On 23 March the Government stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives. All non-essential premises must now close as set out in this guidance from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.

Subscribe for the latest news by email from South Gloucestershire Council.

Government guidance – support to businesses

The Government has published guidance that will assist employers and businesses in providing advice to their staff on:

  • the novel coronavirus, COVID-19
  • how to help prevent spread of COVID-19
  • what to do if someone has symptoms of COVID-19 has been in business settings
  • eligibility for sick pay

www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

This guidance also provides details of support available to businesses including:

  • statutory sick pay relief package for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance

www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme to help with tax

A number of business rates reliefs have also been introduced:

  • Business Rates Retail Relief to be increased from 50% to 100% during 2020/21 and available to all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with no rateable value cap

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/873622/Expanded_Retail_Discount_Guidance.pdf

  • Pub relief for those with a rateable value below £100,000 during 2020/21 to receive a £5,000 reduction instead of £1,000
  • Business rates relief for nurseries during 2020/21

www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses#support-for-nursery-businesses-that-pay-business-rates

We are in the process of implementing these reliefs, taking account of government guidance and software updates to make the necessary reductions. As at 24 March 2020, all businesses eligible for Retail Rate Relief with rateable values up to £51k have been rebilled and new bills should be received by post week commencing 23 March 2020. Eligible businesses with a rateable value over £51k require a software update to allow us to rebill and we are waiting to receive this from the software supplier. In the interim all businesses that fall into retail, leisure and hospitality sectors are not required to pay their April instalment as per the annual bills issued in March 2020. Amended bills for nurseries will be issued week commencing 30 March 2020.

​​The Chancellor announced on 21 March that companies and organisations will be able to apply for a grant from HMRC under a new coronavirus job retention scheme, to cover the wages of people who are not working due to coronavirus shutdowns, but who have not been laid off. Through this scheme the Government will provide grants to businesses to cover 80% of the salary of retained workers with the maximum contribution being set at £2,500 a month per worker.

The Chancellor also deferred VAT payments for all businesses until end of June and added that the Universal Credit standard allowance will increase by £1,000, for the next 12 months, as will the Working Tax Credit basic element. He also announced that the Government will extend the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme. This means that businesses receiving a loan from this scheme will now not pay interest for 12 months (up from 6 months from previous announcements). Finally he also said that Local Housing Allowance will now cover at least 30% of market rents in the area and that elf assessment tax payments due in June have been deferred until January 2021.

Business support grants announced by the government

The government issued local authorities with guidance on the new grants relating to coronavirus disruption on Monday 23 March. We are writing out to all eligible businesses in the coming days explaining the scheme and confirming how businesses can apply for payment of the grant. The intention is to make payment in early April, in line with government guidance.

Apply for a business support grant

Before you apply, read our privacy notice which explains how we will use your data.

You should be aware that funding claimed through unlawful behaviour will result in prosecution and action taken to reclaim any funds issued.

Apply for a business support grant

For further information on the grants visit the GOV.UK guidance for employers and businesses page.

Existing support available to businesses

Financial Hardship Scheme

Any business experiencing financial hardship may make a claim for help with their business rates. In extreme cases of hardship, up to 100% relief can be awarded. This reduction will usually be granted where it is evident that the business is particularly important to the local community. More details can be found here:

www.southglos.gov.uk/business/business-rates/business-rates-reductions/financial-hardship-relief/

Guidance on financial support for residents, business and employees

Regardless of whether you’re a business owner, employee or resident, we know that COVID-19 could impact your job and finances which could have a knock-on effect to your ability to pay the bills, pay your rent or mortgage or even buy groceries. We do not know exactly what the coming months will bring but our aim in South Gloucestershire is that no-one should get left behind so if you are struggling in any way, read the information below so you know how to access support based on your circumstances. If your question isn’t covered below, call us on 01454 868002 because we are here to help and support everyone through this crisis.

The links on this page explain how you can access financial support if you’re a resident, worker or employer so please read whichever pages are relevant to you. We encourage you to share this page with colleagues, friends and family who live and work in South Gloucestershire.

Government guidance can be found here:

Support for those affected by COVID-19 – www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19

Coronavirus Business Support – www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support

Financial support for workers

I need additional financial support because I’m experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 – e.g. due to self-isolation, having to take time off work to care for children

The government has announced a new £500 million Hardship Fund so local councils can financially support people. The Hardship Fund will be used to reduce by £150 the council tax payments for those eligible under our Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme. We will be rebilling LCTRS claimants with the revised amounts and there is no need for a claimant to take any action.

Additionally, the government is temporarily relaxing the minimum income you need to receive to apply for Universal Credit for people who are self-isolating. If this is you, you’ll be able to make a claim by calling 0800 328 5644 or online at gov.uk. You will receive an advance payment and you will not need to visit the job centre.

I’m self-isolating – what sick pay am I entitled to?

If you are self-isolating with or without symptoms, Statutory Sick Pay will be available to you from your first day off.

If you do not receive Statutory Sick Pay – for example, if you are self-employed, there is a range of support available to you including Universal Credit and Employment Support Allowance.

You can find the latest guidance for employees on the gov.uk website

I am worried about my ability to pay tax

If you are worried about being able to pay tax as a result of COVID-19 coronavirus, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

I am on a zero-hours contract and I’m worried about my finances

If you are on a zero-hours contract, you will be able to access Universal Credit and the new Employment Support Allowance. If you are worried about your finances, see below:

Financial support for businesses and employers

Advice for employers and business owners

  • If you are struggling to pay your business rates, call us so that we can discuss alternative options with you on 01454 867700
  • We are applying the 100% discount for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for 12 months automatically and will write to you shortly with a revised bill
  • We are waiting for further guidance on the cash grants referenced by the Government for small businesses.  As soon as we know more we will write again to eligible businesses
  • We are contacting our commercial tenants and we will provide support to those facing difficulties in paying their rent

This is what the government is doing to support businesses:

  • If you or a member of your workforce are worried about being able to pay tax as a result of Coronavirus, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
  • Statutory Sick Pay will be available from day 1 rather than day 4 and if you employ less than 250 people, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded in full by the government.
  • If you manage a pub, club or a theatre and have an insurance policy that covers you for pandemics, you will be able to make a claim.
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will support lenders to offer loans up to £5m with no interest due for 12 months.
  • If any of your employees have a zero-hours contract, let them know they’ll be able to access Universal Credit and the new Employment Support Allowance.
  • Mortgage lenders will support customers who are experiencing financial difficulties by giving them mortgage holidays for up to 3 months.

We will be writing out to all eligible businesses in the coming days explaining the scheme and confirming how businesses can apply for payment of the grant.

 

What government support is available to businesses?  

The government and South Gloucestershire Council have announced a number of support schemes which are available to businesses in South Gloucestershire including:

  • Support if you are struggling to pay your business rates. Call us so that we can discuss alternative options with you on 01454 867700.
  • We are applying the 100% discount for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for 12 months automatically and will write to you shortly with a revised bill.
  • We are contacting our commercial tenants and we will provide support to those facing difficulties in paying their rent.

If you are eligible for any of the above discounts or grants, we will send you further information and a new business rates bill shortly. Any payments you make in the meantime will be deducted from your bill. For all information on businesses support in South Gloucestershire see www.southglos.gov.uk/businessinfo

I have heard about the cash grants available from central government, how can I access these? 

Regarding the Business support grants announced by government, we will be writing out to all eligible businesses in the coming days explaining the scheme and confirming how businesses can apply for payment of the grant.

I am worried about paying my personal and business taxes, where can I get help? 

If you or a member of your workforce are worried about being able to pay tax as a result of coronavirus, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

My staff are having to take time off from work to self-isolate, how will statutory sick pay work? 

Statutory Sick Pay will be available from day 1 rather than day 4 and if you employ fewer than 250 people, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded in full by the government.

Some of my workers are on zero-hours contracts, what support is available for them? 

If any of your employees have a zero-hours contract, let them know they’ll be able to access Universal Credit and the new Employment Support Allowance.

I operate a business in the leisure and entertainment sectors, will I be covered for losses for compulsory closure? 

If you manage a pub, club or a theatre and have an insurance policy that covers you for pandemics, you will be able to make a claim. Please check your policy wording and speak with your insurer directly.

 

 

Advice for businesses offering food delivery

Our Environmental Health team have produced the following guidance for businesses that offer food delivery during the coronavirus pandemic.

How to contact us

Our contact us online webpage outlines how you can contact us to resolve your enquiry.

Beta This is our beta website, your feedback can help us improve it.