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Businesses and employers

Latest information, advice and support, including how to apply for Government grants.

The Government has announced measures to support public services, businesses and people through the coronavirus pandemic.

More information on these measures can be found below and on the Government's Business Support webpage.

The Government’s Business Support Helpline provides free advice and financial help from Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm. Telephone number for helpline: 0800 998 1098.

The Government’s new support finder tool also helps businesses and self-employed people across Brent quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic.


Brent’s Local Authority Discretionary Grant Scheme

If you are a small business in Brent that has been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, you may be eligible for a grant of £5,000 to help cover your fixed costs.


Business support grants

The Small Business Grant Scheme provides a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for small business rate relief, rural rate relief or tapered relief to help them meet ongoing business costs.

If you are eligible for the Small Business Grant, then to receive this payment you must complete the Small Business Grant form.

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

If you are eligible for the Retail and Hospitality Grant, then to receive this grant, you must complete the Retail and Hospitality Grant form.

These grant payments are administered by the council and come with no admin charge, so beware organisations offering the grant for a fee. 

Under the scheme, the grants are only payable to the company/person paying the business rates.

Please take care when entering your information to avoid any delays in payment and make a note of the reference number given at the end of the form, as it is not emailed through after completion. There are currently two payment runs each week.

Find out more about the grant guidance for businesses.

Received a text from the London Borough of Brent about Business Support Grants?

We have (as of 13 May) started texting businesses we believe are eligible for a grant and who have not yet applied, to direct them only to this webpage you are viewing, provide their details via the links above, and receive the support they are entitled to. 


Business rates holiday

The Government has 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. If this applies to you, there is no need to do anything as this will be automatically applied to your bill.

Find out more about the business rates holiday and if you are eligible for it.


Bounce back loans

The Government has launched a new quick and easy loan scheme for small businesses with a simple online form and the money promised in your account within days.

100% government guaranteed loans between £2,000 and £50,000 are now available with no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms are up to six years with no repayments due during the first 12 months.

Apply for a bounce back loan.


Business interruption loans

The Government has two additional schemes offering larger loans depending on the turnover of your businesses. These are delivered by the British Business Bank with over 50 lenders participating, including all the main retail banks.

Businesses with a turnover under £45m can apply to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) for a 100% guaranteed loan of up to £5m to help with cash flow.

Find out more and apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Businesses with a turnover over £45m can apply for a 80% guaranteed loan of up to £25m to the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) whilst those with a turnover over £250m can apply for a 80% guaranteed loan of £50m where they are unable to secure regular commercial financing.

Find out more and apply for the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme.


Job retention scheme

All UK employers who are registered for PAYE will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary.

This process, also known as ‘furloughing’ allows HMRC to pay 80% of wages, plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions, for those employees that would otherwise have been made unemployed during this crisis, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

Find out more and claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.


Statutory sick pay support

If you are a business with fewer than 250 employees and an existing PAYE payroll, you will be able to claim back up to two weeks' Statutory Sick Pay per employee if they have been off work because of coronavirus on or after 13 March 2020.

The Government is setting this up and we’ll share more details about how businesses can claim this money back when we can.

Find out more about Statutory Sick Pay Support.


Corporate financing facility

The Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies if affected by a short-term funding squeeze.

Find out more about the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility, including if you are eligible.


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.

This temporary scheme will provide a taxable grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their average monthly profits in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether.

Find out more about the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.


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


VAT and Income Tax payments and support

The Government has pushed back the due date for Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for three months to 30 June 2020.

If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be pushed back to January 2021.

This will happen automatically so you do not need to do anything.

If you pay your tax bill by self assessment you can delay making the second payment on account from 31 July to until 31 January 2021.

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-Friday 8am-4pm on 0800 024 1222.

If you are unable to pay your tax bill get tax support.

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

 


Frequently Asked Questions


Can I open my business on 4 July 2020? 

Many businesses can reopen on 4 July including pubs, restaurants, hotels, cinemas, hairdressers and barbershops if they have put Covid-19 safety practises in place.

The Government has already allowed outdoor markets and car showrooms to reopen since 1 June, and from 15 June, all other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, toys, furniture, books, shoes, antiques, cards and gifts, mobile telephone and electrical appliances, craft and hobby shops as well as charity shops, photography studios and indoor markets can open - as long as they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines and conduct a specific risk assessment to ensure the safety of staff and customers.

Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services:

Guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services was updated on 23 June to expand guidance on takeaways to venues providing service at the venue ahead of planned opening, reflect guidance on support bubbles, social distancing, test and trace and feedback from industry.

This applies to any food preparation or service setting where food and drink is sold for consumption at venues or for takeaway or delivery. For example, restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars, beer gardens, food to go, social and similar clubs operating as bars and restaurants, mobile catering and contract catering or similar environments where food and drink is purchased and consumed at a venue in their indoor or outdoor areas or offered for takeaway or delivery.

This guidance also considers entertainment in pubs, bars and restaurants and similar venues where food or drink is served, provided they meet current government criteria for safe reopening.

Hotels, guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, business events and consumer shows:

The visitor economy guidance link offers guidance.

Hairdressers, barbershops, beauty and nail bars, makeup, tattoo and spray tanning studios, spas, sports and massage therapy, well-being and holistic locations, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers:

The close contact services guidance applies to hairdressers and barbershops who can reopen from 4 July 2020, but is also intended to assist other close contact services (which must remain closed until further notice), to prepare for reopening.


Which businesses must remain closed from 4 July:

For the time being, certain businesses and venues will still be required by law to stay closed to the public. From 4 July, these closed businesses and venues will include:

  • bowling alleys and indoor skating rinks
  • casinos
  • exhibition or conference centres - where they are to be used for exhibitions or conferences
  • indoor fitness and dance studios, and indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities
  • indoor play areas including soft-play
  • massage, tattoo and piercing parlours
  • nail bars, beauty salons and tanning salons
  • nightclubs
  • spas
  • swimming pools and water parks

The guidance 'closing certain businesses and venues in England' is expected to be updated in due course.


How can my business work safely during COVID-19?

The Government has provided specific guidelines to working safely during the COVID-19 crisis for different sectors of the economy.

These guidelines include advice and information for businesses on social distancing, carrying out risk assessments in accordance with Health and Safety Executive, PPE, customer safety, employee safety, and more.

The latest GOV.UK guidelines for safely reopening your business are below;

If you are aware of a Brent business not following these guidelines, please report it immediately by emailing trading.standards@brent.gov.uk 


Can I provide a takeaway service from my pub or restaurant?

Yes. The Government has announced a relaxation of planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate as hot food takeaways during the coronavirus outbreak for a period of up to 12 months.

The measures will apply to hot food and drinks. Licensed business will also be allowed to serve alcohol off-premises within your current hours of operation. Non-licensed businesses will not be able to serve alcohol.

If you would like to operate as a hot food takeaway, please call Brent’s planning team on 020 8937 5210.

There are a number of well-known commercial delivery services which you can sign up to assist with delivery drivers and online payments. Terms and conditions vary according to which provider you choose.


What is a Covid-19 Risk Assessment?

All businesses must carry out a health and safety risk assessment looking at what could cause harm to staff and customers and what they can do to reduce the risk of harm. The control of Covid-19 transmission by social distancing and infectious disease control is now a hazard that must be considered within this risk assessment and businesses must demonstrate what practices are in place to control this and in some instances, this must be documented.  In addition to the Government and Public Health England guidance businesses can visit The Health and Safety Executive website to help them develop documentation/procedures for Covid-19. 

To support your risk assessment please refer to the documents on:

Click here for more information on Health and Safety in the workplace.


Which business are not eligible for the business rates holiday?

The following businesses are not eligible: banks; building societies; cash points; bureaux de change; payday lenders; betting shops; pawnbrokers; employment agencies; vets; dentists; doctors; osteopaths; chiropractors; solicitors; accountants; insurance agents; financial advisers; tutors; post office sorting offices; casinos and gambling clubs. 

Find out more about eligibility.


I am struggling to pay my commercial rent, what do I do?

Commercial tenants unable to pay rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction if they miss a payment in the next 3 months. The government has further announced businesses will be protected from aggressive rent collection and asked to pay what they can during the coronavirus pandemic.

Please note, however, that you will still be liable for the rent after the deferral period and we encourage you to enter into dialogue with your landlord to come to a suitable payment agreement and to always prioritise your rent payments.


What support is available for creative and cultural industries?

At the end of April, the Mayor of London launched a £2.3m Culture at Risk Business Support Fund to support London’s creative and cultural industries at risk due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Support will be given to grassroots music venues, LGBTQ+ venues, artist workspaces and independent cinemas across the capital that are most at risk of falling into administration and unable to benefit from Government schemes. This will include:

  • £450,000 to the Music Venue Trust to support up to 147 grassroots music venues
  • £225,000 to support up to 56 LGBTQ+ venues in partnership with the LGBTQ+ Venues Forum
  • £1.5m to the Creative Land Trust to support thousands of tenants across 200 artist studios workspaces
  • £150,000 to the BFI to help up to 25 of London’s treasured independent cinemas.

Are there any initiatives to help me bring in cash whilst my business is closed?

The Mayor of London has launched the Pay it Forward crowdfunding platform to enable Londoners to help keep their favourite local businesses stay afloat during the current pandemic. The platform offers 100% free fundraising to help businesses secure trade by pre-selling vouchers, goods and services, which customers can later enjoy when things get back to normal.


Support from other organisations

There are a number of other organisations offering various forms of business support, among them are:

West London Business

Federation of Small Businesses

London Growth Hub

 

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