Please share this Important Advice for business owners during the Coronavirus . This information is primarily for our Colne BID (Business Improvement District ) businesses but is also relevant to any SME business.
At Tuesday’s (March 17 ) Government Press Conference, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the following further support for businesses as part of the ongoing response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and in recognition of the devastating impact it is having on businesses:
In summary, here is a list of the main financial support as it stands:
STATUTORY SICK PAY
Statutory Sick Pay (“SSP”) is usually paid to staff from the 4th day off. If a staff member is self-isolating, or has the coronavirus, they are entitled to SSP from the 1st day off.
If you’re a small business, ie with less than 250 employees, the Government will reimburse you for up to 2 weeks at £94.25 per week for each employee who is off.
BUSINESS RATE RELIEF for retail, leisure and hospitality:
A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England – Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will pay no business rates in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. This will apply to your next bill in April 2020. If your business is eligible, the discount will automatically be applied. You don’t need to contact us to request it. There is no rateable value limit which means every qualifying business in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector will be supported no matter what size you are.
Pendle Borough Council are currently identifying which businesses are eligible and will send out updated bills which will clearly show that you will not pay business rates for 2020/21.
£25,000 Grant to businesses between £15k -£51k
A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
£10,000 SMALL BUSINESS GRANT
Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief – (Small Business Rate Relief businesses with a Rateable value less than £15,000). Details are still vague but we understand the funding package will be issued to local councils possibly around April. Colne BID is in correspondence with Pendle Borough Council to find out when this money will be paid to them and transferred to all the businesses who will benefit. As we understand it – you don’t apply for it , if you are on their ‘SBRR system’ a payment will be made to your account. This is not confirmed yet and the detail may change. Colne BID will keep you all updated as soon as we know..
CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance – this will launch next week to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims). The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.
What does this mean? It means that businesses that might not be accepted for a loan under normal circumstances should now be able to get a loan. However, it will be a loan – not free cash.
Again, we’re waiting to hear specific details on when and how to claim – we’ll keep you updated.
DELAYS TO PAYING YOUR TAXES
The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme – All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO?
Sadly this is going to have financial consequences for many businesses but it should be temporary (but we really don’t know how long).
Colne BID is looking at ways we can help our BID businesses over the coming weeks. Colne BID board met on Tuesday 17th March to discuss this. We also raised the issue that Colne BID’s Year 2 BID levy bills are due to go out on 1st April and the BID Board agreed to postpone the bills for the time being and will review it on a monthly basis. This means Colne BID is also now in a precarious funding situation with no further income guaranteed at these unprecedented times. Once this is all over Colne BID will be needed more than every to get Colne back on its feet. WE are all in this together.
If your business is now closed consider the following:
- Test your alarm, ensure it is monitored and fully operational
- Identify any vulnerable areas. Rectify these. Ensure security gates, bollards and fire exit doors have been secured prior to closure of the premises.
- Ensure service doors are closed and locked when not in use.
- Make sure you have list of key holders who can be contacted in times of emergency. Ensure your contact details for staff are up to date.
- Consider moving high value items into secured stockrooms and out of view.
- Ensure keys to the premises or other venues are not left inside and are instead with dedicated key holders.
- Consider timer switches or ensure sufficient lighting is left on at the premises/surrounding area.
- Ensure there are no combustible materials left in the proximity of the building such as packaging – consider the risk of arson.
- Review your CCTV to confirm it is operational, provides good quality images and is positioned to cover as much of the stores public and private areas. You may wish to consider a mobile phone app that allows connectivity and a vocal capacity to engage with any intruder.
- Ensure that no cash is retained on the premises overnight (leave a note on the door stating that no cash or valuables are kept overnight)
Other Things to Consider:
Look at your costs and cashflow – What can you reduce?
Can you get a rent-free period?
Do you need all those monthly subscriptions?
Can you get a repayment holiday on any loans? The banks are being nudged to do this by the Government
Can you reduce your employment costs? These need proper HR advice for bigger businesses but, as a starter, you might ask staff to take holidays now. If things get worse, you may need to look at lay-offs, reduced hours or redundancies.
Cancel your DDs with HMRC – if you pay VAT by Direct Debit, it’s worth cancelling for the moment. Once you’ve paid, it’s hard to get the cash back. Cancelling the DD gives you a chance to ask for a Time To Pay arrangement.
Check Your Business Insurance
Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.
Does your Business Interruption insurance cover a closure if the Government orders venues to close? On 5 March 2020, a statutory instrument was made into law that adds COVID-19 to the list of notifiable diseases which might help you for insurance cover. With regard to Insurance, the government have confirmed that businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim.
Do you have cover for loss of income?
Can you offer a home delivery service or online service to help those self isolating?
Use your social media to communicate with your customers of products and services you can offer and how you can help them. Think Creatively….
If you have any other suggestions please let us know so we can help each other through this incredibly difficult time.
Stay safe and look after each other with the amazing Community Spirit that Colne has.
We are here to support you during this extremely difficult and unprecedented time.
Please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We recommend the following websites for further guidance: