Support for businesses in the West of England
The West of England Combined Authority is committed to supporting businesses through Coronavirus (Covid-19). Public safety is the top priority, but we understand that people will be concerned about the effect Covid-19 will have on their businesses and their workforce.
If your business has been impacted by coronavirus, our team is here to support you. Our Enterprise Executives can help answer your queries and signpost you to the latest information and advice.
The range of business support measures which have been made available to UK businesses and employees are detailed on the government's Business Support website and you can use the Business Support Finder here.
The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy has now been published along with guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
If you'd like to speak to one of our Enterprise Executives, please contact us by email at email@example.com with your query and contact details.
If you would like to contact us by telephone, please call 0117 456 6955 between 9:30am to 4.30pm, Monday - Friday.
Reopening your business safely during coronavirus
If you are ready to reopen your business you have a legal responsibility to protect your employees and other people on site. The Government has issued this guidance to help you carry out a risk assessment and make sensible adjustments to the site and workforce. There's also a return-to-work tool to guide your employees through questions that may influence their ability to go back to work safely.
Supporting your business
The Government has put in place a significant package of measures to support businesses and individuals whose finances are affected by Covid-19. These are outlined below with signposts to further information and support.
Self-Employment Support Scheme
The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
Find out if you are eligible and submit a claim here.
Small Business Bounce Back Loans
Small businesses can benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders. Businesses are able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.
The scheme has been designed to ensure that small firms who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get finance in a matter of days. 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.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Under the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme 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 reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant. You can claim for wages through the Job Retention Scheme here and or find the Government's step-by-step-guidance for employers.
Business Rates Relief
The Business Rates retail discount will be increased to 100% for one year and will include businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector. Further information on accessing this scheme in the West of England can be found here.
Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund
Cash grants will also be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. Further information on this is available here.
The government will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to around 700,000 businesses currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief to help meet ongoing business costs.
SME Statutory Sick Pay Compensation
SSP is now available to eligible individuals that are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are self-isolating in line with the latest Government advice.
The government will allow small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19 for up to two weeks per individual. The online service for small and medium sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees will launch on May 26.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is provided by the British Business Bank and will primarily support small and medium sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. This scheme will now provide loans of up to £5 million, with no interest due for the first twelve months to support lending to small and medium sized businesses.
Find out more information about the loan and the accredited lenders.
Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)
The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will support large businesses, with an annual turnover of over £45 million.
All viable businesses with turnover of more than £45 million per year will be able to apply for up to £25 million of finance. Firms with a turnover of more than £250 million will be able to apply for up to £50 million of finance. Further information can be found here.
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.
If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
Trade Credit Insurance guarantee
Businesses with supply chains which rely on Trade Credit Insurance and who are experiencing difficulties maintaining cover due to Coronavirus will get support from the government. The Government will temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance, ensuring the majority of insurance coverage will be maintained across the market. You can find further information here.
The Pensions Regulator has published new Covid-19 guidance for employers. The guidance provides further information for employers about maintaining pension contributions. While the correct minimum contributions must be made on time, the information published highlights flexibilities available to employers during this time. Employers concerned they will struggle to make their contributions are urged to speak to their pension provider.
Statutory Annual Leave Entitlement
Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years. Further information is available here.
Extra protection for businesses with ban on evictions for commercial tenants
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. More information is available here.
Financial assistance for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments
This page has been updated with information about the financial assistance scheme for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments.
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. All non-financial companies that meet the criteria set out on the Bank of England’s website are eligible. The scheme is now available for applications. More information is available from the Bank of England.
Extension for filing accounts with Companies House
Businesses will be given an additional 3 months to file accounts with Companies House to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impact of COVID-19.
There is general guidance for businesses on Covid-19 here.
The range of business support measures which have been made available to UK businesses and employees are detailed on the government's Business Support website.
For immediate, daily or weekly updates of Government responses and interventions to COVID19 you can register here.
For guidance for self-isolating for you and your staff, you can find basic guidance from the NHS and very detailed guidance from .GOV.
Department of Health and Social Care on Twitter (updated at 2pm every day):
NHS information – the first port of call for the public:
Latest information and advice:
Information regarding self-isolation:
Five things you can do to protect yourself and your community:
Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas:
FOR THE BANKS LATEST POSITION ON THE CORONA VIRUS OUTBREAK AND SUPPORT FOR SMEs PLEASE VISIT THE WEBSITE BELOW:
NATWEST MENTOR HAVE ALSO PUBLISHED A SUMMARY OF FAQs IN RELATION TO THE CORONAVIRUS AND EMPLOYMENT LAW CONSIDERATIONS FOR EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES: