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Last updated 27/03/2020

The current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, presents a significant challenge for businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire and indeed worldwide. The University of Warwick Science Park together with other key organisations here are preparing actions to help minimise the impact on businesses by providing support and keeping our environment updated about support available for businesses.

With the assistance of government sources and the CW Growth Hub we have put together a summary of current supports and financial schemes available for businesses affected by the Coronavirus outbreak and would encourage you to visit the Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub website for daily updates on this topic.

We have created a useful infographic which summarises the support available by the UK Government for SME businesses, it can be viewed here.


Key supports available for businesses: 

Business Rates

CBILS Loans

Tax & VAT

Job Retention Scheme

Self-employed

Sick Pay

Misc

BUSINESS RATES –

  • Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

    The government will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

    Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

    Eligibility

    You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

    • your business is based in England
    • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

    Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

    • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
    • for assembly and leisure
    • as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

    How to access the scheme

    There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.

    You can estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year using the business rates calculator.

    Further guidance for local authorities is available in the expanded retail discount guidance.

  • Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

    The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

    Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of £15,000 and under will receive a grant of £10,000.

    Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

    Eligibility

    You are eligible for the grant if:

    • your business is based in England
    • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

    Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

    • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
    • for assembly and leisure
    • as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

    How to access the scheme

    You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

    Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.

    Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.

    Find your local authority.

  • Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

    The government will introduce a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

    Eligibility

    You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

    • your business is based in England

    Properties that will benefit from the relief will be hereditaments:

    • occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
    • wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage

    How to access the scheme

    There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.

    You can estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year using the business rates calculator.

    Further guidance for local authorities is available in the nursery discount guidance.

  • Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

    The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

    Eligibility

    You are eligible if:

    • your business is based in England
    • you are a small business and already receive SBBR and/or RRR
    • you are a business that occupies property

    How to access the scheme

    You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

    Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.

    Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.

    Find your local authority.


CBILS LOANS –

  • The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) will support SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years.The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to pre-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the government-owned British Business Bank.There are 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks.

    Eligibility

    You are eligible for the scheme if:

    • your business is UK based, with turnover of no more than £45 million per year
    • your business meets the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria

    How to access the scheme

    The scheme is now open for applications. All major banks are offering this scheme.

    To apply, you should talk to your bank or one of the 40 accredited finance providers (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible, to discuss your business plan. You can find out the latest on the best ways to contact them via their websites. Please note that branches may currently be shut down to enable social distancing.

    The full rules of the scheme and the list of accredited lenders are available on the British Business Bank website.

    If you have an existing loan with monthly repayments you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to help with cash flow.

    View PDF


TAX & VAT – 

The Government will support businesses by deferring 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.

  • VAT

    For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

    Eligibility

    All UK businesses are eligible.

    How to access the scheme

    This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

  • Income Tax

    For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.

    Eligibility

    If you are self-employed you are eligible.

    How to access the scheme

    This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

    No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

    HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities.

  • IR35 TAXHM Treasury has confirmed that the introduction of the IR35 tax avoidance reforms to the private sector will be deferred until 2021 as part of a package of measures to support businesses through the Covid-19 Coronavirus outbreak. Barclay said ‘the start date for the private sector roll-out of the IR35 reforms will be postponed for 12 months until 6 April 2021’.

JOB RETENTION SCHEME –

  • Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

    Eligibility

    All UK businesses are eligible.

    How to access the scheme

    You will need to:

    • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
    • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

    HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

    If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.


SELF-EMPLOYED –

  • Self-employed safety net strengthened
    The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19).This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.Claim a grant through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

    Who can apply

    You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:

    • have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
    • traded in the tax year 2019-20
    • are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
    • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
    • have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

    Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income come from self-employment. This is determined by at least one of the following conditions being true:

    • having trading profits/partnership trading profits in 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your total taxable income
    • having average trading profits in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your average taxable income in the same period

    If you started trading between 2016-19, HMRC will only use those years for which you filed a Self-Assessment tax return.

    How to apply

    You cannot apply for this scheme yet.

    HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online.

    Individuals do not need to contact HMRC now and doing so will only delay the urgent work being undertaken to introduce the scheme.


SICK PAY – 

  • The Government will bring forward legislation to allow small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
    • this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
    • employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
    • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
    • employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
    • eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force
    • the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible

    Eligibility

    You are eligible for the scheme if:

    • your business is UK based
    • your business is a small or medium-sized and employs fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020

    How to access the scheme

    A rebate scheme is being developed. Further details will be provided in due course once the legalisation has passed.


MISC –

  • Companies House have announced that businesses will be given an additional 3 months to file accounts to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impacts of COVID-19. Full guidance on applying for an extension can be found here
  • Commercial insurance
    Most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics or unspecified notifiable diseases, such as COVID-19. However, those businesses which have an insurance policy that covers government ordered closure and pandemics or government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable disease should be able to make a claim (subject to the terms and conditions of their policy). Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Further information is available.
  • Protection from eviction for commercial tenants
    Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. Further details are now available.
  • DIT support for UK businesses trading internationally
    The advice for UK businesses that export or deliver goods and services abroad and have been impacted by the spread of COVID-19 has been updated.

If your business is affected by the outbreak of Coronavirus, there are financial schemes and measures being put in place to help you overcome this uniquely challenging situation. The Growth Hub has collated the information in one place for you to access and will update this regularly as and when new guidance and information becomes available. Find out more by clicking here: https://www.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/financial-advice-and-support-businesses-affected-covid-19

We would also like to get the message across that our business support activity is open for business, albeit electronically. We urge our existing clients to talk to their business growth adviser about their challenges and any company that is not receiving any external support to come forward and discuss their challenges with us or the Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub. The same applies to our tenants that are not yet receiving business support.

One advice we would give to all businesses is to prepare a detailed cash flow forecast for at least the next 6 months for your business to identify potential shortfalls and to have clarity on what is required to see you through these difficult times. If you are unsure how to do this, contact us using the links below or talk to your accountant who will be able to advise you accordingly.


To receive comprehensive business support please contact our Business Ready team

For start up support please contact our Ignite team

For equity investment please contact our Minerva team

For additional support please contact the team at the CW Growth Hub


Other Useful Links: