Support for Businesses
On this page you will find the links to the relevant government information being issued on various support schemes to help businesses through Coronavirus. We are here to help if you have questions about the information below.
Business support grants for those affected by lockdown 2.0 available from local council authorities
New funding for businesses affected by this second lockdown is now available via local council authorities and you should check whether you are eligible as each business needs to make an application. Different businesses will be eligible for each one.
Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG)
This grant is available to businesses with a rateable value which have been forced to close for lockdown 2.0 from 5 November to 2 December 2020.
Eligible businesses will receive:
- Businesses occupying properties with a rateable value of £15,000, the grant payment will be £1,334 per 28-day qualifying restriction period
- Businesses occupying properties with a rateable value of between £15,001 – £50,999, the grant payment will be £2,000 per 28-day qualifying restriction period
- Businesses occupying properties with a rateable value of £51,000 the grant payment will be £3,000 per 28-day qualifying restriction period
You should check your local authority’s website to apply
For North Devon District Council you can find more details and apply here.
For Torridge District Council you can find more details and apply here
For Cornwall County Council you can find more details and apply here
Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)
This grant is available to:
- Businesses which – while not legally forced to close – are severely impacted by the restrictions put in place to control the spread of Covid-19.
- Businesses outside the business rates system, which are forced to close.
- Larger local businesses which are important to the local economy, that feel they would benefit from additional grant money on top of the funding provided to those businesses via the LRSG scheme (State Aid rules apply).
- Businesses that have already received grant payments that equal the maximum levels of State aid permitted under the de minimis and the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework. For the avoidance of doubt, businesses that are in administration, insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made, are not eligible for funding under this scheme.
- Businesses that are able to continue to trade as normal because they do not depend on providing direct in-person services from premises and can operate their services effectively remotely.
- Businesses who were not open as usual and providing in-person services to customers up to 4th November 2020 and who did not intend to continue trading after 4th November 2020
Businesses that have chosen to close but not been required to will not be eligible for either grant.
Please note there may be additional local exclusions imposed by each local authority so please check carefully on their own website.
Locally in Torridge and North Devon some but not all of the exclusions include:
- Businesses in the accommodation sector that advertise solely on Air BnB
- Business in the accommodation sector that are second homes that are also let to paying guests
- Bed and Breakfast business with more than 6 letting rooms
- Businesses who do not trade all year round
Each council has their own deadlines for applications so check your eligibility now so you don’t miss the window. e.g Cornwall is 30th November and NDDC and TDC 2nd December.
For North Devon District Council you can find more information and apply here
For Torridge District Council you can find more information and apply here
For Cornwall County Council you can find more information and apply here
Further Economic Support for second lockdown including extension to Furlough Scheme
Following the announcement by Boris Johnson on 31 October that England faces the second lockdown from Thursday 5th November there have been new economic measures announced including a further extension to the Job Retention Scheme to 31 March 2021.
Job Retention Scheme
Update to the Winter Economy Plan - 22 October 2020
In recognition of the challenging times ahead, the Chancellor said he would be increasing support through the existing Job Support and self-employed schemes, and expanding business grants to support companies in high-alert level areas
- open businesses which are experiencing considerable difficulty will be given extra help to keep staff on as government significantly increases contribution to wage costs under the Job Support Scheme, and business contributions drop to 5%
- business grants are expanded to cover businesses in particularly affected sectors in high-alert level areas, helping them stay afloat and protecting jobs
- grants for the self-employed doubled to 40% of previous earnings
Job Support Scheme (JSS)
Recognising the pressure businesses in some sectors and areas are facing, today’s announcement lightens the burden of keeping on staff.
When originally announced, the JSS – which will come into effect on 1 November – saw employers paying a third of their employees’ wages for hours not worked, and required employers to be working 33% of their normal hours.
Today’s announcement reduces the employer contribution to those unworked hours to just 5%, and reduces the minimum hours requirements to 20%, so those working just one day a week will be eligible. That means that if someone was being paid £587 for their unworked hours, the government would be contributing £543 and their employer only £44.
Employers will continue to receive the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus. The Job Support Scheme Closed for businesses legally required to close remains unchanged.
Today’s announcement increases the amount of profits covered by the two forthcoming self-employed grants from 20 per cent to 40 per cent, meaning the maximum grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750.
This is a potential further £3.1 billion of support to the self-employed through November to January alone, with a further grant to follow covering February to April.
The Chancellor has also announced approved additional funding to support cash grants of up to £2,100 per month primarily for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector who may be adversely impacted by the restrictions in high-alert level areas. These grants will be available retrospectively for areas who have already been subject to restrictions, and come on top of higher levels of additional business support for Local Authorities moving into Tier 3 which, if scaled up across the country, would be worth more than £1 billion.
These grants could benefit around 150,000 businesses in England, including hotels, restaurants, B&Bs and many more who aren’t legally required to close but have been adversely affected by local restrictions nonetheless.
Tax and loan deferments
Further to deferrals already in place HMRC will be offering a longer period to pay VAT deferred to March 2021 allowing payments over 11 months. Self employed tax deferred from July 2020 and liabilities that would normally fall due in January 2021 can be deferred using a self service “time to pay” service to defer payment until January 2022.
The reduced Vat rate of 5% is to be extended to the end of March 2021.
Both Bounce Back loans and CBILS borrowing will have the option to extend the repayments from 6 to 10 years with options for payment holidays which will drastically reduce the repayments required.
The deadline for making a loan application has now been extended to 30 November from the 4th.
Job Support Scheme – Open
- The JSS starts to operate from 1 November and covers all Nations of the UK. For every hour not worked, the employee will be paid up to two-thirds of their usual salary.
- The government will provide up to 61.67% of wages for hours not worked, up to £1541.75 per month (more than doubling the maximum payment of £697.92 under the previous rules). The cap is set above median earnings for employees in August at a reference salary of £3,125 per month.
- Example: a typical full-time employee in the hospitality industry is paid an average of £1,100 per month. Under the Jobs Support Scheme for open businesses, they will still take home at least £807 a month. All the employer needs to pay is a total of £283 a month or just £70 a week; the government will pay the rest.
- Employers using the scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus (JRB) for each employee that meets the eligibility criteria of the JRB. This is worth £1,000 per employee. Taking JSS-Open and JRB together, an employer could receive over 95% of the total wage costs of their employees if they are retained until February.
- For more information see the .
- The government will provide two taxable SEISS grants to support those experiencing reduced demand due to COVID-19 but are continuing to trade, or temporarily cannot trade.
- It will be available to anyone who was previously eligible for the SEISS grant one and grant two, and meets the eligibility criteria.
- Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering 3 months. The first grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November 2020 until the end of January 2021. The government will pay a taxable grant which is calculated based on 40% of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £3,750.
- The second grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February until the end of April 2021. The government will review the level of the second grant and set this in due course.
- For more information, see the HMRC website
- We are providing additional funding to allow Local Authorities (LAs) to support businesses in high-alert level areas which are not legally closed, but which are severely impacted by the restrictions on socialising. The funding LAs will receive will be based on the number of hospitality, hotel, B&B, and leisure businesses in their area.
- LAs will receive a funding amount that will be the equivalent of:
- For properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under, grants of £934 per month.
- For properties with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000, grants of £1,400 per month.
- For properties with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 and over, grants of £2,100 per month.
- This is equivalent to 70% of the grant amounts given to legally closed businesses (worth up to £3,000/month).
- Local Authorities will also receive a 5% top up amount to these implied grant amounts to cover other businesses that might be affected by the local restrictions, but which do not neatly fit into these categories.
- It will be up to Local Authorities to determine which businesses are eligible for grant funding in their local areas, and what precise funding to allocate to each business – the above levels are an approximate guide.
- Businesses in Very High alert level areas will qualify for greater support whether closed (up to £3,000/month) or open. In the latter case support is being provided through business support packages provided to Local Authorities as they move into the alert level. The government is working with local leaders to ensure the Alert Level very high packages are fair and transparent.
- For more information see the .
Original Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The government have now also announced not only an extension to the furlough scheme but also changes giving more flexibility to employers who are bringing back employees as they begin to open their business.
Changes to the Job Retention Scheme from 1st July 2020
31 July is the last day that you can submit claims for periods ending on or before 30 June so make sure you have made all claims by that date.
Separate claims will need to be submitted to cover the days in June and the days in July that you want to claim for, even if employees are furloughed continuously. This may mean that your claim periods will differ from the pay periods you use.
From 1st July
From 1 July, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for the hours not worked.
If you flexibly furlough employees, you’ll need to agree this with the employee and keep a new written agreement that confirms the new furlough arrangement. You’ll need to:
- make sure that the agreement is consistent with employment, equality and discrimination laws
- keep a written record of the agreement for five years
- keep records of how many hours your employees work and then number of hours they are furloughed (i.e. not working).
Employees can enter into a flexible furlough agreement more than once but where a previously furloughed employee starts a new furlough period before 1 July this furlough period must be for a minimum of 3 consecutive weeks. This is the case regardless of whether the 3 consecutive week minimum period ends before or after 1 July.
You will still be able to claim the 80% furlough grant for the hours your flexibly furloughed employees do not work, compared to the hours they would normally have worked in that period. You will pay for the hours they have worked.
From this date, only employees that you have successfully claimed a previous grant for will be eligible for more grants under the scheme. This means they must have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks taking place any time between 1 March and 30 June 2020. For the minimum 3 consecutive week period to be completed by 30 June, the last day an employee could have started furlough for the first time was 10 June.
The number of you claim for in any single claim period starting from 1 July cannot exceed the maximum number of employees you claimed for under any claim ending by 30 June.
Details on how to claim
The first time you will be able to make claims for days in July will be 1 July, you cannot claim for periods in July before this point.
Claim periods starting on or after 1 July must start and end within the same calendar month and must last at least 7 days unless you’re claiming for the first few days or the last few days in a month. You can only claim for a period of fewer than 7 days if the period you are claiming for includes either the first or last day of the calendar month, and you have already claimed for the period ending immediately before it.
You should match your claim period to the dates you process your payroll, if you can. You can only make one claim for any period so you must include all your furloughed or flexibly furloughed employees in one claim even if you pay them at different times. If you make more than one claim, your subsequent claim cannot overlap with any other claim that you make. Where employees have been furloughed or flexibly furloughed continuously (or both), the claim periods must follow on from each other with no gaps in between the dates.
You should not claim until you are sure of the exact number of hours your employees have worked during the claim period. If you claim in advance and your employee works for more hours, then you will have to pay some of the grant back to HMRC.
Full details with examples can be found here:
From 1 August 2020
From 1 August 2020, the level of grant will be reduced each month.
For August, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 for the hours an employee is on furlough and employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions for the hours the employee is on furlough.
Wage caps are proportional to the hours an employee is furloughed. For example, an employee is entitled to 60% of the £2,500 cap if they are placed on furlough for 60% of their usual hours:
- For September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, for time they are furloughed.
- For October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, for time they are furloughed.
Employers will continue to able to choose to top up employee wages above the 80% total and £2,500 cap for the hours not worked at their own expense if they wish. Employers will have to pay their employees for the hours worked.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will close on 31 October 2020.
Full details on the Job Retention Scheme can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
Bank Holidays and Annual Leave
Guidance on how holiday and bank holidays are dealt with in the Furlough Grant . Here is a step by step guide for employers: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/880099/Coronavirus_Job_Retention_Scheme_step_by_step_guide_for_employers.pdf
If a furloughed employee takes holiday, the employer should pay their usual holiday pay in accordance with the Working Time Regulations.
Employers will be obliged to pay additional amounts over the grant, though will have the flexibility to restrict when leave can be taken if there is a business need. This applies for both the furlough period and the recovery period.
If an employee usually works bank holidays then the employer can agree that this is included in the grant payment. If the employee usually takes the bank holiday as leave then the employer would either have to top up their usual holiday pay, or give the employee a day of holiday in lieu.
Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
This scheme is due to launch online on 26 May and will enable employers with fewer than 250 employees to claim coronavirus related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks of the applicable rate of SSP for employees who:
- have coronavirus (Covid-19) symptoms
- cannot work because they are self-isolating because a member of their household has symptoms
- are sheilding.
Full details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19
Free Business Advisory Consultations
Now more than ever, businesses need sound professional advice to ensure they are optimally financed and structured to take advantage of government’s support programmes, and to emerge from the current challenges able to thrive and grow in the future.
As a member of the ICAEW Business advisory support scheme we can offer up to 1 hour free advice to small and medium sized businesses click here for more details
Self Employed Income Support Scheme- stage 1 & 2
The scheme is now closed to new claims for the first grant.
The scheme has now been extended and if you were eligible for the first grant and can confirm the HMRC that business has been adversely affected by Covid-19 on or after 14 July 2020, you will be able to make a second and final grant claim from Monday 17 August 2020.
You can make a claim for the second and final grant if you’re eligible, even if you did not claim for the first grant.
The online portal to make your claim opens on Monday 17 August 2020 and HMRC will contact you if you are eligible.
For full details, go to: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme
You can claim if you are a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership adversely affected by coronavirus on or after 14 July 2020 and you:
- Have submitted your self-assessment tax return for the tax year 2018/19;
- Traded in the tax year 2019/20;
- Are trading when you apply, or would be except for coronavirus;
- Intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020/21;
- Have lost trading profits due to coronavirus;
Your trading profits must also be:
- Less than £50,000 AND more than half of your total income for EITHER the tax year 2018/19 OR the average of the tax years 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19.
It is our understanding that total income will be taken directly from your tax returns that have already been submitted.
What Is Trading Profit?
- HMRC guidance indicates that, broadly, trading profits will be your business income less allowable business expenditure, less capital allowances.
- Deductions such as pensions or Gift Aid will be ignored.
- This is likely to correspond with boxes on the self-assessment return and these figures will be directly lifted by HMRC for your claim.
Check Your Eligibility Now
You can now check your eligibility online with HMRC https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme, you will need your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR – a 10-digit number which can be found on any correspondence you have received from HMRC) and your National Insurance (NI) number to do this. We would recommend that you do this. HMRC will then tell you when you will be able to make a claim.
How Much Will You Receive?
- The average of your trading profits over the three years 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19. The second and final grant is worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits, paid in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profit and capped at £6,570 in total.
- Where losses have been experienced during this time they will be treated as negative figures.
- For farmers, the figures will be taken prior to any averaging computations.
- Where one of the years is a short period, e.g. in an opening year, there will be no pro rata’ing during the short period.
Other Things To Think About
- Where you have two trades, HMRC will simply add these together.
- The figures will be based on figures from continuous periods of self-employment, so where there has been a gap the three-year average will not be applied.
- Any amendments to your 2019 tax return carried out after 26 March 2020 will be disregarded by HMRC.
- You can continue to work throughout the period and still make a claim.
How Do You Get Your Money?
- Your 2018/19 tax returns must have been submitted prior to Thursday 23 April.
- HMRC will calculate the grant using the figures on your tax return.
- You will not be asked to calculate the claim or provide figures to them.
- The grant is taxable and Class 4 NIC’s apply.
- The grant will have to be reported on your 2020/21 tax return.
- HMRC are opening the claim portal on 13 May 2020 and aim to pay you within 6 working days of a successful claim.
Please note what you will need to make the claim:
- Self Assessment UTR
- National Insurance Number
- Government Gateway User ID and Password
- Bank account number and sort code
Things To Do Now
Be aware of scams. You should be certain that before providing any bank details that the correspondence you have received is legitimate and from HMRC. If you are in any doubt, please do not respond and contact us immediately.
Please be aware that when you are completing the online registration you will be asked to tick a box to say that you have continued to trade through 2019/20 and intend to continue to do so and that you have lost trading profits due to coronavirus.
Other Help Available
Whilst you are waiting for this grant to be paid you may be eligible for Universal Credit and we would encourage you to explore this: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit. Please be aware that the receipt of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will need to be declared as income for Universal Credit purposes, however, this will only be in the month of receipt. This may mean that you are entitled to Universal Credit in the months leading up to the payment of the grant.
Working Tax Credits
If you are already in receipt of Working Tax Credits we would encourage you to finalise your 2019/20 claim as soon as possible, allowing you to provide cautious expected income for 2020/21 taking into account the effect on your business of coronavirus.
Please Note: if you are in receipt of Working Tax Credits please think carefully before applying for Universal Credit as once you have done so you cannot go back to the Working Tax Credit system.
We will keep you informed of any other information as we receive it. If you would like our help please contact us by emailing [email protected].
Here is a link to the full guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme
Business Rate Relief Grants
These were one of the first initiatives rolled out.
The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant means that businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of up to £15,000 get a grant of £10,000 whilst those with property valuations between £15,000 and £51,000 will be eligible for a grant of £25,000.
The Small Business Grant Fund means that any business eligible for small business rate relief or the rural rate relief scheme is eligible for a grant of £10,000.
Anyone eligible for a grant such as this was contacted by their local council and asked to provide payment details for it to be paid directly into bank accounts with no application process necessary.
If you think your business fits into either of these schemes and you haven’t received your grant, please contact us for help.
One disappointing aspect of the support so far is that there has been little support aimed at directors of limited companies.
Whilst directors are able to place themselves on furlough if they are on the PAYE scheme for the business, this then means that they are limited to only carrying out statutory duties for the firm and unable to generate work.
Income provided by dividends or other payments from the company are not eligible for support.
Bounce Back Loans
The Bounceback Loan Scheme (BBLS) has been set up to allow smaller business to access funds more quickly during the Conronavirus pandemic.The scheme helps small and medium businesses borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover up to £50,000. The scheme is 100% guaranteed by the government and there will be no fees or interest for twelve months. After twelve months the interest rate will be 2.5%.
The application window has now been extended to 31 January 2021.
For full details and how to apply go to: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan
Coronavirus Business Interuption Loan Scheme
For businesses needing to borrow more than £50,000 applications can be made under CBILS https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme. These loans are more process heavy than the bounce back loans.
Support for Farmers
Self-Employed Income Support Scheme
We are regularly being asked whether farmers can apply for this scheme and the simple answer is yes. Providing you trade as a sole trader or as part of a partnership each person is entitled to make their own claim providing that your farm business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.
Adversely affected could include;
- a reduction to your milk price
- a reduction in the finished price of cattle
- an inability to sell your products
- delays in receiving feeds and other essentials and a rising price of consumables
- or any other financial impact
The scheme currently allows you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits and capped at £7500 in total.
To be eligible your average annual profit per person must be less than £50,000 and must represent more than half of your total income in a year.
If you’re eligible and want to claim the first grant you must make your claim on or before 13th July 2020.
To make your claim please follow this link:
This scheme is now being extended and you will be able to make a claim for a 2nd and final grant in August 2020. The online service for this second stage is not available yet.
If you’re eligible the 2nd and final grant will be a taxable grant worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits paid out and in a single instalment covering a further three months’ worth of profit and capped at £6570 pounds in total.
We will keep you informed when we know the portal is open for the second grant.
This grant is available from 1st of June 2020 and is open to bed and breakfasts
We sent you an email on the 1st of June outlining the discretionary funds released by local councils to assist certain businesses which include bed and breakfasts. Providing you did not receive a grant under the small business grants from the local cancel earlier this year you are eligible to make a claim and receive a grant for your bed and breakfast.
You will find details on eligibility for the grant and links to the local authority websites where you can apply on the Discretionary Funds tab above.
Dairy Response Fund 2020
This fund gives access to grants up to £10,000 per business to help overcome the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak.
To be eligible for the scheme dairy farmers must have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May due to coronavirus disruptions. The grant will be capped at 70% of the lost income during the two months and is designed to ensure dairy farmers can continue to operate and sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.
Full details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dairy-response-fund-2020
Other Support Available for Businesses
The government has now passed legislation to start helping businesses through this difficult time. The information above is a summary on most of hte guidance available at present. We predict that the support and advice available is going to change very quickly on this issue and would suggest you review the guidance directly from the offical government website as to what specific assistance applies to you and your business:
This will be updated by the government regularly as support develops and increases, so is the best source of information for you to begin with.
Due to the current uncertainty and regular announcements we are experiencing an extremely high volume of queries. Please bear with us, we will get in touch with everyone but it may take us a bit longer than normal. We are working on this as a team and you may speak to any one of our senior accountants rather than your normal accountant depending on the query and the volume of questions on any given day.
We are working very hard to support you through these difficult times and will keep in touch.