Coronavirus business support and advice

Current national guidelines for businesses

From 30 November 2021, there are some places where face coverings must be worn by law, unless you are exempt or have a reasonable excuse. This includes shops and shopping centres. Face coverings must be worn by staff working in indoor settings where it is legally required to wear face coverings and where staff come into direct contact with the public.

Face coverings are not legally required in hospitality settings given that they cannot be worn while eating and drinking.

View the list of places where it is legally required to wear a face covering.

All businesses are able to open, including nightclubs. All capacity limits at sporting, entertainment, or business events have been lifted. Hospitality venues such as pubs, restaurants and bars are no longer required to provide table service or follow other social distancing rules.

Read further guidance for businesses and venues on gov.uk

To help manage cases of COVID-19, businesses are encouraged to keep their Test & Trace ‘check in’ systems after restrictions are lifted. Businesses are also encouraged to use the NHS COVID Pass in high-risk settings. 

Guidance for employers and businesses

Managing the risk of COVID-19

The Government have produced a series of guidelines to help businesses reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

View the ‘Working Safely during coronavirus’ guides.

Businesses can print and display face covering posters in their store to remind customers to wear face coverings.

Risk assessment

Even when restrictions are relaxed on 19 July, businesses still have a legal duty to manage health and safety risks. This can be done through a health and safety risk assessment that includes the risk of COVID-19 and what you have done to reduce this risk. You can use the ‘Working Safely during coronavirus’ guides to help understand what actions your business can take to protect yourself, your staff and your customers from COVID-19. 

If you have fewer than 5 workers, or are self-employed, you don’t have to write anything down as part of your risk assessment.

There are resources to help you with your risk assessment from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 

If you have any questions about the Covid secure and working safely government guidelines please direct these to HSE Covid-19 enquiries on 0300 790 6787 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 8pm) or via their working safely enquiry form

NHS Test and Trace guidance

Businesses are no longer legally required to collect customer contact details. However, businesses are encouraged to continue asking customers to check into their venue to help manage COVID-19 cases. You can allow people to check in by displaying the NHS QR code poster or record their details on your own system.

Create your QR code poster for the NHS COVID-19 app

Coronavirus disinfection service for businesses

If you need to re-open your business to staff or the public, help prevent the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) by booking a deep clean service.

Our experienced Hygiene Services and Pest Control team are now offering a

Help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by booking a deep clean service.

Financial support for businesses and the self-employed

Visit GOV.UK for more information about government measures to support business, employers and the self- employed.

You can also find out what financial support your business is eligible for.


National and local restrictions business grants

There are currently no business grants open for application.

For the latest business-related news, including updates on grants, sign up to Brent Council’s business newsletter. (Choose 'Brent Business Newsletter' from the list.)

You can also find further business support, resources and events at London Business Hub.

Government financial support finder tool

The government has launched a tool to help businesses work out what coronavirus financial support they might be eligible for. Answer a series of questions about your business and you will be signposted to a list of support you may be entitled to.

Business rates holiday

The Government introduced a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses (expanded to include estate agents, letting agents, bingo halls and nurseries) in England for the 2020-21 tax year.

The business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses has been extended until the end of June 2021. Bills will be issued on 30 June 2021. The relief from 1 July 2021 will be shown on the bill.

If you have any questions, contact the business rates team

Job retention scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021. From 1 July 2021, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough.

From 1 August 2021, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a maximum cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee is on furlough.

For claims from 1st July 2021, employers must top up employees’ wages to make sure they receive 80% of their wages (up to £2,500) for the hours they are on furlough. The caps are proportional to the hours not worked.

Find out more about how the scheme is changing.

 

Statutory sick pay support

If you are a small to medium-sized business, you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay Support (SSP) paid for staff sickness absence due to coronavirus. This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of coronavirus if

  • you have already paid your employee’s sick pay
  • you’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes

Self-employment income support

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 if you think that your business profit will be impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) between 1 May 2021 and 30 September 2021. The online service to claim the grant will be available from late July 2021. You’ll need to confirm that you meet other eligibility criteria when you make your claim. You must make your claim on or before 30 September 2021.

VAT and Income Tax payment and support

The VAT deferral payment scheme has now closed.

Businesses that deferred VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 were able to either:

  • pay in full by 31 March 2021
  • join the online payment scheme by 21 June 2021 to spread payments of deferred VAT over smaller, interest free instalments
  • contact HMRC to make an arrangement to pay by 30 June 2021

Any deferred VAT that is outstanding after 30 June 2021 will be treated as debt and may be subject to a penalty.

Get support if you can’t pay your tax bills

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. Call HMRC’s helpline: Monday to Friday between 8am and 4pm on 0800 024 1222.

HMRC also has a Self Assessment Payment Helpline, available Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm on 0300 200 3822.

Kickstart scheme in Brent

We are looking for employers and other partners to work with us to create government-funded work placements for young people in Brent aged 16-24. Government Kickstart funding will cover the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

On top of the wage subsidy, £1,500 per job placement is paid to employers for setup costs, support and training. Brent Works can support all employers get set up on this scheme and find suitable candidates who are eligible for these Kickstart jobs.

To register your interest, please email: brent.works@brent.gov.uk or call 0208 937 6295.

If your organisation is creating more than 30 job placements as part of the Kickstart Scheme, you can apply directly to the Department of Work and Pensions.

Insurance

Most businesses are unlikely to be covered through their insurance policy for coronavirus, as normally business interruption insurance policies take into account things like damage to property and not pandemics. However, insurance policies can differ, so please check the terms and conditions of your specific policy and speak to your provider. If your insurers require a letter from the council advising the closure of your business, please email finance2@brent.gov.uk

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