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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.

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 

 June

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: 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/steps-to-take-before-calculating-your-claim-using-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#deciding-the-length-of-your-claim-period 

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. 

The Growth Support Kickstart Grant Scheme for Business

On 3rd July the Government announced a package to provide further grants to businesses to help with economic recovery. Theses grants will be administered by the local Growth Hubs.

Growth hubs work across the country with local and national, public and private sector partners – such as Chambers of Commerce, FSB, universities, Enterprise Zones and banks, co-ordinating local business support and connecting businesses to the right help for their needs. They are locally driven, locally owned and at the heart of the government’s plan to ensure business support is simpler, more joined up and easier to access.

The Heart of the South West Growth Hub have now released further information regarding the grants that should be open for applications later this month.

The grant scheme is open to small and medium-sized enterprises based in the Heart of the South West LEP area of Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay.

Your business must meet the eligibility criteria for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Grant funding of between £1,000 and £3,000 will be available to eligible businesses. and will cover 100% of the costs. Activities supported by the grant can include:

  • Specialist professional advice such as HR,  accountancy, IT and digital- This means you can use the grant to work with us or either of our sister companies to help your business plan and move forwards.
  • The purchase of minor equipment to support your business to adapt or adopt new technology in order to continue to deliver business activity

Items not covered will be:

  • Support businesses with working capital;
  • Support businesses to fund the payment of wages;
  • Purchase of equipment and consumables associated with PPE and social distancing measures
  • Capital items
  • Activities which would contradict, duplicate or undermine HM Government domestic initiatives;

To find out more about the scheme, check your eligibility, and start preparing the information to make your application read the following carefully Growth Support Kickstart Scheme Information and Guidance ( 19 Aug update)

We are able to help you with the application when it opens so please get in touch.

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

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

Eligibility
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

Universal Credit
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

Discretionary Fund

Torridge District Council is now extending the discretionary grant scheme for local businesses and opening another round of funding. This scheme will open on 22.07.2020 and close at 4pm on 29.07.2020 and will  support the following types of businesses who operate out of Torridge and who have not benefited from any of the grants below* (also see who cannot apply section).

Please note North Devon Council is yet to follow on this so at present it is for Torridge businesses only.

ELIGIBILITY

You’re eligible if your business:

  • is based in England
  • has fixed building costs such as rent
  • was trading on 11 March 2020
  • has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus

The size of Companies that can apply in this round has been extended to those with 0 – 250 employees (previously only 0-50) providing they operate in the priority sectors.

PRIORITY SECTORS 

You can apply for a grant if you can demonstrate that you have incurred a loss to the business as a result of COVID19, have fixed costs and operate in one of the following sectors:

  • Manufacturing
  • Businesses who operate in, or whose main or sole customer base is those in retail, hospitality or leisure (this includes businesses such as hair and beauty industry and those working in the fitness industry that have not been able to trade).
  • Taxi drivers (self employed and who have not been able to trade).
  • Construction businesses who are registered for VAT (construction businesses can include those which provide the following services):
  • preparing the site, e.g. laying foundations and providing access works
  • demolition and dismantling
  • building work
  • alterations, repairs and decorating
  • installing systems for heating, lighting, power, water and ventilation
  • cleaning the inside of buildings after construction work
EXCEPTIONS
  • architecture and surveying
  • scaffolding hire (with no labour)
  • carpet fitting
  • making materials used in construction including plant and machinery
  • delivering materials
  • work on construction sites that’s clearly not construction, eg running a canteen or site facilities
WHO CANNOT APPLY?

You cannot apply if your business:

  • pays business rates and has a rateable value under £51k
  • is in administration, insolvent or has received a striking-off notice

If you’re already claiming funding – *You cannot apply if you’re already claiming under another government grant scheme, such as:

  • Small Business Grant Fund
  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
  • Fisheries Response Fund
  • Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme
  • Zoos Support Fund
  • Dairy Hardship Fund

You’re still eligible if you’ve applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

HOW CAN I APPLY

Please click here Discretionary Grant Application Page to start your online Application Form, we would recommend you read the Applicant Guidance notes in the text on the page you will find by clicking the Check Details Here button below in full first before completing the application as it list what you will need to hand.

The Discretionary Fund is to help businesses severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic has been released. Grants will range from £1,000 to £25,000 dependant on business size, fixed costs and need.

This grant is being managed by local authorities and each one has had some discretion in how to distribute this money.

We have been working closely with Torridge District Council and North Devon Council who have been developing an application process to help as many businesses as possible.

The same grant and criteria will be made available across Devon and similar grants nationwide.  Local priorities may vary so please check with your local authority for details of your local area.

To be eligible for a grant, businesses must not have successfully claimed or be eligible for either The Small Business Grant (£10,000) or the Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant (£25,000) paid by councils earlier this year.

Types of businesses that may be able to claim;

  1. Businesses in shared premises
  2. Bed and breakfasts and guesthouses
  3. Market traders
  4. Charitable organisations
  5. Businesses that did not previously qualify for a grant providing they fit one of the local priorities (see below). These would include those with rateable value above £51,000

Local Priority Sectors

  1. Manufacturing
  2. Food and Drink
  3. Creative industries including Digital
  4. Businesses who operate in the tourism, retail or hospitality sector or whose main or sole income is derived from that sector.

If you think your business is eligible you can apply for a grant by using the appropriate link below and answer the questions and supply the information requested (please make sure you read the guidance and have everything to hand when making this application). If you require any assistance with this grant please do not hesitate to contact us.

Torridge District Council:  https://www.torridge.gov.uk/DiscretionaryBusinessGrant

North Devon District Council: This scheme is now closed – this page will be updated with any further information as it is released.

Cornwall County Council:  https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/smallbusinessgrant

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.

Limited Companies

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.

Full details can be found at:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#individuals-you-can-claim-for-who-are-not-employees

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%.

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:

https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference

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.

Discretionary Fund

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:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

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.

Give us a call or email!

Telephone 01237 472071

Email:  [email protected]

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