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See our Recovery and Reopening page for national and local guidance.
The Government announced a £330bn package of support to businesses will continue to announce new measures in the coming days. As these filter through, please make sure to keep checking the following websites:
- Press release “Timeline for retail to reopen in June” (published 25 May)
- UK Government Recovery Strategy (published 11 May)
- UK Government Working Safely Guidelines (updated 25 May)
- Safer public places – urban centres and green spaces (published 13 May) guidance on how to manage pedestrian space, pedestrian movement, queues and traffic management.
- Roadmap Taskforces (published 13 May): Five new ministerial-led taskforces have been set up to develop plans for how and when closed sectors can reopen safely, following publication of the UK’s roadmap to rebuild Britain.
- Bounce Back Loans to go live on Monday 4 May for small to medium-size businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.
- Gov.uk business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business.
- Canterbury City Council Business Support Hub
- Kent and Medway Growth Hub and Business Support Hotline on 03333 602 300 (Mon-Fri 8.30am – 5.00pm).
- UK Government Business Support Website
For the tourism and hospitality sector we would also recommend checking: Visit Kent’s Support Page which features transport information, sector representation and monitoring, financial support, consumer messaging and the Kent Big Weekend.
ACAS have also published information for employees and employers including information on simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff, sick pay and absence from work.
JOB RETENTION SCHEME
All UK employers will be able to get support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. New guidance was published on 21 May.
- Changes expected in August, businesses expected to pay a proportion of furloughed staff wages and NI contributions, and businesses can take furloughed employees back part time.
- HMRC will pay 80% of the wages for a furloughed employee, subject to a cap of £2,500 a month.
- This will be backdated to 1 March and will be available within weeks.
- The furlough period is for a minimum of three weeks.
- Grants will be made before the end of April.
- Guidance for employers can be found here
- Guidance for employees can be found here.
FIND OUT MORE including what you need to do to access the scheme.
STATUTORY SICK PAY RELIEF
This scheme will allow small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. FIND OUT MORE.
BUSINESS RATES HOLIDAY
Retail, hospitality, childcare providers and leisure businesses will pay no business rates for the financial year 2020 to 2021, no matter what their rateable value is. FIND OUT MORE.
CORPORATE FINANCING FACILITY
To support larger firms, the Bank of England has announced a new lending facility to provide a quick and cost effective way to raise working capital via the purchase of short-term debt. This will support companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, enabling them to continue financing their short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms. The scheme will be available from the week commencing 23 March. Read more here.
VAT AND INCOME TAX
Deferral: Businesses concerned about paying tax due to coronavirus can defer this quarter’s VAT to the end of June and can have to the end of the financial year to pay bills.
Help Line: Businesses and those who are self-employed can access support and advice on their tax obligations and payments via a new dedicated COVID-19 telephone helpline. Using this helpline, businesses may be able to agree a ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement with HMRC. The budget also states that HMRC will waive late payment penalties and interest where a business experiences administrative difficulties contacting HMRC or paying taxes due to COVID-19.
HMRC Coronavirus Helpline: 0800 015 9559
(Mon – Fri, 8am to 8pm and Sat, 8am to 4pm)
If you are worried about a future payment, please call HMRC nearer the time. You can find out more about deferring VAT and Income Tax here
Most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics or unspecified notifiable diseases, such as COVID-19. However, those businesses which have an insurance policy that covers government ordered closure and pandemics or government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable disease should be able to make a claim (subject to the terms and conditions of their policy).
Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.
PROTECTION FOR COMMERCIAL TENANTS
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction, the government has announced. Many landlords and tenants are already having conversations and reaching voluntary arrangements about rental payments due shortly but the government recognises businesses struggling with their cashflow due to coronavirus remain worried about eviction. READ MORE
Banks have announced they will be offering payment holidays for loans and mortgages to help businesses and individuals affected by coronavirus. Read more here.
- Barclays has launched a free telephone helpline offering support and information to its business banking customers. It is also providing repayment holidays. Find out more.
- Lloyds has launched a £2 billion package to help minimise disruption to business operations. Support includes repayment holidays, and no arrangement fees for new or increased overdrafts, invoice discounting and finance facilities. Find out more.
- NatWest has announced a £5 billion fund to support small and medium-sized firms to deal with the impact of coronavirus. Support includes the provision of working capital, loan repayment holidays and temporary emergency loans with no fees. Find out more.
- Santander has outlined the support it is offering to customers impacted by coronavirus. Support includes a helpline and advice on managing finances. Find out more.