UPDATED: 2ND APRIL 2020 - PLEASE CHECK LATEST GUIDANCE LINKS
The Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub is aiming to provide as much support as possible to businesses across Lincolnshire looking for support to cope with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. To gain the very latest information, you can utilise the following resources:
- Regular updates via the Business Lincolnshire Bulletin. To sign up for updates click here
- Visit the Government website for the latest guidance
Further guidance on funding and other support is available below.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme extended
To further support businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has extended the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to include all small businesses, not just those who cannot access traditional commercial financing.
The government is also banning lenders from asking for personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 - including principal private residences - along with making operational changes to accelerate loan approvals. The government will also continue to cover the first 12 months of fees and interest.
For more information on the CLBILS, click here.
Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme now available for firms
The new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will allow larger businesses to benefit from government support. The CLBILS will provide a government guarantee of 80%, allowing banks to offer loans of up to £25 million to businesses with a turnover between £45 million and £500 million a year. Loans offered under this scheme are available at commercial rates of interest, and will be accessible from Monday 6th April 2020.
£300 million announced for community pharmacies during COVID-19 pandemic
The government has announced a £300 million cash boost to ensure community pharmacies can continue to carry out vital services during this difficult time. The funding will support essential services such as supplying medicines and providing medical guidance to patients. The cash injection aims to support public health during this period of unprecedented demand. The first instalment was released on Wednesday 1st April, with the second coming on Friday 1st May 2020.
Heritage Emergency Fund launched
The National Lottery Heritage Fund is providing £50 million in funding to support the heritage sector during the COVID-19 crisis. The fund will address the immediate pressures the sector is facing, as well as support organisations in the most need over the next three to six months. Organisations including museums, historic sites, libraries, archives and more can claim grants between £3,000 and £50,000. The charity will also continue to support 2,500 projects it has already committed too, totalling more than £1 billion in investments.
Business Rates Holiday and Local Authority Grants
For those businesses paying business rates in the retail hospitality and leisure sector across England for the 2020-2021 tax year, there is a business rates holiday available.
Businesses that have already received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be re-billed by their local authority as soon as possible.
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.
The government will also be providing additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses who already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR). There will be a one-off grant of £10,000 available to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.
District Councils and Unitary Authorities are contacting businesses in Greater Lincolnshire and Rutland who are eligible for grants. You may have already received a letter or email if you are eligible. However in some instances the council do not have the right details. You are encouraged to complete the online form to provide your details.
To check if you are eligible and to fill in the online form please visit your local council, see list below:
Don’t know your local council? Click here
Please note: Local Authorities are aiming to start releasing the grants from the 1st April, however this will be issued in tranches, so not every business will get their funds on this date.
New Support Scheme Announced for Self Employed
The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational. HMRC will then pay the grant directly to eligible claimants’ bank account. HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid out by beginning of June 2020.
Guidance for businesses and workers on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Government has today published guidance for businesses and workers on how to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary.
Guidance for Employers
Employers will be able to use a portal to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage. We expect the scheme to be up and running by the end of April.
Please use the following link to access the guidance:
Guidance for Employees
The guidance published today will support workers understand whether they are eligible for the scheme, and how much the employer can claim if they are unable to operate or if there is no work due to coronavirus (COVID 19).
Please use the following link to access the guidance:
New guidance on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been published
In a move that could save businesses an extra £300 a month for each employee under the scheme, the government will now cover the employer national insurance and minimum auto-enrolment pension scheme contributions employers pay on the wages they must pay their furloughed staff – on top of the wages covered under the scheme. Those furloughed can volunteer for the NHS without risking their pay.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.
For more information, visit the Government website.
Business Interruption Loan Scheme – up to £5million – 6 months interest free
The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed, partial guarantee (80%) against the outstanding facility balance, subject to an overall cap per lender.
Smaller businesses from all sectors* can apply for the full amount of the facility. To be eligible for a facility under CBILS, an SME must:
- Be UK-based in its business activity, with annual turnover of no more than £45m.
- Have a borrowing proposal which, were it not for the current pandemic, would be considered viable by the lender, and for which the lender believes the provision of finance will enable the business to trade out of any short-to-medium term difficulty.
- generate more than 50% of its turnover from trading activity.
Please note: If the lender can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the scheme, they will do so.
*For more information on this, click here
Claiming tax support in response to COVID-19
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.
A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC's dedicated helpline on 0800 024 1222.
Eligibility for claiming for losses caused by COVID-19 through insurance
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.
How to claim for losses caused by a pandemic such as COVID-19
Insurance policies differ significantly between providers, 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.
Local Authority Guidance
Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund - Please note that there has been some small updates to the guidance.
Small Business Grant Fund: Recipients eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund will not be eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant - V3 Guidance
Income Support: Updated guidance to clarify the income support available and the requirements for providing safe, quality care for vulnerable and critical workers’ children. Click here
Our advisers are here to help your business to continue operating during this difficult time, so please get in touch for fully-funded support and guidance.
For any COVID-19 related enquiries please email: The Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub team
or register an enquiry via the Covid-19 Information and Advice helpline on 01522 782189 9am to 5pm.
Business Support Helpline (England)
There is also a Government business support helpline available across England for free advice to businesses.
Telephone: 0300 456 3565
Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday
Growth Hub COVID-19 Helpline
Call the Growth Hub's designated helpline number for COVID-19 specific queries: 01522 782189 (Option 3 for businesses)
Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm
Greater Lincolnshire LEP business intelligence
In response to the evolving situation the Greater Lincolnshire LEP are implementing a single contact point to collate business intelligence and to assist in feeding the needs of our business community into Government as a consolidated and impactful evidence base with a single, united voice. Please email your comments and concerns to: GLLEPBusinessIntelligence@lincolnshire.gov.uk.
There are a number of specialist one-to-one webinars taking place offering practical support and guidance around the COVID-19 crisis.
To secure your place, visit the Business Resilience EventBrite page
For all COVID-19 related webinars please click here
ACAS SUPPORT FOR EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has published guidance for businesses working from home and absence from work.
Many local businesses are also offering their support to others during the uncertain climate, with some offering services free of charge.
Cyber support for remote working
Local company KryptoCloud, are offering free cyber security support to businesses who are switching to remote working for their employees.
Find out more here
Local Authority Guidance
Expanded Retail Discount – Guidance has been updated so that certain properties previously excluded from the relief, but that have been forced to close as a result of coronavirus restrictions, will now be eligible for the relief. Government announced that it would increase the discount to 100% and extend it to include the leisure and hospitality sectors some of the exclusions for this relief have been removed, so that retail, leisure, and hospitality properties that will have had to close as a result of the restriction measures will now be eligible for the relief.
If you are administering emergency programmes on behalf of the government then this guidance is for you. Sadly, often in emergency situations the risk of fraud is even higher. Please make sure you are aware of the risks that you may face in your organisation. There are lots of ways to reduce the threat of widespread fraud by integrating low-friction controls into payments where possible, and carrying out post-event assurance work. Perhaps work with your assurance teams to understand the principles of the guidance.
Rented properties – Revised guidance is available to advise local authorities in England how to effectively enforce standards in rented properties (including housing associations), meet their legal duties and support landlords and tenants during the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Education - Advice for educational settings and their students and staff, who are travelling or planning to travel during the coronavirus - From 23 March, FCO is advising British people travelling abroad to return to the UK immediately, while commercial routes are still available. International travel is becoming very limited as air routes cease, land borders close and new restrictions are put in place that prevent flights from leaving. Any overseas trips for children under 18 organised by educational settings currently taking place should arrange for the trip to end and for participants to return. You will need to take account of the fast-moving situation and plan accordingly, including the fact there are currently fewer commercial routes available.
Weekly shopping vouchers worth £15 to spend at supermarkets while schools are closed due to coronavirus. Please click here for more information.
School Closures - What schools will need to do during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: added information about the workforce, hubs and links to other guidance. Please click here
Newly qualified teachers - Guidance about changes to newly qualified teacher (NQT) induction during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Click here
Tourism Sector – Hotels and B and B's ( exemptions on closing)- As part of the measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, certain businesses, including retail selling non-essential goods, and other venues must close. Hotels, hostels and B&Bs going about normal business are included. However there are exceptions, such as providing accommodation to key workers and vulnerable people. Where hotels, hostels, and B&Bs are providing rooms to support homeless people, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies, they should remain open. Rooms may also be provided to front line homelessness workers who are included in the key worker category.
Food Sector - New guidance is available to the food sector detailing information on food hygiene, food packaging, cleaning and waste disposal, managing staff sickness, implementing social distancing in the workplace and much more.
Transport Sector – new guidance has been released in assisting transport settings in addressing coronavirus. The guide includes advice on what to do if an employee becomes unwell whilst on their journey, how to cleaning equipment and provides posters for transport hubs/setting to reinforce key messages.
Care Sector - Changes to the Care Act 2014 to help local authorities prioritise care and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak . For more information click here