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Covid-19

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 which you can access via this link https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support. You can also use the Business Support Finder via this link https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

The UK Government’s Covid-19 recovery strategy has been published; you can read it via this link - Recovery Strategy. There is also guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic which you can find on the Government website  - working safely

Contact us

We work with our clients to provide the right support for your business - this ranges from one of our tailored programmes such as Trading Better Online through to linking business to Government support like Intellectual Property. 

Hear from SMEs on the support we've provided here. Link through to our YouTube videos. 

Here's one of the testimonials from Amanda Challans, entrepreneur, as she talks about the support she's experienced from the West of England Growth Hub. 

 

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 https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Flnks.gd%2Fl%2FeyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJidWxsZXRpbl9saW5rX2lkIjoxMDcsInVyaSI6ImJwMjpjbGljayIsImJ1bGxldGluX2lkIjoiMjAyMDA2MzAuMjM2OTUzNjEiLCJ1cmwiOiJodHRwczovL3d3dy5nb3YudWsvY29yb25hdmlydXMtYnVzaW5lc3MtcmVvcGVuaW5nIn0.uA7nNu3aQi5Yl8qaRXZ2uQMWuMZKonD6JXNbDuCYdJQ%2Fs%2F1147765466%2Fbr%2F80473052273-l&data=02%7C01%7Cgrowth.hubs%40beis.gov.uk%7C72ca90d1a3bb4587782208d81d051b61%7Ccbac700502c143ebb497e6492d1b2dd8%7C0%7C0%7C637291255068420385&sdata=dsE%2BQhW760S5R%2By%2F1Kv8JUJpVk9dVXoN0WRL77%2FU3Lk%3D&reserved=0.

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. You can access the tool via this link https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Flnks.gd%2Fl%2FeyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJidWxsZXRpbl9saW5rX2lkIjoxMDgsInVyaSI6ImJwMjpjbGljayIsImJ1bGxldGluX2lkIjoiMjAyMDA2MzAuMjM2OTUzNjEiLCJ1cmwiOiJodHRwczovL3d3dy5nb3YudWsvY29yb25hdmlydXMtZW1wbG95ZWUtcmlzay1hc3Nlc3NtZW50In0.PuPXNlHrgkL4IuW8G4asOOY5SPsgFkBtFchIA6LrOdU%2Fs%2F1147765466%2Fbr%2F80473052273-l&data=02%7C01%7Cgrowth.hubs%40beis.gov.uk%7C72ca90d1a3bb4587782208d81d051b61%7Ccbac700502c143ebb497e6492d1b2dd8%7C0%7C0%7C637291255068420385&sdata=nibyaLmcqBq7gnNPbJjjDZP%2BIu5jv3BhObLOcRBsq5k%3D&reserved=0.

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 more on this webpage https://wearegrowth.co.uk/covid-19/self-employment-income-support-scheme/Find out if you are eligible and submit a claim using this link https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme#check.

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. Find out more on this webpage https://wearegrowth.co.uk/covid-19/small-business-bounce-back-loans/.

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 and browse the Government's step-by-step-guidance for employers.

Useful links

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 on this webpage https://wearegrowth.co.uk/covid-19/business-rates-relief/.

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 on this webpage https://wearegrowth.co.uk/covid-19/cash-grants-for-retail-hospitality-and-leisure-businesses/.

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)

SSP is now available to eligible individuals that are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are self-isolating in line with the latest Government advice. which you can click through to via this link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance.

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. Find out more via this link https://wearegrowth.co.uk/covid-19/sme-statutory-sick-pay-compensation/

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 can be found on this webpage https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/supporting-business-loans-enterprise-finance-guarantee/ and the accredited lenders can be accessed via this link https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/supporting-business-loans-enterprise-finance-guarantee/efg-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. Access further information via this link https://wearegrowth.co.uk/covid-19/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme/.

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. 

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. Find out more via this link https://wearegrowth.co.uk/covid-19/support-for-businesses-paying-tax/.

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 via this link https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Flnks.gd%2Fl%2FeyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJidWxsZXRpbl9saW5rX2lkIjoxMDYsInVyaSI6ImJwMjpjbGljayIsImJ1bGxldGluX2lkIjoiMjAyMDA1MTMuMjE0MzU3NTEiLCJ1cmwiOiJodHRwczovL3d3dy5nb3YudWsvZ292ZXJubWVudC9uZXdzL2dvdmVybm1lbnQtdG8tc3VwcG9ydC1idXNpbmVzc2VzLXRocm91Z2gtdHJhZGUtY3JlZGl0LWluc3VyYW5jZS1ndWFyYW50ZWU_dXRtX3NvdXJjZT04YjkzOTk0Mi1hYWNkLTQ0MzUtOThjNi03NTJiYjY2NWRlNjAmdXRtX21lZGl1bT1lbWFpbCZ1dG1fY2FtcGFpZ249Z292dWstbm90aWZpY2F0aW9ucyZ1dG1fY29udGVudD1pbW1lZGlhdGUifQ._Up167ZHOFH304LVS2IX3BE9pV8zqp3ir2gEU9dCX08%2Fbr%2F78557840656-l&data=02%7C01%7Cgrowth.hubs%40beis.gov.uk%7C028b6e6b16764fd8adcf08d7f731bfd3%7Ccbac700502c143ebb497e6492d1b2dd8%7C0%7C0%7C637249665363921839&sdata=%2FQXd3E4OGClNzu7ofHFExCBzFJAQOh1CYVJpAJLHUCQ%3D&reserved=0.

Safeguarding Pensions

The Pensions Regulator has published new Covid-19 guidance for employers which is available via this webpage https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/covid-19-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-consider. 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 on https://www.gov.uk/government/news/rules-on-carrying-over-annual-leave-to-be-relaxed-to-support-key-industries-during-covid-19.

Extra protection for businesses with a 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 on https://lnks.gd/l/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJidWxsZXRpbl9saW5rX2lkIjoxMDcsInVyaSI6ImJwMjpjbGljayIsImJ1bGxldGluX2lkIjoiMjAyMDAzMjQuMTkyMDY4NDEiLCJ1cmwiOiJodHRwczovL3d3dy5nb3YudWsvZ292ZXJubWVudC9uZXdzL2V4dHJhLXByb3RlY3Rpb24tZm9yLWJ1c2luZXNzZXMtd2l0aC1iYW4tb24tZXZpY3Rpb25zLWZvci1jb21tZXJjaWFsLXRlbmFudHMtd2hvLW1pc3MtcmVudC1wYXltZW50cyJ9.aVoXmuOQsIpeLyA6wUmMJWiIpbROG2BWQoaO98BbzsA/br/76533894870-l.

Financial assistance for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments

This link https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-assistance-for-employers-unable-to-pay-statutory-redundancy-payments 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 - https://lnks.gd/l/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJidWxsZXRpbl9saW5rX2lkIjoxMDgsInVyaSI6ImJwMjpjbGljayIsImJ1bGxldGluX2lkIjoiMjAyMDAzMjQuMTkyMDY4NDEiLCJ1cmwiOiJodHRwczovL3d3dy5iYW5rb2ZlbmdsYW5kLmNvLnVrL25ld3MvMjAyMC9tYXJjaC90aGUtY292aWQtY29ycG9yYXRlLWZpbmFuY2luZy1mYWNpbGl0eSJ9.19RYH0ReDfv8N9PeWl_52a6xd7bo9kI3kLwOwXfGZJI/br/76533894870-l. The scheme is now available for applications. 

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. Further information can be found on this webpage https://www.gov.uk/government/news/companies-to-receive-3-month-extension-period-to-file-accounts-during-covid-19.

Useful links

  

FOR THE BANKS LATEST POSITION ON THE CORONA VIRUS OUTBREAK AND SUPPORT FOR SMEs PLEASE VISIT THIE WEBSITE https://www.business.natwest.com/business/support-centre/service-status/coronavirus.html AND NATWEST MENTOR HAVE ALSO PUBLISHED A SUMMARY OF FAQs IN RELATION TO THE CORONAVIRUS AND EMPLOYMENT LAW CONSIDERATIONS FOR EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES https://www.natwestmentor.co.uk/News/