A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees, including:

  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
  • Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure
  • Statutory Sick Pay Support
  • Time to Pay
  • COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility
  • VAT Deferral
  • Income Tax Deferral for the Self-Employed
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Government Support to Businesses

On 20th March, HM Treasury announced a further series of measures to support people, jobs and businesses. This includes a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which will allow employers to continue paying up to 80% of furloughed workers pay costs to a maximum of £2,500 per month and deferring VAT and Income Tax payments. All UK businesses, including those in Wales are eligible for these two new strands of support which are being administered through HMRC.
 
Further guidance on what you need to do is available on the following website:
 
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses
 
The HMRC also has a Coronavirus helpline for businesses and self-employed people and is available on 0800 0159 559. Note that the HMRC is working urgently to set up the system. Existing HMRC systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

Business Rate Relief 

The Welsh Government has announced a package of support worth more than £1.4bn for small businesses to help them during the coronavirus outbreak.

Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less  will receive 100% business rates relief for the financial year 2020/21.

For retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000, a grant of £25,000 will be offered.

It also provides a £10,000 grant to all businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.

Businesses that qualify for this support will not need to do anything to apply for this scheme. This will be administered through the Business Rates system. You do not need to contact your Local Authority about this, you will receive information in due course.

The Welsh Government is exploring ways of supporting businesses who do not qualify for this scheme, details of this support will be added to the Business Wales website once confirmed.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis, all UK businesses are eligible.   To access the scheme businesses will need to :

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
  • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal, this portal is not yet in place and we will publish details as soon as they are available (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, covering a variety of different products such as loans, overdraft, invoice finance and asset finance, delivered by the British Business Bank, has launched on the 23 March to support primarily small and medium sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. Businesses can access the first 12 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments. 

Further details can be found at:

https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business…

Development Bank of Wales

The Development Bank of Wales has loan and equity funding available immediately to Welsh businesses. The Welsh Government is working closely with the Development Bank of Wales to consider additional support to help businesses through the Covid-19 impact. 

For further information please visit the Development Bank of Wales website or call 0800 587 4140.

For further support and business advice please contact Business Wales on 03000 6 03000.

Statutory Sick Pay Support

The UK Government is bringing forward legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to coronavirus. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

  • this refund will cover up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19 
  • employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  • employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
  • the eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home comes into force
  • the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible

For further information on support for businesses and employers please visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice

Tax helpline to support businesses affected by coronavirus

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tax-helpline-to-support-businesses-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19?fbclid=IwAR1oamYCkmVKH5mrFSL1HhPLdVt9VMMjVjZEiaA3eVt51Mtai6hCmXOF034

About Eirlys Jones

Eirlys is the Head of Operations at North Wales Tourism and can be contacted at eirlys.jones@nwt.co.uk or connect with her on LinkedIn you can also follow her on Twitter @EirlysJones5