Keep up-to-date with all of the necessary information and guidance for employers to help your business through the coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus and business

The UK Government has provided guidance for businesses in England on how to operate while protecting staff and customers. The guidance is separated into sectors providing the up-to-date advice for different circumstances:

National Minimum/Living Wage

Although not related to the coronavirus situation employers must note that the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates have increased as of 1st April 2021.

Full information about the new rates can be found here.

Support for Business

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

UK employers with a PAYE scheme can access government support to help pay part of the salary for employees who would otherwise have been laid off or made redundant as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

80% of wages can be paid for any hours not worked by a qualifying member of staff. For full information on eligibility and how to claim click here.

Furlough Job Retention Scheme FAQs/factsheet – click here.

Retail, hospitality & leisure sector support

The crisis particularly affects businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Special measures have been put in place to help these businesses out in this time.

  • Business Rates Holiday – businesses in these sectors will not have to pay business rates for the 2020/21 tax year.

Restart Grants

The Restart Grant scheme supports businesses in reopening safely as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Grants are available from 1 April 2021.

Eligible businesses in the non-essential retail sector may be entitled to a one-off cash grant of up to £6,000 from their local council.

Eligible businesses in the hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym sectors may be entitled to a one-off cash grant of up to £18,000 from their local council.

Here are links to each local council’s information about Restart Grants:

Pay As You Grow

Pay As You Grow (PAYG) will enable businesses who have started repaying their Bounce Back Loans to:

  • request an extension of their loan term to 10 years from six years, at the same fixed interest rate of 2.5%
  • reduce their monthly repayments for six months by paying interest only. This option is available up to three times during the term of their Bounce Back Loan
  • take a repayment holiday for up to six months. This option is available once during the term of their Bounce Back Loan.

For more details and how to access PAYG click here.

VAT Deferral Payment Scheme

For those that deferred VAT payments accrued during 20th March and 30th June 2020 can join a payment scheme to arrange repayment. Join the scheme by 21 June 2021 or make payment in full by 30 June.  Further information and how to join the scheme can be found here.

Support for Paying Tax

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. Further information can be found here.

Further support/information

Support from your Chamber

Throughout the coronavirus outbreak the Chamber will be here to provide support and advice to our members.

Coronavirus Support Hotline

The Chamber has established a dedicated line for you to call with your coronavirus concerns.

We can help with advice on the support available, problems you’re having accessing funding, issues with supply chain to meet demand and anything else related to the outbreak.

Call 01772 653 000.

‘Get informed’ with Chamber online events

In these unprecedented times it is essential for businesses to know how best to deal with the situation. As we can’t meet face-to-face the Chamber has arranged a series of online events to give you the information you need. See what’s coming up here.

BCC Resources

The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) have also produced some useful resources:

BCC Coronavirus Hub