Cheltenham BID has pulled together an overview of the support and guidance which is available to businesses during these challenging times.
Protection from eviction – Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. These measures, included in the emergency Coronavirus Bill currently going through Parliament, will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next 3 months. See the full press release here.
Support for businesses who pay rates – Businesses occupying properties in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors will receive a 100% rate relief for 2020/21.
Grants – grants are available to certain businesses as follows:
The Council has started paying these grants to businesses. Check for up to date information using this link.
For eligible businesses occupying properties with rateable values between £15,000 and £51,000 on 11 March 2020 the grant is £25,000.
Businesses must be eligible for expanded retail discount to qualify for a grant. Check the guidance.
Loans – as well as government backed business loans, most banks and building societies are supporting their business clients. Some banks are still operating behind closed doors and are contactable by telephone, email and through online portals. Loans are repayable.
A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch next week. Further details, including on the lenders providing access to this scheme will be announced in the coming days, and the scheme will be available from early week commencing 23 March 2020.
Further information can be found here.
Private lender loans – A number of private lenders are also making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including £2 billion from Lloyds Banking Group and £5 billion from NatWest.
Also contact your bank to see what they are offering as many banks will be providing support for personal and businesses banking clients.
Support for businesses paying tax – If you are concerned about paying outstanding tax liabilities to HMRC, you may be able to take advantage of the ‘Time To Pay’ service.
The budget also states that HMRC will waive late payment penalties and interest where a business experiences administrative difficulty contacting HMRC or paying taxes due to COVID-19.
If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
Insurance – Standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics. If you have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure you may be covered.
We suggest you check your insurance policies and contact your provider to see what cover you have in place.
Supporting your employees
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – If your business runs a PAYE scheme, you will be able to access support to continue to pay part of your employees’ salary for those people who you would otherwise have laid off during this crisis. If you have asked employees to stop working but you have kept them on the payroll, they are being referred to as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary.
Statutory Sick Pay relief – 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. The mechanism for making these repayments will be set up by the Government as soon as possible.
Financial, emotional and physical support for individuals is available through a large number of charities. The retailTRUST has resources to help you support your employees.
Other useful sources of information: