General business support
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offers finance to smaller businesses that are viable but unable to obtain finance due to insufficient security to meet the lender’s normal requirements
- Businesses with a turnover of no more than £41 million can apply for a loan of between £1,000 and £5 million, from a range of lenders.
- No interest is due on the loan for the first 12 months and there are no fees.
- Those interested, should talk to your bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them.
Time to Pay Service Hotline
If you cannot pay your tax bill on time due to the COVID-19, a new helpline (0800 015 9559) to the HMRC's Time to Pay service is open to defer payments.
Value Added Tax (VAT) payments will be deferred for three months. The deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020 and businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period.
- The Council is offering free well-being support for businesses and their employees, to tackle the mental health impact of COVID-19.
- Support will include: remote mental health management support (via phone, video calling, e-guides and tutorials; regular contact; in-work support).
- To access the service, contact the Counsellor / Progression Coach, Sonal Doshi, by phone at 0728 454 3020 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Advice for international businesses
Advice for businesses that trade internationally has been published by the Department for International Trade.
Pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways
- The government has granted pubs and restaurants permission to operate as takeaways as part of the coronavirus response.
- However, unless already licensed to do so, your business will not be allowed to serve alcohol off-premises and will need to maintain your current hours of operation.
- Further information about operating as a takeaway is available here.
If you employ people
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue to pay part of the salaries of employees that are laid off because of the crisis.
- HMRC will reimburse 80% of these worker’s wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, backdated to 1 March 2020.
- HMRC will be setting up the systems required for this new scheme and more details will follow.
Statutory Sick Pay Support Rebate
- All UK employers will be able to access support to Statutory Sick Pay will be available to all who are advised to self-isolate from COVID-19 or are caring for someone else who has, provided the employees earnings are over £118/week.
- Rules around GP sick notes have also been relaxed, and a notification can be obtained from NHS 111 Online.
- Statutory Sick Pay will be paid from day one instead of day four and government intend to legislate so this measure applies retrospectively from 13 March 2020.
- The government will refund the cost of Statutory Sick Pay for up to 14 days to small and medium-sized businesses.
- Find out more here.
Increased Employment Allowance
- Employment allowance to increase by £1,000 allowing certain businesses who employ staff to reduce their National Insurance bill by £4,000.
ACAS advice for businesses
- The Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has advice for businesses on dealing with a range of employment issues including staff absence, homeworking, staff presenting symptoms, closing premises and staff lay-offs.
If you run a nursery business
Business Rates Holiday for Nurseries
- Nursery businesses will benefit from a business rates holiday for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
- The Council will identify eligible businesses and automatically apply all new reliefs and issue adjusted bills.
If you are a larger business
The Covid Corporate Financing Facility will support liquidity amongst incorporated businesses through the Bank of England buying short term debt from larger companies.
If you are a commercial tenant
The government has announced new protections for commercial tenants who are not able to pay their rent during the next three months, as a result of COVID-19. New legislation, explained here, is part of the emergency Coronavirus Bill currently going through Parliament.
- Network Rail is cancelling all first quarter (25 March to 23 June 2020) rent payments due from tenants in their commercial estate portfolio, providing significant relief for small businesses. For out more here.
- All small and medium businesses on TfL's estate, which make up 86% of tenants, to get 100% rent relief. This will start from start from 25 March for next three months. More information. For out more here.
If you are a commercial tenant in a property owned by the London Borough of Barnet, you may be able to request a rent-free period. You can request an application form by emailing the Council’s Estates team at Estates.BusinessSupport@barnet.gov.uk