Many businesses and self-employed workers face a period of uncertainty and possible loss of income as a result of the coronavirus. The Government has announced a package of financial and other measures to help manage these impacts - including wage subsidies, business rates reliefs, statutory sick pay reliefs, small business grants and loans.

COVID-19 business grant payments

All businesses with a rateable value of less than £15,000 and who are already in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief, Rural Rate Relief or tapered relief will be eligible for a £10,000 Small Business Grant.

In addition, businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000, will be eligible for a £25,000 grant under the Government's Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant scheme to help mitigate loss of trade or other impacts of the virus.

Both schemes require businesses to have been registered for business rates on or before 11 March 2020.

Government guidance for both grant schemes

Government grants for businesses FAQs - 3 April 2020

Find and check your business rates valuation

Apply for grant payments

Fill in our simple online form.

Clock Completing this form takes around 10 minutes.

Paperclip To complete this form you will need your Business Rates Account billing number and bank details.

Apply for COVID-19 business grant payments

After you've applied

Council staff are working hard to process all submissions, undertake any checks required by Government and get payments out as soon as possible. BACS payments will commence on Friday 3rd April and will continue on a daily basis until all of the grants have been paid. We will contact you if we have any further questions about your application. We are experiencing an unprecedented number of enquiries about the grants and regrettably it is not possible to answer queries about the timing of individual payments.

Government advice

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

This scheme is being managed by HMRC.

The Government has announced a major new initiative to pay up to 80% of the wages of those employees that would otherwise have been laid off as a result of the virus, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, for at least three months. All UK employers are eligible for the scheme.

Employers will need to designate affected employees as 'furloughed workers' - placed on leave of absence - notify their employees of this change and submit information to HMRC about relevant employees earnings through an online portal. Government expect the online claim system will be available by the end of April 2020 and details of how to apply can be found here when available. HMRC

Employers must act in accord with existing employment law in seeking to change the status of their employees.

Statutory sick pay

The Government will reimburse Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for employers with fewer than 250 staff where employees who are unable to work because of the virus. This will cover up to two weeks SSP for each employee. The Government will be announcing further details on how to claim very shortly and we will update the website to include this information.

Employees affected by the coronavirus will be eligible for SSP from the first day of the illness; this will apply retrospectively from 13 March 2020. Support for those affected by COVID-19

Help for the self-employed

The Government has launched the Self-employment Income Support Scheme. This will enable self-employed individuals or members of partnerships to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of average trading profits, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. The grant will initially cover the period to June 2020.

To be eligible you must have traded in the 2019-20 tax year; have self-employed trading profits of less than £50,000 (which represent at least half of your taxable income); intend to continue to trade in the 2020/21 tax year; and have lost trading profits due to COVID-19. If you have not submitted your Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, you must do this by 23 April 2020 to be eligible for the grant.

HMRC will contact self-employed people who are eligible for the scheme. Claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme

If you are self-employed or work on a contract/freelance basis and are unable to work because of the virus you may be eligible to claim Employment and Support Allowance if you are ill; or Universal Credit if you need help with housing or other costs. The Government has suspended the Minimum Income Floor applying to Universal Credit during the coronavirus pandemic. Coronavirus and claiming benefits

HMRC has deferred Income Tax payments for self-employed people through the Self-Assessment system. Payments due in July 2020 will now be deferred until January 2021. See 'HMRC Time to Pay' for more information. Worried about debt and coronavirus?

The Arts Council is making £20m of grants available to individuals working in the cultural sector, including artists, creative practitioners and freelancers. Grants will be available of up to £2,500 for practitioners with a track record in publicly funded culture. Applicants will need to register by Friday 3 April. Financial support for artists, creative practitioners and freelancers

Help with business rates

All businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors will now receive 100% relief on their business rates for the 2020/21 financial year, through the expansion of the Business Rate Retail Discount. This covers businesses including shops, restaurants/cafes, gyms, museums, theatres, hotels and night clubs.

Nursery businesses who are providers on OFSTED's Early Years Register will also be eligible for 100% business rates relief in 2020/21.

The Council will identify businesses that are eligible for 100% relief and apply this to bills automatically. Businesses will not need to do anything to benefit from this scheme.

You can find the rateable value of your property on your business rates bill or via Valuation Office Agency

Loan finance

The Government announced a series of updates to Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) on the 3 April to help more small businesses access the scheme.

CBILS supports small and medium-sized businesses, with an annual turnover of up to £45m, to access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to six years.

All businesses affected by COVID-19 can now apply, not just those unable to secure regular commercial finance. The Government has also stopped lenders from requesting personal guarantees on loans under £250,000.

The scheme is being delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the Government-owned British Business Bank. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payment and any lender-levied fees, so businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.

There are 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks. You should talk to your bank or finance provider as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

The new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) was announced on 3rd April to bolster support for larger firms not eligible for loans under CBIL. The scheme will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million.

Loans backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest. Further details of the scheme will be announced later this month.

Further support for larger firms is available through the Bank of England's new Corporate Financing Facility, providing lending to help businesses raise working capital via the purchase of short-term debt, funded through central bank reserves. Joint HM Treasury and Bank of England Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF)

HMRC, tax and trading rules

HMRC will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months.

Businesses affected by COVID-19 will also be able to apply for a three month extension to file their accounts. Applying for more time to file your company's accounts

HMRC has set up a dedicated helpline for businesses and self-employed people in financial distress to help manage their tax affairs. HMRC may be able to offer a Time to Pay arrangement to businesses who need this support. The helpline can be contacted on 0800 015 9559.

The Business Secretary has announced that changes will be made to enable UK companies undergoing a rescue or restructuring process to continue trading, giving them breathing space that could help them avoid insolvency.

This will include enabling companies to continue buying much-needed supplies, such as energy, raw materials or broadband, while attempting a rescue, and temporarily suspending wrongful trading provisions retrospectively from 1 March 2020 for three months for company directors so they can keep their businesses going without the threat of personal liability.

Regulations temporarily suspended to fast-track supplies of PPE to NHS staff and protect companies hit by COVID-19

Commercial tenants and landlords

The council announced on 25 March that it will defer rents for all its commercial tenants for a period of three months.

Other commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. Measures included in the Coronavirus Bill mean that no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment within the next three months. Businesses will still be liable for the rent payment after this time.

The Government has published detailed guidance for landlords and tenants.

Business continuity and support

Having an effective business continuity plan in place is vital to ensure your business can manage changes in suppliers, customers and emergencies like the outbreak of the coronavirus.

You can find some helpful resources on: Business continuity.

The council works closely with the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Service which provides access to support, advice and funding for businesses at all stages, from start-ups to established businesses. Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP): Business Support

Government advice websites

Contact the council

Other advice

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