Coronavirus – support for businesses
Q: What support is available for businesses to deal with coronavirus?
RATES RELIEF AND GRANTS
The Welsh Government announced a £1.4bn business support package on March 18 to help companies across Wales. The new package provides retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in Wales with a year-long business rates holiday in 2020-21; a grant of £25,000 for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000; a £10,000 grant to all businesses eligible for small business rates relief with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.
Q: Does this match the support available in England?
Yes – this matches the measures the Chancellor announced w/c 23/3 for businesses in England, and provides a much-needed boost for small businesses in Wales, which are at the heart of our economy and are struggling to cope with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Q: When and how will this support be available?
The RATES RELIEF will be operated through the non-domestic rates system for 2020-21.
The rateable value of your business can be found at https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/business-rates-find/search
Businesses that qualify for this support will not need to do anything to apply for this scheme. This will be administered through the Business Rates system.
The BUSINESS GRANTS will be distributed by local authorities on behalf of Welsh Government from the week beginning March 30.
You can apply for a business support grant through the local authority where your business is located. There is a limit of two grants per business per local authority area.
To apply for a business support grant through your council, follow the relevant link below:
Q: What other help is available?
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now open for applications
A Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme for smaller businesses will be delivered by the British Business Bank. This will temporarily replace the Enterprise Finance Guarantee and offer more attractive terms for both businesses and lenders. It will help smaller businesses who are unable to secure finance due to having insufficient security by providing lenders with a government-backed guarantee against the outstanding facility balance. The Government will also cover the first 12 months of interest payments
DEVELOPMENT BANK OF WALES REPAYMENT HOLIDAYS
Information on re-payment holidays and additional support from the Development bank can be found here
Q: SSP – What support is available to businesses who have to pay sick pay?
The UK Government is bringing forward legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence or self-isolating due to coronavirus. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
- This refund will cover up to two 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
- The eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay 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.
There is advice available through Government BEIS guidance to employers and businesses about covid-19 on areas such as Statutory Sick Pay, Advice for employees which have travelled to high risk areas and home working.
Q: EMPLOYEE RETENTION – What support is there to help businesses pay their employees’ wages if they have to close during the pandemic?
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to open to any employer in the country and provides a grant to cover the wages of people who are not working but are furloughed and kept on payroll, rather than being laid off.
Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1.
Businesses in Wales will be eligible for the scheme.
Q: What support is available for the self-employed?
The UK Government has announced it will pay self-employed people who have been adversely affected by coronavirus, a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month.
- The scheme will be available for at least three months but could be extended.
- It will be open to anyone with income up to £50,000, who make the majority of their income from self-employment but only those who have a tax return for 2019, will be able to apply.
- People who are eligible will be able to access the scheme by June.
- Self-employed people in Wales will be eligible for the scheme.
Q: I am struggling to meet my tax return timelines
If your business is unable to pay your tax bills due to the coronavirus, you could apply for a ‘time to pay’ agreement with HMRC. This allows you to repay your outstanding tax liabilities in monthly instalments over an agreed period (typically up to 12 months). If you’re concerned that you won’t be able to make a tax payment due to coronavirus, you should contact HMRC’s dedicated helpline as soon as possible.
Q: Are there any other financial support options that I can explore?
Some of the high-street banks have announced measures such as payment holidays to help their customers manage the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
The below are general helplines or dedicated numbers for coronavirus support:
NatWest – Speak to your Relationship Manager or contact 0345 711 4477
Barclays – Speak to your Relationship Manager or call 0800 1971 086. Open 8am-8pm
Lloyds – Promoting up to £2 billion of finance without fees to small businesses. Speak to Relationship Manager
HSBC – Helpline 08000 121 614. Open 9-5 Monday to Friday
RBS – Speak to Relationship Manager or Call 0345 600 2230
Q: How do I keep up-to-date with information about COVID-19 and the impact on my business?
You can sign up to receive regular up-date e-mails from Gov.uk here:
An overview of the business support available in Wales is provided below: