CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) LATEST INFORMATION FOR BUSINESSES

UPDATED 03/04/2020, 15:00

The number of cases of Coronavirus in the UK is rising daily and there is a lot of advice available to individuals and businesses. This page is designed to point you in the right direction for the latest support for your business.

We work closely with Knowsley Council’s Business Team, the Business Rates Team and other Council departments. As soon as information comes available from GOV or Knowsley Council this web-page will be updated. In the meantime, if you need any general business advice or cannot find what you are looking for in the links detail/below please contact Invest Knowsley on 0151 477 4000 or email business@knowsley.gov.uk

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST NEWS FROM KNOWSLEY COUNCIL

 

The Chancellor has set out a package of measures to support businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. The package includes:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Self-Assessment payments
  • a Self-employment Income Support Scheme
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

Direct links to the latest information for Businesses and Employees:

COVID-19: Specific guidance for business

COVID-19: Government Financial Support

COVID-19: Specific guidance for employees

Business Support Measures in Detail:

 

Latest FAQ from the GOV business support website can be found here: https://bit.ly/FAQsStayHome

 

NEW – Support for self-employed through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

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.

NOTE: You cannot apply for this scheme yet. HMRC will contact you to apply online. You don not need to contact HMRC.

Details on the grant through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

 

Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (80% wages)

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,’ (WHAT IS A FURLOUGHED WORKER AND HOW DO I DO THIS) 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.

NEW – HMRC have updated the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance (27/03) with specific reference to National Insurance and pension contributions for furloughed workers. Please click here.

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

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates – Small Business Grant Scheme

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.
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

This financial assistance is being made available to small businesses and retailers in Knowsley. If you are eligible you CAN NOW apply for it from this page… https://www.knowsley.gov.uk/business-grants-for-coronavirus You will need your non-domestic rates, NDR account number to apply. For questions on this scheme contact the Knowsley Council Rates Team via email: business.grants@knowsley.gov.uk

Applications can ONLY be made online – please do not call to make an application as the council will be unable to process it. To understand eligibility see GOV link below… 

FULL guidance on business support grant funding – This guidance sets out details of eligibility and delivery of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

 

NEW – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
This scheme will allow small and medium sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying Statutory Sick Pay to their employees.
HMRC has published new online guidance which includes information about who can use the scheme and the records employers must keep.
HMRC is working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.
Details about when the new Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme can be accessed and when employers can make a claim will be announced as soon as possible.

NEW – Companies to receive 3-month extension period to file accounts during COVID-19
Businesses will be given an additional 3 months to file accounts with Companies House to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impact of COVID-19. Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system. “Start your fast-track” application for extension link here

 

Extension for filing accounts

You can apply for more time to file your annual accounts with Companies House.
If you think the impact of COVID-19 will cause delays in filing your company accounts, you can apply for an automatic and immediate 3 month extension. You must apply before your filing deadline.

APPLY HERE

Late filing penalties – Late filing penalties are applied automatically if you do not apply for an extension and you file your accounts late.

 

Commercial insurance clarification
Most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics. Businesses which have an insurance policy that covers “government ordered closure” or similar should be able to make a claim (subject to the T&Cs of your policy). We would encourage you to check the T&Cs of your policy and contact your Insurance provider as each provider and each policy will differ.

 

Detail on KEY WORKERS published by the Department for Education 20/03/2020:

CLICK HERE

 

Online isolation notes launched – providing proof of Coronavirus absence from work  

People unable to work for more than seven days because of Coronavirus (COVID-19) can obtain an isolation note through a new online service. CLICK HERE

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

  • UPDATE: The Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now open:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses#support-for-businesses-through-the-coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme
  • A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch next week (w/c 23 March) to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.
  • This will help ensure that eligible businesses facing short-term cash flow difficulties can continue to access finance as they respond to the temporary impact of the coronavirus outbreak on cash flow.
  • By providing an 80% government guarantee on eligible lending, this scheme will give lenders the confidence to keep lending to businesses. The government will provide as much capacity as required for this scheme. There will be no fee for lenders or borrowers to benefit from this guarantee.
  • The Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.
  • The scheme is open to businesses with a turnover of less than £41m (as long as the business is long-term viable and is UK based) which meet the scheme’s eligibility criteria. Full details on the eligibility criteria will be announced shortly.
  • The first loans will be available next week and further details of the new scheme will be announced shortly. Businesses worried about accessing finance now should speak to their usual lender.

 

Business Rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure

  • All businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will pay no business rates in England for 12 months from 1 April 2020.
  • There will be no rateable value threshold on this relief – businesses large and small will benefit.
  • Guidance for local authorities on the application of the holiday has been cascaded. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should contact the Knowsley Council Rates Team on 0151 443 4069/4126 or email: business.grants@knowsley.gov.uk

 

New Fund for Artists and the cultural sector

Arts Council England has announced a £160m fund to help artists, venues and freelancers in the cultural sector in light of coronavirus. The support package includes £20m for individuals (made up of grants of up to £2,500 each), £90m for National Portfolio Organisations, and £50m for organisations outside that scheme. The money has been found by diverting funds from National Lottery project grants and development funds, and from emergency reserves. The first payments are expected to be made within six weeks. More details click here.

 

TO SIGN UP TO THE GOVERNMENTS EMAIL ALERTS ABOUT CORONAVIRUS – CLICK HERE.

HMRC have launched a tax helpline to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Find all the information here.

The number is 0800 0159 559.

 

Public Health England has also produced some useful guidance for businesses and employees which includes advice around symptoms and how to prevent the virus spreading.

You can view the guidance here.

INFORMATION ON SPECIFIC KNOWSLEY COUNCIL SERVICES:

Knowsley Works advisors will continue to provide employability and job search advice and information by telephone and email. This service will operate Mondays to Friday, 9.00am – 5.00pm. Call the centre nearest to where you live on:

Huyton         0151 443 5010

Halewood    0151 443 2040

Kirkby          0151 443 4933

 

Knowsley & Halton Building Control Services – Temporary changes to their service

Knowsley & Halton Building Control Services is in a good position to carry on providing the statutory function during this challenging time. Implementing a range of measures to ensure customers experience an undisrupted service.

Applications – for building control services should be submitted online at bcsubmissions@knowsley.gov.uk

Plan checking – service will continue as normal

Site inspections – amended approach, email the team

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch at bcsubmissions@knowsley.gov.uk or contact 0151-443-5830

 

AWARENESS MATERIAL / POSTERS FOR THE OFFICE:

You may feel it appropriate and helpful to display some of the Public Health posters in and around your office/business…

https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/101-coronavirus-/resources

However, to access the posters and other materials you will need to register on the site, this is a very simple procedure and the link is at the top of the page or click here to register.