Government Support

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

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Business Grants 

Local restrictions support grant (closed) scheme and the one-off business support lockdown payment

Woking Borough Council are providing a dual application process for businesses to access both the local restrictions support grant (closed) scheme and the recently announced one-off business support lockdown payment.

Eligible businesses for both grants are non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses.

About the grants

The local restrictions support grant (closed) scheme applies to businesses which were directed to close by the Government when Woking moved to Tier 3 on 19 December 2020 or Tier 4 on 20 December 2020.

The one-off business support payment, announced on 5 January by the Government, is a single payment of up to £9,000 dependent upon the rateable value of the business.

View businesses which have been required to close

Eligibility criteria for both grants

To qualify for these grants, your business must be in the borough of Woking and:

  • is business rated (the applicant must be the rate payer).
  • open as usual before the restrictions, for example on 4 November 2020.
  • required to close due to restrictions imposed by the Government.

Your business will not qualify for support under this scheme if it was in administration, insolvent or a striking off order was made at the time local restrictions started.

Apply for both grants

For upcoming grant information, please see www.woking.gov.uk/localrestrictionsgrants

National lockdown: Stay at Home

Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country. Find out what you can and cannot do.

Summary: what you can and cannot do during the national lockdown

Detailed guidance on the national lockdown can be found here.

You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

You should follow this guidance immediately. The law will be updated to reflect these new rules.

Leaving home
You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse) attend education or childcare - for those eligible

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid February for all except future critical worker courses.

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.

If you need to travel, walk or cycle where possible, and plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practice social distancing while you travel.

Avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or your support bubble. See the guidance on car sharing.

If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel guidance.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.

Meeting others
You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).

You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.

You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.

Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.

Businesses and venues which must close
To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. The full list of businesses required to close can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:

  • non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services.
  • hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.
  • accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts,fitness and dance studios, riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses.
  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks
  • animal attractions (such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife reserves)
  • indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise.
  • personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes
  • community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services – for example for people who do not have it at home – and for click-and-collect services

Some of these businesses and places will also be permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities. A full list of exemptions can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:

  • education and training – for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision
  • childcare purposes and supervised activities for those children eligible to attend
  • hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
  • to provide medical treatment
  • for elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios)
  • for training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
  • for the purposes of film and TV filming

Businesses and venues which can remain open
Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 secure guidelines. Businesses providing essential goods and services can stay open. The full list of these businesses can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:

  • essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
  • businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services
  • petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
  • funeral directors
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • medical and dental services
  • vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals
  • animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)
  • agricultural supplies shops
  • mobility and disability support shops
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • outdoor playgrounds
  • outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
  • places of worship
  • crematoriums and burial grounds

Public services
The majority of public services will continue and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include:

  • the NHS and medical services like GPs and dentists. We are supporting the NHS to carry out urgent and non-urgent services safely, and it is vital anyone who thinks they need any kind of medical care comes forward and seeks help
  • Jobcentre Plus sites
  •  courts and probation services
  • civil registrations offices
  • passport and visa services
  • services provided to victims
  • waste or recycling centres
  • getting an MOT, if you need to drive when lawfully leaving home

Furlough and loan schemes extended

The furlough scheme has been extended until the end of April 2021 with the government continuing to contribute 80% towards wages – giving businesses and employees across the UK certainty into the New Year, the Chancellor announced. Claims for furlough days in December 2020 must be made by 14 January 2021

In a move to ensure firms can access the support they need through continuing economic disruption, Rishi Sunak also confirmed he would be extending the government-guaranteed Covid-19 business loan schemes until the end of March.

Tier 2 and Tier 3 Local Restrictions Support Grants

A limited amount of grant funding available to support businesses which were open from 2 December 2020, but have been severely affected by the Tier 2 restrictions.

Grants will be prioritised for businesses in the hospitality, hotel, bed and breakfast and leisure industries.

View the grant criteria

For more information and details of how to apply, visit www.woking.gov.uk/localrestrictionsgrants

Businesses are eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) if they have been directed to close by the Government when Woking moved to Tier 3 on 19 December 2020 or Tier 4 on 20 December 2020.

These businesses include non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses. A full list of businesses required to close or are able to stay open has been published.

To qualify for this grant, your business must be in the borough of Woking and:

  • is business rated (the applicant must be the rate payer).
  • open as usual before the restrictions, for example on 4 November 2020.
  • required to close due to restrictions imposed by the Government.

Your business will not qualify for support under this scheme if it was in administration, insolvent or a striking off order was made at the time local restrictions started.

Applications to this scheme will open in early January 2021.

Applications for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (open and closed) must be submitted online via Woking Borough Council’s website at www.woking.gov.uk/localrestrictionsgrants

Additional restrictions grant (discretionary)

A second business support grant scheme, funded by the Government, will be available via a discretionary grant scheme.

This grant scheme is discretionary and will be open to both business rated (you receive a business rates bill) and non-business rated businesses.

The Government is encouraging these funds to be used to support businesses which have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions, whether they have been forced to close or not.

The funding to us will be issued as a one-off lump sum payment to provide support across financial years 2020 to 2021 and 2021 to 2022.

Details of the Additional restrictions grant (discretionary) will be published at www.woking.gov.uk/localrestrictionsgrants and are set to open in the New Year.

Christmas support payment for wet-led pubs

The Government has introduced an additional £1,000 Christmas grant for ‘wet-led pubs’ located in tiers 2 and 3.

‘Wet led’ pubs are businesses that predominantly serve alcohol rather than providing food.

The payment will be a one-off for December and will be paid in addition to the Local Restrictions Business Support grants.

To apply, businesses must be classified as a traditional pub or public house which:

  • opens to the general public
  • allows free entry (other than when occasional entertainment is provided)
  • allows drinking without requiring food to be consumed
  • permits drinks to be purchased at a bar.

Grant applications must be made online by the rate payer listed on the business rates bill.

To apply for the grant, the business’s accounts must be submitted with the application and show income prior to 11 March 2020.

The scheme eligibility period ends on 28 December 2020 and the closing date for applications is Tuesday 12 January 2021.

Apply for a Christmas support payment for wet-led pubs

Latest Measures announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer - September 2020

  • Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant extension: The grant extension is for self-employed individuals who are currently eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and are actively continuing to trade, but are facing reduced demand due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Deferral of VAT: On 24 September 2020, the Chancellor announced that businesses who deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June 2020 will now have the option to pay in smaller payments over a longer period. Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, you can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022, interest free. You will need to opt-in to the scheme, and for those who do, this means that your VAT liabilities due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 do not need to be paid in full until the end of March 2022.

A Plan for Jobs 2020

  • Kickstart SchemeA new £2 billion scheme will also be launched to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country. Those aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment, will be eligible. Funding available for each six-month job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week – and employers will be able to top this wage up.
  • Employment and support schemes: A total of £1.6 billion will be invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job.
  • Creating jobs: The plan will also create tens of thousands of jobs through bringing forward work on £8.8 billion of new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects. In addition, £5.8 billion will be spent on shovel-ready construction projects to get Britain building.
  • VAT: The rate of VAT applied on most tourism and hospitality-related activities will be cut from 20% to 5%.
  • Stamp DutyA temporary increase to the Nil Rate Band of Residential SDLT (Stamp Duty) from £125,000 to £500,000 has been introduced until 31 March 2021.

Government support & Information

Funding and support

Self-employed people and sole traders

Your responsibilities as an employer

Managing your business during coronavirus

 

Business closures

OTHER SOURCES OF ADVICE AND GUIDANCE

Most business membership and support organisations are trying to disseminate the most up-to-date information on Government and other support measures as soon as it becomes available. This information is normally available to both members and non-members please use the links below:

British Chambers of Commerce – National Chamber of Commerce
https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/page/coronavirus

Surrey Chamber of Commerce 
– local Surrey Chamber of Commerce
https://www.surrey-chambers.co.uk/representation/how-is-your-business-doing/

Enterprise M3 - Local Enterprise Partnership (Public/Private Partnership)
https://enterprisem3growthhub.co.uk/coronavirus-covid-19

Institute of Directors – Membership Organisation for Company Directors
https://www.iod.com/iod-coronavirus-support-hub

Confederation of British Industry – Represents British larger businesses
https://www.cbi.org.uk/coronavirus-hub 

Federation of Small Businesses 
– Represents British micro and small businesses
https://www.fsb.org.uk/campaign/covid19.html

Enterprise Nation – organisation supporting micro and small businesses
https://www.enterprisenation.com/coronavirus-support/

ACAS - The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service

Information for employees and employers

ACAS has published information for employees and employers, including simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff during this time. Find out more on
https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

Association of British Insurers – representing British Insurance sector
https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-qa/

Security tips for businesses

If you have been instructed by the government to close your business in line with the Covid-19 guidance or you have chosen to close, it is a good time for you to review your security to reduce the chances of your premises being targeted by opportunist thieves, or your business being subjected to cyber attacks.

Secured by Design, the Police Digital Security Centre and the National Counter Terrorism Security Office have put together the Top 10 Security Tips for Closed Business Premises, the Top 10 Cyber Security Tips for Working at Home and the latest Counter Terrorism advice following the launch of a new app. Download here.

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