Coronavirus update: For the latest updates on Coronavirus (COVID-19), visit the NHS website or view Brent-specific information.

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Businesses and employers

Support for businesses and employers

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.  

 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

All UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary.

HMRC will pay 80% of wages 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 about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

 

VAT and Income Tax payments

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.

Find out more about the support for businesses through delaying VAT and Income Tax payments.

 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - now open

The scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will open on 23 March 2020 and will provide loans of up to £5 million to support primarily small and medium-sized businesses.

Find out more about the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

 

Statutory Sick Pay Support

If you are a business with fewer than 250 employees, 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.

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.

 

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

Through the Small Business Grant Scheme, the Government will provide 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, you don’t need to do anything. We’ll contact you directly when we have more information.

Find out more about the support for businesses that pay little or no business rates.

 

Support for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that pay business rates

The Government is introducing a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2021-21 tax year.

If this applies to you, you don’t need to do anything as this will be automatically applied to your bill.

In addition, the Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme will provide businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

We’ll get in touch with you directly if you’re eligible for this grant.

Find out more about support for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that pay business rates

 

Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

The Government is introducing a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020-21 tax year.

If this applies to you, you don’t need to do anything as this will be automatically applied to your bill.

Find out more about the support for nursery businesses that pay business rates.

 

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

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

The Government will provide more information on how to access the scheme shortly.

Find out more about the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility.

 

Time To Pay

All businesses and self-employed people experiencing financial difficulties and with outstanding tax payments, may be eligible to receive tax support through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

Find out more about the Time To Pay service.

 

Adapting your business

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

Find out more about the Government’s plans to relax planning rules so pubs and restaurants can operate as takeaways.

If you would like to apply, call Brent Council’s Planning Team on 020 8937 5210.

 

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 

 

Get advice and support

If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice from Monday to Friday, 8am-8pm and Saturday 8am-4pm (not available on Bank Holidays) - 0800 015 9559.

You can also contact the Government’s Business Support Helpline for free advice and financial help from Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm - 0300 456 3565.

 

Businesses not complying with Government guidelines

New measures announced by the Prime Minister on Monday 23 March, will mean businesses across Brent - with the exception of supermarkets, pharmacies and other essential services - will close, for at least three weeks.

A full list of business types that must remain closed and exemptions, is available on the Government's website

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

 

 

The 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. Find out more about the scheme

 

Frequently Asked Questions

The government has announced all non-essential shops must close? Am I essential?

A full list of businesses that the government has said must close and those that can remain open is available here.

If you are a pub, restaurant or café, the Government has temporarily relaxed planning rules to allow you 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.

 

I am struggling to pay my staff. Is my only option to make them unemployed?

No. The Government is urging business not to make staff unemployed and has set up a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help. All UK employers will be able to access this to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been made unemployed off during this crisis.

You will need to designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify them of this change (for legal reasons) then submit this information to HMRC, together with their earnings through a new online portal (which is currently being set up). HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Click here to find out more. 

 

I am a small/medium sized business. What cash grants are available?

The Chancellor has announced £330bn in loans to help businesses pay for supplies, rent and salaries. There will be:

  • Small business cash grants up to £10,000 for businesses paying little/no business rates (a rateable value under £15,000)
  • Cash grants up to £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000

Detailed guidance on cash grants will be made available by the Government to local authorities in April. Local authorities will then administer the scheme and provide the funding. You do not need to apply - we will contact business directly about this.

 

Will I be able to take out a loan to help cover me?

Yes. The Government has set up a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme for small and medium-sized businesses with a turnover under £45 million per year who are experiencing cash flow problems due to lost or deferred revenues from coronavirus.  

The scheme provides you with a Government-backed, partial guarantee (80%) against the outstanding facility balance and allows you to access up to £5 million of bank lending and overdrafts, available on repayment terms of up to six years. The Government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees so you will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.

Business can apply for the loan now through 40 accredited lenders listed on the British Business Bank website, which also includes full rules of the scheme. Click here to find out more.

 

I’m a large business, what support is available to me?

Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies. This will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.

The Government will be providing further details on how to access the scheme shortly. Click here for further information.

 

What support can I get to pay my business rates?

The Government is introducing a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by us as soon as possible.

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied properties that are wholly or mainly being used:

  •          as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  •          for assembly and leisure
  •          as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

If you are one of these businesses, there is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. As a local authority, we may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge. We will do this as soon as possible. Click here for guidance for employers and businesses and click here for business rates retail discount guidance.

 

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. Click here for more information.

 

I am struggling to pay my commercial rent, will I be evicted?

No. Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus are being protected from eviction. The Government recognises businesses are struggling with their cashflow and have included a measure in the new Coronavirus Bill that no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next three months. You will still be liable for the rent after this period. If you can continue to pay your rent with help from a Government cash grant or using the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, then please do so. Click here for more information.

 

Where can I get advice on paying tax?

HMRC operates a Time to Pay service and has a set up a telephone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus. Please call 0800 0159 559 or click here for more information.

 

Will my insurance policy cover me for Coronavirus?

Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics. However, insurance policies differ significantly, so please check the terms and conditions of your specific policy and contact your provider. Click here for more information.

 

How can I reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19?

If you are a small or medium-sized and employing fewer than 250 employees you will be eligible to reclaim SSP. The refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee. Please ensure you are maintaining records of staff absences and payments of SSP. The Government will set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Click here for more information.

 

I run or would like to run a takeaway service but I need delivery drivers. What can I do? 

If you haven’t signed up to such a service yet and think they can help you get through this period, then there are a number of delivery providers who will be able to assist. Terms and conditions vary according to which provider you choose.

 

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