Sunday 29th March 2020
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Advice for businesses

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The chancellor has set out a package of temporary and targeted measures to support businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.
Please click on the links below to find out more:

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

The British Business Bank will manage the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) which will become available in the week commencing 23 March 2020. 
It will be delivered through a range of over 40 accredited lenders and offer attractive terms for both businesses applying for new facilities and lenders, with the aim of supporting the continued provision of finance to UK businesses experiencing increased costs or disruptions to cashflow during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed guarantee against the outstanding facility balance, potentially enabling a ‘no’ credit decision from a lender to become a ‘yes’.  The government will cover the first twelve months of interest payments and any facility arrangement fees charged by lenders, so businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.
The maximum value of a facility provided under the scheme will be £5m. Note that the borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt. 
To find out more about the CBILS, please visit the British Business Bank website.
Any business interested in applying to CBILS should talk to their bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss their business plan with them. This will help the finance provider to act quickly once the Scheme has launched.

Retail business relief

Following the guidance from government on retail relief we will not take a direct debit from any ratepayer that is going to be granted retail relief of 100%.
If you're one of the eligible businesses  you'll be granted retail relief and should not pay your first instalment of the bill in April.
For a full list of the retail business this includes please visit the GOV.UK website.

Commercial rent

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction and measures in place to support ongoing conversations between landlords and tenants about voluntary arrangements.

Filing of accounts

Businesses will be given an additional three months to file accounts with Companies House to help companies avoid penalti​es as they deal with the impact of COVID-19.
More information here

VAT and Income Tax payments

  • Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments can be deferred for three months.
  • Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the self-sssessment system may be deferred until January 2021.

Income Tax

For Income Tax self-assessment, payments due on 31 July 2020 may be deferred until 31 January 2021.

Self employed

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 three months. This may be extended if needed.
HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant.
The scheme will be open to those:
  • where the majority of their income comes from self-employment
  • who have profits of less than £50,000
It will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.

Food businesses

Food business operators should continue to follow the Food Standard Agency’s guidance on good hygiene practices in food preparation and their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) processes.
A Food Safety Management System (FSMS) that includes existing food hygiene guidance and HACCP processes should be followed.
Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products.
Food businesses can refer to the Food Standards Agency’s safer food, better business (SFBB) guidance for further guidance on expected food hygiene standards.
The advice on social distancing measures applies to everyone. You need to minimise opportunities for the virus to spread by maintaining a distance of two metres between individuals.
This advice applies to both inside the food business and in the external public areas where customers may need to queue.
People should be reminded to wash their hands for 20 seconds and more frequently than normal.
The practical implementation of this advice will depend on the local circumstances. This may be best evaluated by the store manager. However a few general indicators may be relevant to the majority of retail outlets:
  • use additional signage to ask customers not to enter the shop if they have symptoms
  • regulate entry so that the premises do not become overcrowded
  • use floor markings inside the commercial spaces to facilitate compliance with the social distancing advice of two metres, particularly in the most crowded areas, such as serving counters and tills
  • use vertical signage to direct customers into lanes if feasible to facilitate movement within the premises while maintaining teo metre distance
  • make regular announcements to remind customers to follow social distancing advice and clean their hands regularly
  • place plexiglass barriers at tills and counters if feasible, as an additional element of protection for workers and customers
  • encourage the use of contactless payments where possible, without disadvantaging older or vulnerable customers
  • provide additional pop-up handwashing stations or facilities if possible, providing soap, water and hand sanitiser

Businesses trading internationally

Information for businesses that export or deliver goods and services abroad and have been impacted by the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) including:
  • DIT support for UK business trading internationally
  • financial support for business trading internationally

See Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for UK businesses trading internationally for full details.

Advice and guidance available locally

SEMLEP’s Growth Hub is offering businesses support, advice and guidance to help local businesses navigate the current situation. Their business advisers are available to talk to business owners and directors about the critical areas of their business affected by coronavirus.
To contact the team, please email [email protected] or call 0300 01234 35. More information on the support available for business can be found on the SEMLEP website.

Health and wellbeing

Coronavirus and the impact it has can cause stress and worry. Here are some resources that could be of help.

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