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.
The UK Government has extended the CBILS so that ALL viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time. Specifically, all banks must remove personal guarantees for loans under £250,000, and remove the need to first assess whether a business is eligible for standard lending options. A new lending facility for larger companies above the £45m turnover threshold has also been established. The UK government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees.
Please find further details here.
Q: How can I help?
There are many opportunities to help your local area with its Covid-19 efforts. There are a number of roles in community, primary and secondary care available throughout the CCR local authorities. Click here to register your interest: https://www.covidhubwales.co.uk/
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.
Eligibility date to receive support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) extended from Feb 28 to March 19 meaning thousands more employees will able to receive furlough payments. For more details: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/furlough-scheme-cut-off-date-extended-to-19-march
Q: How can my business help with supporting the Coronavirus testing effort?
Register your interest here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-the-government-increase-coronavirus-covid-19-testing-capacity
Q: What support is available for Charities?
£750m package of support pledged to help ensure they can continue their vital work during the Coronavirus outbreak.
See chancellors speech for more detail: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/chancellor-of-the-exchequer-rishi-sunak-on-economic-support-for-the-charity-sector
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.
A support tool is available to help all businesses and people that are self-employed easily work out what financial support measures are available to them. The tool involves filling out a simple online questionnaire, which only takes minutes to complete, and then you will be directed to a list of all the financial support you may be eligible for: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder
Q: How will my income and trading profits be calculated for the self-employed Income Support Scheme?
Find out how HMRC will work out your income and profits if you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership in the UK and have lost profits due to coronavirus: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-hmrc-works-out-total-income-and-trading-profits-for-the-self-employment-income-support-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:
Q: What is the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund?
The £500m fund will provide extra support to businesses and charities in Wales experiencing a sharp drop in trading as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
It is designed to plug the gaps in the support schemes already announced by the UK Government, including the Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, which will guarantee 80% of people’s wages and income.
It is in addition to funding support for businesses already announced by the Welsh Government.
The fund is made up of two main elements:
· A new £100m Development Bank of Wales fund will be available for companies experiencing cash flow problems as a result of the pandemic and will provide loans of between £5,000 and £250,000 at minimal interest.
Applications can be made online via the Development Bank of Wales’s website developmentbank.wales. Each business can make just one application, and the loan amount will be based on the number of people employed by the business or a calculation based on profit or turnover. The Development Bank has mobilised all its teams to respond to demand and applications will be processed as quickly as possible.
To prove serviceability, applicants will need to provide three months bank statements for loans of £5,000 up to £100,000. Two years annual accounts, management information and a cash flow forecast will also be required for loans of £100,000 to £250,000. Security taken will be a 20% personal guarantee to a maximum of £25,000 for all investments, and for deals over £100,000 a debenture will also apply.
Businesses will also benefit from a £400m emergency pot providing:
· Grants of £10,000 for micro-businesses, including sole traders, with up to nine employees, which are not benefiting from the grants linked to business rates relief. This will be open for applications by mid-April.
· Grants of up to £100,000 for small and medium sized firms with between 10 and 249 employees. This will be open for applications week starting April 6.
· Support for larger Welsh-headquartered companies, which are of critical social or economic importance to Wales. This element will be open to applications in April.
· The grants are discretionary and businesses will need to meet the criteria to qualify for the support.
The fund will support businesses forced to temporarily cease trading – to go into “hibernation” – or which need cash-flow support to adapt to a remote way of working.
The Welsh Governments Economic Resilience Fund for microbusinesses opens 17th April. The Eligibility checker follows straight into the application form: https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/support/financial-support-and-grants
Q: When and how should I apply for the Economic Resilience Fund?
Application process for businesses qualifying for financial support from the Economic Resilience Fund will open on Friday 17 April. Click here to check eligibility: https://gov.wales/find-out-if-your-business-eligible-support-new-economic-resilience-fund
Q: How can I find out how many coronavirus cases we have across Wales?
Public Health Wales is publishing a daily dashboard of data about coronavirus cases across Wales, broken down by health board and local authority area. The interactive dashboard is available at https://public.tableau.com/profile/public.health.wales.health.protection#!/vizhome/RapidCOVID-19virology-Public/Headlinesummary. See below for an overview of cases by local authority and health board.
Q: Is there any support available for the Culture/ Creative and Sport Industries?
More than £18m will support the creative industries, culture and sport sectors, which are feeling the immediate impact of COVID-19.
Q: Our business would like to offer our services to support the Coronavirus effort how do we find out what is possible?
A central system is now in place for all 4 nations to capture and process offers of help from businesses
The support needed includes things like:
medical testing equipment
medical equipment design
protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser
transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement or engineering
social care or childcare
Calling all businesses who are willing and able to come forward to create a supply chain for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to support frontline NHS and social care staff: https://gov.wales/first-ministers-call-action-business-help-us-provide-ppe-frontline-nhs-staff
Q: Are there any official webinars I can access to help find out more about how my business navigates through Covid-19?
Business wales are launching a new series of webinars, aimed at Welsh SMEs affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The series covers key topics to help you minimise the impact of the virus and improve the survivability of your business.
Click to learn more and book your place:
An overview of the business support available in Wales is provided below: