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Coronavirus Business Support and Advice

Summary of business support available

Safely reopening our high streets

The restrictions placed on some business to stop trading to help limit the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus are being gradually eased. For more information, and for help and guidance please see our safe town centres page.

Guidance has been published for hairdressers and barbers as well as pubs and bars that are planning to reopen.

The Government has published advice on how to work safely during coronavirus, with information for employees, employers and specific industries.

Business Rates

The following Government schemes have been implemented by the Council:

Summer Economic Update (8th July 2020)

In the Summer Economic Update, the Chancellor confirmed that the Job Retention Scheme would end in October 2020 and the following measures were confirmed:

Schemes for Businesses and Employees

Jobs Retention Bonus

The Government will introduce a one-off payment of £1,000 to UK employers for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021. Employees must earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (£520 a month) on average between the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the end of January 2021. Payments will be made from February 2021. Further detail about the scheme will be announced by the end of July.

Payments for employees who hire new apprentices

The Government will introduce a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. These payments will be in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the Government already provides for new 16-18-year-old apprentices, and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan – where that applies.

Eat out to help out

The Chancellor announced the introduction of the ‘Eat Out to Help Out scheme’ to encourage people to return to eating out. This will entitle every diner to a 50 per cent discount of up to £10 per head on their meal, at any participating restaurant, café, pub or other eligible food service establishment. The discount can be used unlimited times and will be valid Monday to Wednesday on any eat-in meal (including on non-alcoholic drinks) for the entire month of August 2020 across the UK. Participating establishments will be fully reimbursed for the 50 per cent discount.

Temporary VAT cuts for food and non-alcoholic drinks

From 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021, to support businesses and jobs in the hospitality sector, the reduced (5 per cent) rate of VAT will apply to supplies of food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and similar premises across the UK. Further guidance on the scope of this relief will be published by HMRC in the coming days.

Temporary VAT cuts for accommodation and attractions

From 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021, to support businesses and jobs, the reduced (5 per cent) rate of VAT will apply to supplies of accommodation and admission to attractions across the UK. Further guidance on the scope of this relief will be published by HMRC in the coming days.

Schemes for Education and Employment

Kickstart Scheme

A new ‘Kickstart Scheme’ will be introduced - a £2 billion fund to create six-month work placements aimed at those aged between 16 and 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment. Funding available for each job will cover 100 per cent of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

New funding for National Careers Service

An additional £32 million funding will be provided over the next two years for the National Careers Service so that 269,000 more people in England can receive personalised advice on training and work.

High quality traineeships for young people

An additional £111 million will be provided this year for traineeships in England, to fund high quality work placements and training for 16-24-year olds. The Government will fund employers who provide trainees with work experience, at a rate of £1,000 per trainee. The Government will improve provision and expand eligibility for traineeships to those with Level 3 qualifications and below.

High value courses for schools and college leavers

£101 million will be provided for the 2020-21 academic year to give all 18-19-year olds in England the opportunity to study targeted high value Level 2 and 3 courses when there are not employment opportunities available to them.

Expanded youth offer

The Government will expand and increase the intensive support offered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in Great Britain to young jobseekers, to include all those aged 18-24 in the Intensive Work Search Group in Universal Credit.

Enhanced work search support

The Government will provide £895 million to enhance work search support by doubling the number of work coaches in Jobcentre Plus before the end of the financial year across Great Britain.

Expansion of the Work and Health Programme

Up to £95 million will be provided this year to expand the scope of the Work and Health Programme in Great Britain to introduce additional voluntary support in the autumn for those on benefits that have been unemployed for more than three months. This expansion will have no impact on the existing provision for those with illnesses or disabilities in England and Wales.

Jobs finding support service

£40 million will be provided to fund private sector capacity to introduce a job finding support service in Great Britain in the autumn. This online, one-to-one service is aimed at helping those who have been unemployed for less than three months increase their chances of finding employment.

Flexible Support Fund

The Government will increase the funding for the Flexible Support Fund by £150 million in Great Britain, including to increase the capacity of the Rapid Response Service. It will also provide local support to claimants by removing barriers to work such as travel expenses for attending interviews.

New funding for sector based work academies

The Government will provide an additional £17 million this year to triple the number of sector-based work academy placements in England in order to provide vocational training and guaranteed interviews for more people, helping them gain the skills needed for the jobs available in their local area.

Other schemes for homeowners and the public sector

Temporary Stamp Duty (SDLT) cut

The Government will temporarily increase the Nil Rate Band of Residential SDLT, in England and Northern Ireland, from £125,000 to £500,000. This will apply from 8 July 2020 until 31 March 2021 and cut the tax due for everyone who would have paid SDLT.

Greens Homes Grant

A £2 billion Green Homes Grant will be introduced, providing at least £2 for every £1 homeowners and landlords spend to make their homes more energy efficient, up to £5,000 per household. For those on the lowest incomes, the scheme will fully fund energy efficiency measures of up to £10,000 per household. In total this could support over 100,000 green jobs and help strengthen a supply chain that the Government hopes will help meet their target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The scheme aims to upgrade over 600,000 homes across England to save money on their energy bills.

Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme

The Clean Growth Strategy set out the Government’s ambition to halve greenhouse gas emissions from the public sector by 2032. To help achieve this and support economic recovery, the Government will invest £1 billion over the next year in a Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme that will offer grants to public sector bodies, including schools and hospitals, to fund both energy efficiency and low carbon heat upgrades.

Social Housing Decarbonisation Scheme

The Government will establish a new Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund to help social landlords improve the least energy-efficient social rented homes, starting with a £50 million demonstrator project in 2020-21 to decarbonise social housing. This is intended to lower annual energy bills for low income households.

Summary of Government support for businesses

Summary of Government support for businesses

Support General Eligibility How to access Notes
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme All UK businesses

More details on the scheme can be found on the Government website.

Only contact HMRC directly if it has been more than 10 working days since your claim and you haven’t received it: HMRC – 0800 0159 559

This scheme will close on 31st October 2020.

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.

Grant covering up to 80% of retained workers, up to £2,500 a month. This amount will reduce from 1st August, for further details please follow the below link.

This scheme has changed from 1st July, for information on the changes, please see the Government's webpage.

 

Self-employed Income Support Scheme 

Self-employed with trading profits up to £50,000.

Existing self-employed with a tax return for 2019 (those who have missed the filing deadline in January will get 4 weeks from 26th March 2020 to submit their tax return)

HMRC – 0800 0159 559

HMRC are working on implementing the scheme urgently with access being no later than the beginning of June. HMRC will contact eligible people directly and ask them to complete a form, after which HMRC will make a direct bank account payment. There is currently no application process as this will be implemented automatically. 

The scheme will be open for at least 3 months.

Government will pay a taxable grant worth 80% of average monthly profits over the last 3 years, up to £2,500 per month.

For more information please see the government guidance.

Small Business Recover Grant Small and medium sized businesses in England More information is available on the Government website. Please also see https://www.gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk/ and https://stokestaffsgrowthhub.co.uk/ Small and medium sized businesses in England can access grants between £1,000 - £5,000 for new equipment and technology and specialist advice.
Reclaim Statutory Sick Pay Fewer than 250 employees as of 28/02/20. The process to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay has now been implemented. This will cover up to 2 weeks sick pay if the absence is COVID-19 related.
Bounce Back Loan

SMEs who are based in the UK, have been negatively impacted by coronavirus, and were not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31st December 2019.

You cannot apply if you are already claiming under the CBILS. You may be able to transfer your CBILS to the this scheme if your loan is under £50,000. 

Details of the application process.

Government guarantees 100% of loan value. Loans of between £2,000 and £50,000.

First 12 months interest and fee free (paid by Government). Loan terms of up to 6 years, no repayments will be due during first 12 months.

Government has agreed with lenders that the interest for these loans will be 2.5%.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme SMEs. Turnover of <£45m and general British Business Bank criteria.

Details of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme application process.

Government guarantees 80% of loan value. Loans of up to £5m, first 12 months interest free (paid by Government).
Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme All viable businesses with a turnover of more than £45m Details of the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme application process.

Loans of up to £25m for businesses with a turnover of over £45m.

Loans of up to £50m for businesses with a turnover of over £250m.

Loans can still be backed by a Government guarantee of up to 80%, however borrowers will be 100% responsible for interest payments and lender levied fees. Maximum loan term is 3 years. 

Coronavirus Future Fund

UK-incorporated - if your business is part of a corporate group, only the parent company is eligible

It has raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last 5 years

None of its shares are traded on a regulated market, multilateral trading facility or other listing venue

It was incorporated on or before 31 December 2019

at least one of the following is true:

  • half or more employees are UK-based
  • half or more revenues are from UK sales
Details on how the scheme can be accessed.

Loans of up to £25m for businesses with a turnover of over £45m.

Loans of up to £50m for businesses with a turnover of over £250m.

Loans can still be backed by a Government guarantee of up to 80%, however borrowers will be 100% responsible for interest payments and lender levied fees. Maximum loan term is 3 years. 

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 end of September 2020.

Corporate Financing All UK businesses Via Bank of England. Details on how to access the Corporate Financing scheme. Bank of England able to buy short term debt from larger companies.
Tax – Time to Pay Pay Tax to UK Government, have outstanding tax liabilities HMRC – 0800 0159 559 For advice and guidance on tax payments
VAT Deferred All UK businesses HMRC – 0800 0159 559 VAT for all businesses is being deferred until the end of June 2020. Any VAT payment that was deferred must be paid by 31st March 2021. Find out what you need to do.
Access to Universal Credit Self-Employed Department for Work and Pensions Self-employed will have access to Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay
£25,000 Cash Grant Retail, Hospitality and Leisure (RV £15,000 - £51,000)

This has been awarded to eligible businesses

£10,000 Cash Grant You are a business that occupies property. All businesses eligible for small business rate relief or rural relief. 

This has been awarded to eligible businesses

Retail discount will increase from one third of the liability to 100% in 2020/21 only. Retail, Hospitality and Leisure This is applied automatically via business rate billing, eligible businesses will be re-billed This has been awarded to eligible businesses.
Business Rates Nursery Discount Scheme Properties occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and providing the Early Years Foundation Stage This is applied automatically via business rate billing, eligible businesses will be re-billed. This has been awarded to eligible businesses.