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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.

Contact us

Please contact us by email at wearegrowth@westofengland-ca.gov.uk 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.

Please note our phonelines may be busy during this period, and if you are unable to reach immediately us we encourage you to email us at wearegrowth@westofengland-ca.gov.uk and we will arrange a time to call you back.

Supporting your business 

We will regularly update this website with the latest information on support for your business through the coronavirus outbreak. 

 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.

Further businesses and premises to close

The Government has stepped up measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus and to save lives. Non-essential retail, leisure and public businesses and premises must close. A full list of the businesses and premises that must remain closed is available from the Government. Takeaway and delivery services may remain open and operational. Online retail is still open, and postal and delivery service will run as normal.

Retail and public premises which expect to remain open must:

The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible. Everyone is instructed to comply with the rules issued by the government in relation to coronavirus, in order to protect both themselves and others.

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.

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.

The Government will also cover employer National Insurance and minimum auto-enrollment pension scheme contributions of furloughed workers – on top of 80% of salary. 

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.

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.

​Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR)​

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.

If your business is eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, you will be contacted by your local authority – you do not need to apply.

Funding for the scheme will be provided to our local authorities by government in early April and further information will be available here shortly.​

​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.

A rebate scheme is being developed and further information on eligibility is available here.

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.

The scheme will be available from week commencing 23 March 2020. Find out more information about the loan and the accredited lenders.

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.

Useful links

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.

 

Further links

Department of Health and Social Care on Twitter (updated at 2pm every day):
https://twitter.com/DHSCgovuk?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor 

NHS information – the first port of call for the public:
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ 

Latest information and advice:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public   
FAQs
https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/  

Information regarding self-isolation:
https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/02/20/what-is-self-isolation-and-why-is-it-important/

Five things you can do to protect yourself and your community:
https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/03/04/coronavirus-covid-19-5-things-you-can-do-to-protect-yourself-and-your-community/ 

Travel advice for those travelling and living overseas:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus 

 

 

FOR THE BANKS LATEST POSITION ON THE CORONA VIRUS OUTBREAK AND SUPPORT FOR SMEs PLEASE VISIT THE WEBSITE BELOW:
https://www.business.natwest.com/business/support-centre/service-status/coronavirus.html

 

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/