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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The new local restriction tier system that will be in place from Wednesday 2 December.

Surrey is set to be placed in Tier 2, High Alert. Below is guidance including what you can and cannot do in this tier.

During the Christmas period (23 to 27 December) different rules on social contact will apply.

Tier 2: High alert

This is for areas with a higher or rapidly rising level of  infections, where some additional restrictions need to be in place.

In tier 2:

  • you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
  • pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals
  • hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
  • provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol
  • close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt)
  • stop taking orders after 10pm
  • hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances  that start before 10pm
  • public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes or stonesettings.
  • organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue
  • organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
  • if you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey
  • for international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list

 

Apply for the Local Restrictions Grant here

Furlough Scheme Extended and Further Economic Support announced

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended for a month with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked and further economic support announced.

In addition, business premises forced to close in England are to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant. Also, £1.1bn is being given to Local Authorities, distributed on the basis of £20 per head, for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses more broadly.

Job Retention Scheme Extension 

This extended Job Retention Scheme will operate as the previous scheme did, with businesses being paid upfront to cover wages costs. There will be a short period when the Government will need to change the legal terms of the scheme and update the system and businesses will be paid in arrears for that period.

Following the announcement on Thursday 5 November, the CJRS (also known as the furlough scheme) will remain open until 31 March 2021. For claim periods running to January 2021, employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. The £2,500 cap is proportional to the hours not worked. The government will review the policy in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more.

As under the current CJRS, flexible furloughing will be allowed in addition to full-time furloughing.

The Job Support Scheme, which was scheduled to come in on Sunday 1st November, has been postponed until the furlough scheme ends.

Business Grants coming soon 

The first business support grant scheme will be for business rated properties that were open and trading, but have been legally forced to close from 5 November 2020.

The grant criteria for eligible businesses will be as follows:

  • Businesses occupying properties which appear on the local business rating list with a rateable value of exactly £15,000 or under, on the date of the commencement of the widespread national restrictions, will receive a payment of £1,334 per 28 day qualifying restriction period.

  • Businesses occupying properties which appear on the local business rating list with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, on the date of the commencement of the widespread national restrictions, will receive a payment of £2,000 per 28 day qualifying restriction period.

  • Businesses properties which appear on the local business rating list with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 or above on the commencement date of the widespread national restrictions, will receive £3,000 per 28-day qualifying restriction period.

The second business support grant scheme will be a discretionary business grant scheme and local authorities will receive an on-off funding amount from the Government, which as yet is not known. Therefore, this discretionary scheme will be limited by the amount of funding provided.

How to apply

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

Latest Measures announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer - 23rd 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).

  • The Job Support Scheme: The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce.  The company will continue to pay its employee for time worked, but the cost of hours not worked will be split between the employer, the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), and the employee will keep their job. See more information here.

  • Job Retention Bonus:  The Job Retention Bonus is set to support millions of employers who have kept on furloughed workers.  The bonus is a £1,000 one-off taxable payment to you (the employer), for each eligible employee that you furloughed and kept continuously employed until 31 January 2021. This will work alongside newly announced Job Support Scheme and could be worth more than 60% of average wages of workers who have been furloughed – and are kept on until the start of February 2021. Businesses can claim for the Bonus from 15 February until the end of March. Check your eligibility and if you can claim the Job Retention Bonus from 15 February 2021.

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: 30 November 2020 is the last day you can submit claims for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020. After this date you will not be able to submit any further claims or add to existing claims.

  • 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.

Measures announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer - 8th July 2020

  • Job Retention BonusTo help firms keep on furloughed workers, UK Employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.

  • 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.

Keep Surrey Safe Businesse Communication Toolkit

Materials for employers to help play their part by following the latest Government advice on how to work safely during Coronavirus and to help spread the word about Test and Trace. By ensuring working conditions are safe, businesses can also reduce the risk of many employees having to self-isolate and the disruption that follows, if a member of staff tests positive for COVID-19.

Business Rates & Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure and Small Business Grant

The UK government is temporarily increasing the Business Rates discount to all businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors in England to 100% for 2020-21, irrespective of rateable value. The latest government guidance can be found  here.

£25,000 cash grant – for businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000.

£10,000 cash grant to small businesses- there will be a £10,000 cash grant to small firms in England eligible for Small Business Rate Relief. This will be delivered by Local Authorities.

Please see the guidance for businesses setting out details of the  Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

Local authorities will be contacting eligible businesses and may have to reissue your bill. They will do this as soon as possible.

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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