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:
- Close contact services – e.g. hairdressers, beauticians, tattooists, massage therapists, dress fitters.
- Construction & other outdoors work – any outdoor working environment
- Factories, plants & warehouses
- Heritage locations
- Hotels & other guest accomodation
- Labs & research facilities
- Offices & contact centres
- Other people’s homes – working in, visiting or delivering to other people’s homes.
- Performing arts – including arts organisations, venue operators and participants.
- Providers of grassroots sport and sports facilities
- Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services
- Shops and branches
- Vehicles – including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar.
- The visitor economy – includes hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, and business events and consumer shows.
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.
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.
- Managing risk and Risk Assessment guidance – here.
- Latest guidance for people using transport or working in the transport sector – click here.
- Genuine HMRC contact and recognising phishing emails – click here.
- Guidance on avoiding and reporting internet scams and phishing – click here.
- Examples of HMRC related phishing emails and bogus contact – click here.
- Protective Security Management Systems -(PSeMS) – Pandemic Self-Assessment Checklist – click here.
- Statutory Sick Pay Rebate – SMEs can claim upto 2 weeks of SSP payments for employees off work due to coronavirus.
- Chamber HR service is at your disposal – online templates and a telephone support line – click here.
- Furlough Leave – template letter – click here.
- Insurance Protection for overseas debts from Chamber Patron Member PIB.
- Customs Disaster Relief – no import duty or vat on medical supplies or equipment.
- ABI Q&A around business insurance – some helpful information on your policies/cover.
- For further information about the range of government support available – click here.
- Guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers, end-point assessment organisations and external quality assurance providers
- Eviction protection for commercial tenants: A ban on eviction for businesses who cannot pay their rent.
- Intellectual property services alterations: Patent applications.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitiser: New suppliers will be able to bring products to market more quickly and easily.
- Government Export Working Capital Scheme: its benefits, eligibility criteria and how to apply.
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.
The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) have also produced some useful resources: