See the updates from Government on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and their support for Businesses and Employers.
The Government business support hub brings together key information for businesses.
The business support finder tool will help businesses and self-employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic.
Offer coronavirus (COVID-19) support from your business
Use this link to tell Government how your business might be able to help with the response to coronavirus
- Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme - opens 26th May
- Working safely - factories, plants and warehouses
- Working safely - Offices
- Updated: Composites UK guidance: Operating safely through COVID-19 and Restart good Practice
- Large business Loan scheme extended to £200m
For updated Government guidance for employers and businesses on COVID-19 please click here.
- Operating safely through COVID-19
- General Information
- Funding | Loans | VAT
- Job Safeguarding | Assistance for the Self-Employed | Apprenticeships
- Commercial Property
- Export and Travel
- Home working during the COVID-19 crisis
- How companies are navigating COVID-19
COVID-19 industry guidance
On 11th May the UK Government published its COVID-19 Recovery Strategy
Industry guidance has been published for specific sectors. Click here.
A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees. Find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply here.
Information for Businesses & Employers in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
NHS asks people to share their coronavirus symptoms to help others
The Coronavirus Status Checker will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the COVID-19 outbreak. It is open to anyone in the UK to use on the NHS website and in its initial phase the NHS is particularly keen for anyone who thinks they may be displaying potential coronavirus symptoms, no matter how mild, to complete it. You can read more information here. Or go straight to the tracker here
Business Support Packages
Access the package of measures to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses affected by Covid-19.
- Paying your employees
- Paying sick pay
- Defer your VAT payments
- Defer your self-assessment payments
- Business rates relief
- Self-employment Income Support Scheme
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- COVID-19 corporate financing facility
Guidance posters for staff, employers and businesses
Public Health England have produced guidance posters that should be downloaded, printed and displayed in the workplace:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) information leaflet
- COVID-19 Employer and business guidance poster
- Staying COVID-19 secure in 2020 poster
Risk management and business continuity standards
BSI has worked with international standards organizations to make these standards accessible for the purposes of organizations that are involved in the UK COVID-19 response. Click here for access to webinars and standards
100% government backed loan scheme for small business
The Bounce Back Loans scheme, allows businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months. Businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.
The scheme runs alongside the existing Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).
The Government is also taking additional steps on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to ensure that lenders have the confidence they need to process finance applications quickly, including removing the per lender portfolio cap for the government guarantee, and changing the viability tests that so that all banks will need to assess is whether a business was viable pre COVID-19.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports SMEs with access to working capital (including loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance) of up to £5 million in value and for up to 6 years. Government is providing a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million. To apply, you should talk to your bank or one of the 40 accredited finance providers (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible, to discuss your business plan. You can find out the latest on the best ways to contact them via their websites. The full rules of the scheme and the list of accredited lenders are available on the British Business Bank website.
Small Business Grant Scheme
Click here to access the government guidance. Central Government will provide funding to Local Authorities that are responsible for business rate billing. Those Local Authorities will contact eligible businesses to arrange payment of the grants.
- The government will provide additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates.
- This funding will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief.
- 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.
- If your business is eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, you will be contacted by your Local Authority – you do not need to apply.
- The Business Secretary will write to all Local Authorities by the end of the week with information on this scheme, and to encourage them to prepare to deliver this quickly.
Large Business Interruption Loan scheme
The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme has been expanded to cover all viable firms. All firms with a turnover of more than £45 million will now be able to apply for up to £25 million of finance, and up to £200 million for firms with a turnover of more than £250 million. The scheme, is available through a series of accredited lenders, which are listed on the British Business Bank website.
Financial assistance for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments
This page has been updated with information about the financial assistance scheme for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments.
Deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months
Temporary changes to the VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 to help businesses manage their cash flow.This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020-21 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.
Income Tax Self-Assessment payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.
HMRC Time to Pay
HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities. You can contact HMRC’s dedicated Covid-19 helpline to get practical help and advice. The new phone number is 08000 241222. Opening hours are from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday. Calls to the old helpline number will be redirected automatically.
Account Filing Delay
Companies House has announced that businesses will receive an additional 3 months to file accounts to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impacts of COVID-19. Full guidance on applying for an extension can be found here.
Companies House has produced guidance if coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected your company and you need more time to file your accounts. Find all the information here.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
COVID-19 Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) - Click here to make your claim. The only way to make a claim is online. Claims will be paid within 6 working days
Information you will need before you make a claim:
- a Government Gateway (GG) ID and password – if you don’t already have a GG account, you can apply for one online, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'HMRC services: sign in or register'
- be enrolled for PAYE online – if you aren’t registered yet, you can do so now, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'PAYE Online for employers'
- the following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for:
- National Insurance number.
- Claim period and claim amount.
- PAYE/employee number (optional).
- if you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff – you will need to input information directly into the system for each employee
- if you have 100 or more furloughed staff – you will need to upload a file with information for each employee; we will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods.
This HMRC webinar provides guidance on the Job Retention Scheme which will help support businesses and employers dealing with the economic impact of COVID-19 – including furloughed workers, scheme eligibility, how to calculate a claim and more.
Automatic enrolment and pension contributions
The Pension’s Regulator have agreed that if you have furloughed staff due to COVID-19 and currently pay more than the statutory minimum of 3% employer pension contributions, you can now reduce this to the statutory minimum of 3% without the previously required consultation period.
Contracts and unions should still be checked before deciding to do so, but this may be very helpful for a lot of employers.
Self-employment Income Support Scheme
The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. 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. The business support website provides more information and FAQs.
Apprenticeship programme response
As part of the cross-government efforts to respond to the impact of COVID-19, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is implementing new measures, for the duration of the pandemic, to make it easier for apprenticeships to continue and complete in a different way if they need to, or to break and resume an apprenticeship later when that becomes possible.
New guidance has been published for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations.
COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
From 26th May, the COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will allow small and medium sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying Statutory Sick Pay to their employees. HMRC has published new online guidance which includes information about who can use the scheme and the records employers must keep.
HMRC is working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers. Details about when the new Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme can be accessed and when employers can make a claim, will be announced as soon as possible.
Providing proof of coronavirus absence from work
People unable to work for more than seven days because of coronavirus (COVID-19) can obtain an isolation note through a new online service.
Most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics or unspecified notifiable diseases, such as COVID-19. However, those businesses which have an insurance policy that covers government ordered closure and pandemics or government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable disease should be able to make a claim (subject to the terms and conditions of their policy). Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Further information is available.
Protection from eviction for commercial tenants
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. Further details are now available.
Business Rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure
- All businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will pay no business rates in England for 12 months from 1 April 2020.
- There will be no rateable value threshold on this relief – businesses large and small will benefit.
- Guidance for local authorities on the application of the holiday has been published. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to the relevant local authority.
Transport and travel guidance
The transport and travel guidance hub brings together Information for people using transport or working in the transport sector during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Personal protective equipment (PPE): export control process
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, anyone wishing to export personal protective equipment (PPE) to areas outside the EU, European Free Trade Association member states and certain other territories will temporarily need a PPE export licence. The guidance has been updated with a link to a question and answer document by the EU.
Moving goods through customs and customs authorisations
Find out about moving goods and clearing customs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Find out about temporary changes to customs policy and authorisations to assist businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
UK Export Finance (UKEF) has also expanded the scope of its Export Insurance Policy (EXIP) meaning UK businesses will now be eligible to secure export insurance cover to all major markets.
Notices to exporters
Notice to exporters 2020/10: processing licence applications during coronavirus (COVID-19): The Department for International Trade has revised arrangements for processing licence applications during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Find out more here.
Notice to exporters 2020/09: Export Control Joint Unit updates guidance on compliance checks for open licences. Details of changes and further clarification on compliance checks for open licences.
For general export control queries please contact ECJU’s Helpline on 020 7215 4594 or email@example.com.
DIT support for UK businesses trading internationally
The advice for UK businesses that export or deliver goods and services abroad and have been impacted by the spread of COVID-19 has been updated.
Exceptional travel advisory notice
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict travel without notice. Please continue to check FCO travel advice on GOV.UK for the latest updates.
Living or Travelling Overseas
Guidance for British people living or travelling overseas following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). Find the update guidance here.
Request for Business Intelligence: How is COVID-19 Impacting Businesses?
The Government is closely monitoring developments in relation to potential economic impacts on the UK economy and individual businesses and supply chain and we are keen that businesses feed back any specific concerns.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy seeks business intelligence on how COVID-19 is impacting individual businesses and business sectors. We welcome information from you and your members on:
- The impacts across supply, demand and labour markets
- Actions being taken by firms to address these impacts
- Any gaps in the Government response from your perspective
Please send this information to firstname.lastname@example.org. We understand that individual company information may be commercially sensitive, and it will be treated accordingly.
You can find all updated information produced by the Department for Health and Social Care and Public Health England here.