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Support and Advice for Businesses

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If you would like to chat though support available for businesses impacted by Covid-19 please get in touch with us using the following email address and one of the team will get back in touch within 24 hours. covid19@advancenorthumberland.co.uk

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Northumberland Business Hub

Northumberland Business Hub

Northumberland County Council has established a specialist team to support businesses and employers both during and after the current Coronavirus outbreak.

Find out more

Covid-19 Guidance

Employers and businesses guidance sheet

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The UK Government has produced guidance for employers about the signs and symptoms and how to treat staff presenting with symptoms. As well as information on the support available.

Click here to find out more: www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Business Support

Request for UK Industry support

The UK Government has issued a call to action to companies who have the capabilities to repurpose their staff and facilities to making ventilators to assist in treating patients affected Covid-19.

If your business is able to support this request - please call 0300 456 3565 or email ventilator.support@beis.gov.uk

Further background to the request can be found by clicking here.

North East Growth Hub COVID-19 Toolkit

To keep up to date with the latest updates and guidance visit the North East Growth Hub Covid-19 Toolkit please click here.

Support for UK exporters

Support for export, supply and UK Export Finance impacted by Covid-19 can be found by clicking here 

Time to Pay

A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress caused by Covid-19 and with outstanding tax liabilities to receive support with their tax affairs.
Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement.

For more information please call 0800 0159 559.

Statutory Sick Pay

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the UK Government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2bn to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.

Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

To support larger firms, the Bank of England has announced a new lending facility to provide a quick and cost effective way to raise working capital via the purchase of short-term debt. This will support companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, enabling them to continue financing their short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms. Further details, including on how to access this funding will follow in the coming days, and the scheme will be available from the week commencing 23 March.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses with a turnover of no more than £41m to apply for a loan. The value of this loan was increased by the Chancellor on 17 March from £1.2m to £5m.  Government will ensure businesses can access the first 12 months of that finance interest free, as Government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments.

For further information please click here to find out more visit: www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/supporting-business-loans-enterprise-finance-guarantee/

Small Business Grant Funding

Government is providing funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR). This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 (increased from the £3,000 announced in the 11 March Budget) to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs. Government is also providing £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000. The Council is awaiting further detailed information from the Government with regard to these one off grants for small businesses and will make further information available as soon as possible.

Business Rate Measures

Government has announced the intention to increase the Business Rates retail discount in England to 100% for the 2020 to 2021 tax year for properties below £51,000 rateable value. Government will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Businesses that are eligible for the increased retail discount will receive a new bill from the Council as soon as possible.  As this relief will mean that eligible businesses have no business rates to pay in 2020/21 the direct debit payments previously notified for 2020/21 will not be collected.

Income Tax

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.

Eligibility
If you are self-employed you are eligible.

How to access the scheme
This is an automatic offer with no applications required.
No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.
HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities.

Support for businesses through deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

The government will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

VAT
For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

Eligibility
All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access the scheme
This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

Eligibility
All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access the scheme
You will need to:

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
  • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

The Government will introduce a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Eligibility
You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

  • your business is based in England

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be hereditaments:

  • occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
  • wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage

How to access the scheme
There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.

You can estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year using the business rates calculator.

Further guidance for local authorities is available in the nursery discount guidance.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

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 and who have profits of less than £50,000. The scheme will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.

Eligibility

  • Be self-employed or a member of partnership;
  • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19;
  • File a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. Those who have not yet filed for 2018-19 will have an additional 4 weeks from this announcement to do so;
  • Have traded in 2019-20; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID 19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
  • Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
    • Your trading profits and total income in 2018/19
    • Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.

How do I access it?

Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational. HMRC will then pay the grant directly to eligible claimants’ bank account. HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid out by beginning of June 2020. For eligible individuals who have not submitted their returns for 2018-19, they will have 4 weeks’ notice from the date of the announcement to file their returns and therefore become eligible for this scheme.

HMRC are publishing guidance on the scheme, available here. This guidance will continue to be updated.

When can I access it?

HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid by the beginning of June 2020. This time is necessary to ensure that the scheme is both deliverable and fair. In the interim the self-employed will still able eligible for other government support including more generous universal credit and business continuity loans.

Further information on how to access these schemes can be found here.

Council tax: COVID-19 hardship fund 2020 to 2021 - guidance

As part of its response to COVID-19, the government announced in the Budget on 11 March that it would provide local authorities in England with £500 million of new grant funding to support economically vulnerable people and households in their local area.

For more information please click here.

Bounce Back Loan

The Bounce Back Loan scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.
The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.

Eligibility 

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • has been negatively affected by coronavirus

Who cannot apply

The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools

If you're already claiming funding

You cannot apply if you're already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

If you've already received a loan of up to £50,000 under CBILS and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4th November 2020.

How to apply

The full rules of the scheme and guidance on how to apply is available on the British Business Bank website. Click here.


Covid-19 Business Grants

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"So far Northumberland County Council have paid out over £59.5m in business grants funds to 5,310 businesses in Northumberland."

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