SAFER: Coronavirus: Updated information for businesses as at 16.03.20
The ongoing situation relating to COVID-19 is having a major impact on businesses of all sizes and types and the situation is changing daily. As a business-led organisation, we will do all we can to support businesses within the Angel BID area.
If you have any specific business related questions regarding COVID-19, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7288 4377. Here, we provide a synopsis of the information and support for businesses in the Angel
COVID-19 Checklists for your business
The London Growth Hub has produced a simple ‘checklist’ for businesses: https://www.growthhub.london/covid-19-coronavirus-support-for-businesses-and-employers/
For licensed venues, the Night Time Industries Association has produced some sector specific advice: https://www.ntia.co.uk/coronavirus-considerations-for-premises-licence-holders/
As noted in last week’s budget, the Government has announced that for retail businesses with a rateable value below £51,000 it will increase the Business Rates Retail Discount to 100% for one year and expand it to the leisure and hospitality sectors, and increase the planned rates discount for pubs to £5,000.
Islington Council has updated its website with clear information for businesses on the process which can be seen HERE
Government Grants for SMEs affected by COVID-19
The government has announced that it will provide an additional £2.2 billion funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no Business Rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR).
This will provide a one-off grant of £3,000 to around 700,000 business currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their on-going business costs.
We will circulate information as to how to apply for a grant as soon as we receive details.
HMRC Tax Support
All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
Businesses can contact HMRC’s dedicated COVID-19 helpline on 0800 0159 559 for advice and support.
Banks and Financial Institutions Support
We encourage any business to contact your bank to see what additional level of support they can offer you in relation to COVID-19.
A number of the major banks and financial institutions have announced support packages for SMEs including loan repayment holidays, fee-free emergency loans and specific sectoral advice. Two examples are provided below:
Business Insurance Policies
It is vitally important to check your business insurance policy and fully understand your level of cover for different scenarios. If you have any queries regarding your insurance you should contact your insurance provider immediately. Many insurers are providing additional information on their websites and increasing their customer service provision.
If you do not have business insurance that covers interruption due to COVID-19, there is alternative help available – see below.
Interruption Loans for Businesses
A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank (a government-owned business development bank dedicated to making finance markers work better for smaller business) will be launched in the coming weeks to support businesses access bank lending and overdrafts. Further details of the scheme are available through this link: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/supporting-business-loans-enterprise-finance-guarantee/
We will circulate further information and details on the loan scheme as soon as it is available
Employees and Employers Obligations
It is important to understand your obligations as an employer to protect the health and safety of your staff and also understand your obligations to pay staff in different circumstances, for example if you are forced to close your business or a staff member chooses not to attend the workplace.
ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has produced a useful summary of advice for employers. This is available here: https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for SMEs in relation to COVID-19
The government is bringing forward legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.
- The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
- This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
- Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
- Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
- Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
- Eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolators comes into force
The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.
We will distribute further details as soon as they are available
Landlords and Rent
We encourage any business to have an open dialogue with your landlord about your rent. No legislation is currently in place to enforce landlords to offer a reduction or rent-free period to businesses in their tenancy. It is the discretion of the landlord as to whether they will offer this.
As stated at the top of this communication, angel.london is committed to support our BID levy payers in any way we can. We will be circulating further information and guidance as we receive it and are already planning a range of activities to support businesses through, and beyond, this extra-ordinary time.
If you wish to contact us about any business related matter or concern, please email email@example.com or call 020 7288 4377.