New 100% government backed loan scheme for small business

  • businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days
  • loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form

Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders.  The government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.

MORE INFO: https://www.marchesgrowthhub.co.uk/news/small-businesses-boosted-by-bounce-back-loans/

Update: May 4th 2020: For latest info: https://www.oneoswestry.co.uk/news/bounce-back-loan-bbl-scheme-now-available/

5. Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) provides financial support to larger businesses affected by coronavirus

The scheme helps medium and large sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £50 million and the government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender.

Eligibility

You can apply for a loan if your business:

You need to show that:

  • your business would be viable were it not for the pandemic
  • your business has been affected by coronavirus
  • the loan will enable you to trade out of any short-term to medium-term difficulty resulting from coronavirus

A lender can provide up to:

  • £25 million to businesses with a turnover from £45 million to £250 million
  • £50 million to businesses with a turnover of over £250 million

Contact your Bank or commercial lender to apply.

Further info – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-large-business-interruption-loan-scheme

6. COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

Under the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF), the Bank of England will buy short-term debt from large companies.

This scheme will support your company if it’s 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.

The scheme is delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the Bank of England.

It will operate for at least 12 months, and for as long as steps are needed to relieve cash flow pressures on firms that make a material contribution to the UK economy.

Eligibility

Companies – and their finance subsidiaries – that make a material contribution to the UK economy are able to participate.

Check on the Bank of England website.

How to apply

The full rules of the scheme and guidance on how to apply is available on the Bank of England website.

7. Coronavirus Future Fund

The Future Fund provides government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.

These convertible loans may be an option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access other government business support programmes because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit.

The scheme is open for applications until the end of September 2020.

Eligibility

Your business is eligible if:

  • it is UK-incorporated – if your business is part of a corporate group, only the parent company is eligible
  • it has raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last 5 years
  • none of its shares are traded on a regulated market, multilateral trading facility or other listing venue
  • it was incorporated on or before 31 December 2019
  • at least one of the following is true:
    • half or more employees are UK-based
    • half or more revenues are from UK sales

Check eligibility – https://www.uk-futurefund.co.uk/s/eligibility

8.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.

8. 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.

9. Top-up to local business grant funds scheme

UPDATED: 5th May 2020
A discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.

This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. We are asking local authorities to 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. But 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 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.

Further guidance for local authorities will be set out shortly.

MORE: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/top-up-to-local-business-grant-funds-scheme

10. Support for Businesses paying sick pay to employees

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme which allows small and medium sized employers, with fewer than 250 members of staff, to apply to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay for two weeks – worth nearly £200 per employee.

Launching on gov.uk today, the new online service is being run by HMRC, and after making an application employers will receive the money within six working days.

To get the rebate, employers will need to go online and input simple information on the employees being claimed for.

The service can be accessed here.

Notes

  • The current rate of SSP is £95.85 per week. Employers can choose to go further and pay more than the statutory minimum. This is known as occupational or contractual sick pay.
  • Where an employer pays more than the current rate of SSP in sick pay, they will only be able to reclaim the SSP rate.

The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • employees on agency contracts
  • employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
  • other SSP eligibility criteria apply
  • tax agents can make claims on behalf of their employers
  • Connected companies and charities can also use the scheme if their total combined number of PAYE employees are fewer than 250 on or before 28 February 2020. Employees do not have to provide a doctor’s fit note in order for their employer to make a claim under the scheme make a claim.
  • The repayment will cover up to two weeks of SSP from either 13 March 2020, if an employee had coronavirus, symptoms or is self isolating because someone they live with has symptoms, or from 16 April 2020 if an employee was shielding because of coronavirus.
  • Employers can furlough their employees who have been advised to shield in line with public health guidance and are unable to work from home, under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Once furloughed, the employee should no longer receive SSP and would be classified as a furloughed employee. Where an employee has been notified to shield and has not been furloughed, the rebate will compensate up to 2 weeks of SSP from 16 April.

11. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now live, with businesses able to claim up to £2,500 a month towards staff wages.

  • Government’s furlough scheme opens for applications today – 10 days ahead of schedule
  • employers can now go online to claim cash grants worth up to 80% of wages, capped at £2,500 a month per worker
  • 5000 HMRC staff will operate the scheme – which is expected to help thousands of firms across the UK

Who can claim

You must have:

  • created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020
  • enrolled for PAYE online
  • a UK bank account

Any entity with a UK payroll can apply, including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities.

Advice and support from the Government is changing daily, therefore we will be keeping this page as up to date as we possibly can. Please check the official Government pages as well:

12. New measures to protect UK high street from aggressive rent collection and closure

  • Government to introduce temporary new measures to safeguard the UK high street against aggressive debt recovery actions during the coronavirus pandemic
  • statutory demands and winding up petitions issued to commercial tenants to be temporarily voided and changes to be made to the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery, building on measures already introduced in the Coronavirus Act
  • landlords and investors asked to work collaboratively with high street businesses unable to pay their bills during COVID-19pandemic

High street shops and other companies under strain will be protected from aggressive rent collection and asked to pay what they can during the coronavirus pandemic.

13. Support for businesses paying tax

All businesses in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible for support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s existing ‘Time To Pay’ scheme.

How it works:

If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559. Arrangements will be made on a case-by-case basis.

VAT Deferment 

The Government will defer VAT payments between 20th March & 30th June with businesses given until the end of the tax year to repay any liabilities that accumulate.

14. Support for businesses through deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

Businesses can defer 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.

15. Insurance

Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and Government-ordered closures should be covered. Check your existing insurance policy, and terms & conditions, as they are all different; contact your provider if you’re unsure.

How it works:

Pubs, clubs, theatres, social venues etc can make a claim. This is because the Government advised the public to avoid these businesses on 17th March 2020.

Further Information:

If your business is feeling the impact of this economic shock, and is in need of advice of how to prepare and communicate with your staff, or are looking for the latest guidance for dealing with customers in your business please find below a useful links to the current information available:

  • Coronavirus Guidance to Employers and Businesses: guidance to employers, employees and support for businesses:
    • Guidance to Employers: on providing advice to your staff on COVID-19, how to help prevent the spread of respiratory infections, what to do if someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in business settings and advice on travelling overseas.
    • Guidance to Employees: advice to employees on working from home, sick pay, and frequently asked questions
    • Support for Businesses: government guidance on what support is being provided to businesses. Including paying sick pay, small business rate relief, and business interruption loan scheme

 

  • HMRC Covid-19 Helpline: If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 0159 559.
  • FSB Advice to Small Businesses: advice and guidance on reducing risks of disruption from the COVID-19 virus to you and your business and other funding options.
  • Business Interruption Load Scheme: details on how to apply for the business interruption loan scheme. This will temporarily replace the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG); with details being made available over the coming days.
  • ACAS Advice to Employers and Employees: practical HR advice and a simple step guide on how to protect the health and safety of staff.
  • VisitBritain website is continually being updated and includes Travel Advice.