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.
Small Business Grant Fund
This fund will provide eligible businesses with a lump sum grant of £10,000
- you should have been in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief Scheme on 11 March 2020
- exclusions include hereditaments for personal use, car parks and hereditaments with a rateable value of £51,000 or more, please check your most recent ‘NNDR’ bill to get find this information
- please read the full eligibility criteria, Annex A provides a summary.
When payments will be made
We are aiming to have payments to eligible businesses, where we hold bank account details from week starting 6 April 2020.
For businesses where we don’t hold bank account details an online form will go live from week starting 6 April 2020.
Please keep checking this information for updates.
Business Rates Grants scam
It has come to light that companies are charging businesses a fee to facilitate applications for Business Rates Grants. Please note these grants are free to apply and in fact no application is necessary. We will however be contacting some eligible businesses to complete an online form for further information such as bank details to enable a payment to be made. We strongly advise not to use any companies charging a premium to apply on your behalf.
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.
If your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors
Over the last few days the government has made various statements with regards to supporting businesses in response to COVID-19. We are still awaiting detailed guidance on some of the announcements but the information below is what is known at this point.
- This fund will provide eligible businesses with a lump sum grant of £10,000 or £25,000. Eligibility for this grant can be found here and Annex A provides a summary of the scheme requirements.
- If you’re an eligible business with a Rateable Value of £15,000 or less, then you will receive a grant of £10,000.
- If you’re an eligible business with a Rateable Value of more than £15,000, but less than £51,000, then you will receive a grant of £25,000.
- Following government clarification on this grant scheme, published on 30 March 2020, we can now start working on implementing a system to make the payments. We are currently awaiting a system update from our software supplier which will provide a platform to identify eligible businesses, carry out data matching against external systems to identify possible fraud or error, make payments to those we identify are eligible for the £10,000 grant where we have their bank details and provide a platform to text, email or write to business where we need their bank details.
- Where we don’t hold businesses bank account details, businesses will be required to provide bank details on an online form and also upload evidence the account belongs to the business, this will need to be a redacted bank statement saved as PDF. Grant payments will be withheld if bank account names don’t match the business rates payer.
- For those business that are entitled to the £25,000 grant, we will be requesting that a state aid declaration is made to confirm you have not received de minimis aid (i.e. public support in the form of grants) exceeding 800,000 euros in the current financial year or the previous two financial years before releasing any grants. This declaration will be captured by the same online form used to capture bank details.
- As per the guidance issued, we will make use of the Spotlight due diligence tool prior to making any payment. Where issues are flagged, we will be withholding payments and contacting the affected business in due course.
- We are aiming to have our system in place in order to start making payments W/C 6 April.
- Please keep checking this webpage, as there will be updates to the progress made with system implementation when known.
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 BusinessSupport@Barnet.gov.uk