Coronavirus

Coronavirus: Help for businesses and self-employed

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. This website will be updated frequently as the situation evolves.

Use the Government online tool to search for financial support for your business

COVID-19 business grants

The Government has made limited additional funding available to allow the Council to further support small businesses affected by COVID-19. This money is in addition to the Small Business Grants Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund.

The Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund were launched in March 2020 and further information and an online application form for eligible businesses is available below. The new Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund has been launched to help small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs that are not eligible for the other grant schemes.

Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund for small businesses

The discretionary grant fund will help small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs that are not eligible for the other grant schemes. On 13th May the Government published guidance about the scheme for local authorities - Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund for small business

Government has prioritised the following types of businesses for this fund:

  • small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces which do not have their own business rates assessment
  • regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment
  • bed and breakfasts which pay council tax instead of business rates
  • charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief

Eligible businesses must:

  • have ongoing fixed property-related costs
  • be able to demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the Covid-19 crisis
  • have fewer than 50 employees
  • have been trading on or before 11 March 2020

Businesses who have applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will also be eligible to apply for this scheme, but those who have already received support from the Small Business Grant Fund; Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant; Self-employed Income Support Scheme or others identified in the guidance will be ineligible for this grant.

Kirklees Council is administering this grant fund for Kirklees businesses and is now developing the required online application process and local eligibility criteria, with an aim to begin making payments as quickly as possible in June. Further information about eligibility criteria for this scheme in Kirklees and how to apply will be available on this page shortly.

Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants

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 over £15,000 and less than £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

Find and check your business rates valuation

Apply for grant payments

The council has written to businesses that are in scope to receive a grant. To apply please 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

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.

The business rates team is working tirelessly to process the payment of over 8000 grants as quickly as possible, using the guidance provided from the Government about eligibility and the checks that are needed to make sure payments are correctly made. We are aware of how urgent this is for businesses across Kirklees and extra staff have been moved to this team to make sure you receive your payment as soon as possible.

Please note that payment will be based on the information already held about your business on the Council's systems. Payments to businesses not registered for business rates by the date set by the Government of 11 March 2020 may be delayed whilst further verification takes place.

After the Council has processed your application and carried out any necessary checks, it then takes three working days for the BACS payment to reach your account. We know that the wait is very difficult but the team is working as quickly as they can. Thank you for your patience.

Update - 24th April

We are continuing to process grant payments as quickly as we can. If you have submitted your application and are still waiting for your grant it may mean that we need some further information from you in order to process your payment. Where this is the case, the business rates team will be contacting you by phone to make sure you receive payment as quickly as possible.

Government advice and support for businesses

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

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

This scheme is being managed by HMRC. It will 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 until the end of October 2020. Employer National Insurance contributions and some employer pension contributions are also eligible. Claims can be backdated to 1 March 2020.

All UK employers, including charities and recruitment agencies who pay agency workers through PAYE are eligible for the scheme. Employers are unable to carry out any work for the organisation once furloughed but may be able to undertake training or voluntary activities.

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. You will need to provide your ePAYE reference, bank details and company registration number. Employers must act in accord with existing employment law in seeking to change the status of their employees.

HMRC's online portal is now open for applications: Claim wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Important update

The government issued updated guidance on the CJRS on 15th April 2020. Employers can now claim for employees who were employed on or before 19 March (previously it was 28 February). Please refer to Government guidance for details of how this change might affect you and your business.

The Government announced on 12th May that the CJRS will be extended to the end of October 2020. From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.

The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month. More specific details and information around the implementation of the scheme changes in August will be made available by the end of May.

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 Self-Employment Income Support Scheme 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 but may be extended.

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 and invite you to apply online. Check if you are eligible: 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

Worried about debt and coronavirus?

Loan finance

Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)

The BBLS is being delivered through a network of accredited lenders and will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow up to 25% of 2019 turnover on a term loan from a minimum of £2,000 up to a maximum of £50,000.

Loans are available for a term of up to 6 years. The Government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won't be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months and no repayments will be due during the first 12 months. Interest will be applied after the initial 12 months at a fixed rate of 2.5% for the remaining period of the loan.

You can apply for a loan if your business is based in the UK, has been negatively affected by coronavirus and was not an 'undertaking in difficulty' on 31 December 2019. The scheme is open to sole traders, partnerships, limited companies, LLPs and charities established before 1 March 2020.

Businesses can apply online now through a short and simple form enabling them to access cash within a few days.

GOV UK: Apply for a coronavirus bounce back loan

Please note:

You cannot apply if you're already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). However, 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 4 November 2020.

CBILS

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)

CLBILS

The Government has extended the maximum loan size available through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £50 million to £200 million.

Loans under the expanded scheme will be made available to large businesses affected by coronavirus from the 26th May with full details being made available on that date.

The CLBILS scheme will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £200 million to firms with an annual turnover above £45 million. Loans backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at a commercial rate of interest.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)

Corporate Financing Facility

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)

The Future Fund

On 20th April the Government has announced a further fund to support companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Future Fund will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.

These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The scheme will be delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank.

Businesses may be eligible if they are based in the UK, can attract the equivalent match funding from third party private investors and institutions, and have previously raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third party investors in the last 5 years. Full eligibility criteria will be published in due course with the scheme expected to launch in May 2020.

Further details including the headline terms setting out the main features expected to apply to loans can be found at: GOV UK: Future Fund

Support for young entrepreneurs

The Prince's Trust and NatWest have launched a £5m grant fund to help young entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 30 to keep their businesses afloat during the coronavirus crisis.

Grants can be used to maintain core business operations during the crisis, as well as meet existing financial commitments including paying for essential equipment or settling invoices from suppliers. The initiative will also offer one-to-one support and guidance to applicants who need it.

To be eligible, businesses must have started up in the last four years and be run by someone aged 18 to 30. Young people who are in the process of starting a business and don't have any other source of income during the crisis are also eligible to apply.

The Prince's Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund

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 deferred Income Tax Payments, including for self-employed people through the Self-Assessment system. Payments due in July 2020 will now be deferred until January 2021.

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.

Insurance

Most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics or unspecified notifiable diseases like COVID-19, although businesses with a policy that covers government-ordered closure in these circumstances may be able to make a claim. GOV UK: Commercial Insurance

Business continuity

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.

Social distancing in the workplace

Social distancing is something we can all do to reduce interaction between people and therefore reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

Businesses are requested where possible to ask their employees to work from home and follow the social distancing guidance detailed on the Government website.

Government social distancing guidance

However, there are many businesses in Kirklees for which working from home is not possible and the Government has produced guidance, in consultation with industry, to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. Several trade associations and similar organisations have also published useful social-distancing advice on their websites.

Government guidance for COVID-19 safety in different workplaces

Employers should ensure that all employees in the work place are able to follow the Government and Public Health England social distancing guidance. This includes, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others and reminding employees to regularly wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).

General guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus

Specific guidelines have been created to help businesses clean their premises if Coronavirus contamination is suspected.

Guidance for cleaning in non-healthcare settings

Some tips for maintaining social distancing in your workplace:

  • Create social distancing zones with clearly labelled signage and 2 metre markers that limit the number of people in areas such as kitchens, shop floors and other communal work spaces.
  • Display Government posters to remind employees about the importance of social distancing at all times.
  • Limit the number of people who are entering the business premises to enable people to stay 2 metres apart.
  • Stagger shift start times and break times to ease congestion.
  • Provide hand sanitiser and cleaning equipment for all work stations.
  • Ensure the increased and thorough cleaning of all shared equipment.
Government advice websites

Business advice on lockdown and social distancing enforcement

Premises which need to close, premises which can remain open and advice on social distancing in workplaces.

Contact the council

More information

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