The Growth Hub team are working hard to keep you updated on Covid-19 Support for Business and inform you of the latest on Government schemes and other business support to assist with managing through the impacts of the Coronavirus. Here follows links to schemes, advice, guidance and further business support.

New National Restrictions from 5 November

From Thursday 5 November, certain businesses and venues are required to close in order to reduce social contact and help control the virus. However, other types of businesses will be able to remain open and continue trading throughout the lockdown period. Full details are available on the Government website.

In addition, Government guidance states that people should work from home wherever possible. In sectors where homeworking is not possible, businesses must take all reasonable steps to ensure people work safely from a COVID-19 Secure workplace. A key consideration is how to modify your work setting to prevent the spread of the virus.

Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions may be eligible for financial support under the Local Restrictions Grant Scheme, which offers the following:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.

The Local Restriction Grant Scheme (LRGS) and a discretionary, Additional Restriction Grant (ARG) are administered by your local authority. Businesses should see the coronavirus business support pages for their local authority for more information and how to apply. To find your local authority, please visit Find your local council and enter your postcode. You can click here to check if you business may be eligible here for coronavirus grant due to national restrictions.

Guidance for employers and businesses

You should download the NHS App to keep updated on the latest guidance. See https://www.covid19.nhs.uk/ for how to download it.

Create a coronavirus NHS QR code for your venue. You can click here to create a QR code poster for your business. Get visitors to scan the QR code when they arrive, using the NHS Covid-19 app. This it to help trace and stop the spread of coronavirus. The poster should be displayed in prominent locations encouraging visitors, staff, customers and suppliers to scan the poster to check in. See here for guidance on producing a QR code poster for your business.

See the Better Business for All (BBfA) partnership Covid-19 Toolkits to help guide you to reopen your business safely:

HM Gov Covid-19 Schemes

There are a range of measures and schemes available to businesses such as grant funding, business rate relief and loans. You can find out the latest updates here and further details for businesses on the Government’s Coronavirus Business Support Hub covering how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply.

See HM Government Coronavirus Business Support Hub

Coronavirus Business Financial Support Finder Tool
The Government has launched an online tool to help employers and the self-employed find Coronavirus financial support. The support finder will show which loans, tax relief and cash grants that businesses can access. Use the Business Financial Support Finder tool.

Summary information and quick links to business support options are below

The Self-Employment Income Support scheme has been extended to provide two grants, each available for three month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period. The grants are taxable income and also subject to National Insurance contributions.

For the grant covering the 3 month period from 1 November 2020 until 31 January 2021, the Government will provide a taxable grant calculated at 80% of 3 months average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total.

For the period covering February 2021 to April 2021, the Government will set out further details, including the grant level, in due course.

The online service for the next grant claim will be available from 30 November 2020. HMRC will provide full details about claiming and applications in guidance on GOV.UK in due course.

Find more information and check your eligibility here Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is being extended until 31 March 2021. Under the extended scheme, the level of the grant will mirror levels available under the CJRS in August, so the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 and employers will pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions only for the hours the employee does not work. Flexible furloughing will be allowed in addition to full-time furloughing.

For October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, for time they are furloughed. Employers will continue to able to choose to top up employee wages above the 80% total and £2,500 cap for the hours not worked at their own expense if they wish. Employers will have to pay their employees for the hours worked.

The 30 November 2020 is the last day you can submit claims for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.

Here is the link to Claim for Employee Wages through the Job Retention Scheme.

To note:- The Job Retention Bonus will no longer be paid in February, as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until the end of March 2021.

The Job Support Scheme, which was scheduled to come in on Sunday 1st November, has been postponed until the furlough scheme ends. Additional guidance is expected in due course.

UPDATE: The application window for the Kickstart Grant Scheme has now closed – 22 September, 6pm.

For those who applied for the grant and have queries about your grant application, requested changes to your grant agreement or queries about your grant claim, please see the Kickstart Grant Scheme Page here for responses from the grants team to common queries.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to obtain a 6-year loan at a government set interest rate of 2.5% a year. Loans will be from £2,000 to £50,000 (or up to 25% of a business’ turnover). The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed, full guarantee for the loan. The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt. There are no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year.

If you already have a Bounce Back Loan but borrowed less than you were entitled to, from 10 November you can top up your existing loan to your maximum amount. You must request the top-up by 31 January 2021.

For full details and how to apply, see Bounce Back Loan scheme here.  (closes for applications on 31 January 2021)

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) – Supports small and medium-sized businesses to access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and up to six years. Government will cover interest payments for 12 months and any lender-levied fees. Open now and delivered through accredited lenders. How to apply, eligibility criteria and how to access the loan scheme is here Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (closes for applications on 31 January 2021)

Large Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (LCBILS) – The scheme helps medium and large sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £200 million. To be eligible, you will have a turnover of over £45 million, be based in the UK and have not received support under the Bank of England’s Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility. You will need to show that the loan will enable you to trade out of any short-term to medium term difficulty resulting from Coronavirus. Further details and how to apply here Large Business CBILS (closes for applications on 31 January 2021)

The availability of this facility means that the Bank of England will buy short-term debt from larger companies. This will support companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.

How to apply, eligibility criteria and how to access the financing facility is here Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility

Businesses can explore finance options and access a range of finance schemes through the government-owned British Business Bank. The British Business Bank’s Finance Hub provides useful information to help with understanding the various finance options that may be available to your business. It also provides guidance on preparing your business for investment.

Future Fund – The Future Fund provides government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. These convertible loans may be an option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access other government business support programmes because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit. The scheme is open for applications until the 31 January 2021. See Future Fund Overview

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 the HMRC’s Time to Pay service. Further details here Time to Pay Service

If you’re a VAT registered business, check if you can temporarily reduce the rate of VAT on supplies relating to hospitality, accommodation, or admission to certain attractions.

Check if your retail, hospitality or leisure business is eligible for business rates relief due to coronavirus.

You can access information on further support measures on the Government Coronavirus Business Support Hub. Aside from Coronavirus response related measures, there is business support, guidance and information on the Government’s general support pages for business and the self-employed here https://www.gov.uk/browse/business

And be alert to the risk that in these challenging times there may be people wishing to take advantage. Please do not provide bank details over the telephone. For more information and guidance, see Trading Standards Covid-19 Scams Guidance

Other National and Local Support for Business

This section highlights support and guidance offered by various organisations to support you and your business through the Coronavirus disruption

Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations are providing advice, guidance and webinars that you may find helpful. The following link takes you to a nationwide list of organisations providing support. It does not cover all business representative organisations but you may find it a helpful starting point. See Other Support & Guidance for Business.

CBI Coronavirus Hub  has practical advice and guidance for businesses. See CBI Coronavirus Hub

ICAEW Coronavirus Hub information resources can be accessed here ICAEW Coronavirus Hub

Devon & Plymouth Chamber has a range of resources including guidance and webinars. See Devon & Plymouth Chamber Coronavirus Business Support

Somerset Chamber of Commerce offers information and support for businesses, including an information hub and free to access webinars covering a wide range of topics. See Somerset Chamber Coronavirus Business Support

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has information and guidance for small businesses and the self-employed including a series of webinars and virtual networking sessions for South West businesses. See the FSB Coronavirus Support

Cosmic Remote Working Advice Line 0330 088 4421 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm). Provided by Cosmic, a Devon-based social enterprise specialising in all things digital, this free helpline is to provide advice and support on remote and home working to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19. You can access the free Remote Working Advice toolkit here.

TDA Business – provide access to a team of Advisers who can offer support throughout Torbay and in other areas across the South West. See TDA website

Trading Standards – To help businesses recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service is offering free tailored trading standards regulatory advice for all businesses in its area until 31 October 2020. From 1 August onwards, this offer is limited to two hours of advice per business. For more information, contact Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service. Plymouth businesses can access free tailored Trading Standards regulatory advice through Plymouth Trading Standards. The services’ specialist teams of officers can provide advice on all aspects of trading standards law. This includes helping businesses to diversify into different areas and develop a different business model that could operate during the government’s current lockdown restrictions.

Libraries provide access to online resources such a Cobra factsheets and often host business or start-up related workshops. You can access these services and other business support related resources for free through library membership. See your local library, Devon Libraries, Somerset Libraries, Plymouth Libraries, Torbay Libraries.

Your Local Authority has the latest Coronavirus updates and advice for your area, plus information on business related support. See Coronavirus pages at Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay. For further local information, see the Coronavirus pages for your local District or Council – Find you local authority here.

HMRC are delivering a programme of webinars on measures to support employers, employees and the self-employed through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. Find out more information and register for upcoming webinars here – HMRC Webinar Programme

Other Webinar Programmes – a range of non-government organisations are delivering webinars to offer practical advice and guidance. You can search under the relevant organisation or sector to access the guidance offered, which includes online events and webinars where those are available. See Support from Business Organisations and Trade Associations

CBI Daily Coronavirus Webinar – you can register for the upcoming webinar and view past CBI webinars here CBI Coronavirus Hub

ICAEW Webinar and information resources can be accessed here ICAEW Coronavirus Webinars

Devon & Plymouth Chamber list upcoming webinars, which are free to attend for members and non-members. See Devon & Plymouth Chamber Events

Somerset Chamber of Commerce have free to access webinars covering a wide range of topics and Covid related measures. See Somerset Chamber Covid-19 webinars

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have a series of webinars and virtual networking sessions. See the FSB South West Event Listing here

SWMAS are offering webinars on a variety of topics relevant to manufacturing businesses. Take a look here SWMAS Events

Have published information including advice to businesses on remote working, useful tools, webinars and other resources. See HotSW Digital Skills Partnership

This is a virtual job and career fair supporting those who have been made redundant, or have been affected by the closure of employers in the Heart of the South West LEP area (Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay). You can search jobs and access tools and resources here – HotSW Jobs Launchpad

Social enterprises can access local and national grant funding and other assistance to help through the Coronavirus outbreak. You can explore support in your local areas via the following pages:

Social Enterprise UK have a Coronavirus Support and Resource page

You can also find guidance and financial support offered by the government to charities.

Coronavirus information for farmers, landowners and rural businesses – this page on the Gov.uk site provides guidance and the latest updates. See Information for Farmers

Pick for Britain – Looking to work on a UK Fruit & Veg farm? From pickers and packers, to plant husbandry and tractor or forklift drivers, there are a wide range of roles available. See the Pick for Britain website here

The NFU is providing an information gathering service on behalf of the agricultural and horticultural industries across the UK to assist the government in building a dynamic and up-to-date picture of the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak is having on farmers and growers. You can give your information here NFU Covid-19 Impact Form

Are You Looking for Other Business Support Options?

Our Growth Hub team are on hand to help you navigate the business support options, find answers to your questions and put you in touch with the right schemes to meet your business needs and aspirations. Do Get in Touch and a Growth Hub Adviser from our team will get back to you.

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