Business Support Update as at Thursday 19th March 2020:
Optimal People & Business Services will provide a daily update on the support available for Companies and employees during the COVID-19 situation
This information is provided by Local Authority SME Growth Teams who are keeping us updated as fast as possible so we can ensure we support our clients appropriately. Our huge thanks go to them for being so prompt with providing information.
If you need some free initial advice on how COVID-19 outbreak is affecting your business, then please call us on 01422 897152.
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1. Business Support announced by the Chancellor
The package of government-backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses, making available an initial £330bn of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of GDP. That support will be delivered through two main schemes:
- To support liquidity amongst larger firms, a new lending facility with the Governor of the Bank of England to provide low cost, commercial paper.
- To support lending to small and medium sized businesses, extending the new Business Interruption Loan Scheme announced at the Budget.
The Chancellor also announced tax cuts of nearly £20bn for British businesses.
The measures provide a comprehensive, coordinated and coherent response to what is a serious and evolving economic situation. As the wider economic picture becomes clearer, the government will do whatever it takes to get our nation through the impacts of COVID-19 and stand ready to announce further action wherever necessary.
2. Business Support Measures in Detail
We will keep you up to date with the latest information on how businesses can access support as further details become available.
Business Rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure
- All businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will pay no business rates in England for 12 months from 1 April 2020.
- There will be no rateable value threshold on this relief – businesses large and small will benefit.
- Guidance for local authorities on the application of the holiday has been published. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to the relevant local authority.
Small Business Grant Scheme
- The government will provide additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates.
- This funding will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief.
- A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
- 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.
- The Business Secretary will write to all Local Authorities by the end of the week with information on this scheme, and to encourage them to prepare to deliver this quickly.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch next week to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.
- This will help ensure that eligible businesses facing short-term cash flow difficulties can continue to access finance as they respond to the temporary impact of the coronavirus outbreak on cash flow.
By providing an 80% government guarantee on eligible lending, this scheme will give lenders the confidence to keep lending to businesses. The government will provide as much capacity as required for this scheme. There will be no fee for lenders or borrowers to benefit from this guarantee
- 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.
- The scheme is open to businesses with a turnover of less than £41m (as long as the business is long-term viable and is UK based) which meet the scheme’s eligibility criteria. Full details on the eligibility criteria will be announced shortly.
The first loans will be available next week and further details of the new scheme will be announced shortly. Businesses worried about accessing finance now should speak to their usual lender.
3. New Coronavirus Updates and Guidance
- Planning rules will be relaxed so pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Temporary relaxation of the EU drivers’ hours rules for a 30 day period, for drivers supplying supermarkets with food and other essential items
- Schools will close from Monday, except for children of key workers and vulnerable children.
- Examples of key workers include NHS staff, police and supermarket delivery drivers who need to be able to go to work to support the country’s fight to tackle coronavirus.
- To support nurseries at this time, they will be eligible for a business rates holiday for one year and the Government will continue to pay funding to local authorities for free childcare entitlements.
Our public-facing services are continuing to operate. On this page there will be updates if services are affected. Services include the redundancy payments helpline, bankruptcy and director interviews and support for business.
If you are a small or medium sized business then please do get in touch, we offer FREE initial advice. We have a large team of senior HR professionals here to help. 01422 897152.