Businesses and employers

Latest news and information on Covid-19 support for Brent businesses and employers. 

From Thursday 5 November, the latest lockdown restrictions for England mean that all non-essential services must close until Wednesday 2 December. 

More information on the government measures to support business, employers and the self- employed are available from gov.uk

You can also sign up for our Brent Business Newsletter to get the latest information.


Additional Restrictions Grant

If your business has been required to close due to the latest round of national restrictions, you may be eligible for financial support. 

The Additional Restrictions grant is now open

Local Restrictions Support Grant

The Local Restrictions Support Grant will support businesses that have been required to close due to the current National Lockdown, starting 5 November 2020. Your business may be eligible if it:

  • is based in England
  • occupies property on which it pays business rates (and is the ratepayer)
  • has been required to close because of the national restrictions
  • has been unable to provide its usual in-person customer service from its premises

This scheme is now open for applications.


You will find details of the existing financial support packages available, eligibility and how to apply, listed below.

Business Support Packages

Additional Restrictions Grant

Local Restrictions Support Grant

Kickstart scheme in Brent

Business rates holiday

Bounce back loans

Business interruption loans

Job retention scheme

Job retention bonus

Statutory sick pay support

Corporate financing facility

Self-employment income support

Insurance

VAT and Income Tax payment and support

NHS Test and Trace APP

Frequently Asked Questions


Kickstart scheme in Brent

The Kickstart Scheme is creating hundreds of thousands of high quality 6-month work placements for young people aged 16-24, who are claiming Universal Credit. The Government will fully fund each ‘Kickstart’ job and subsidise setup costs, support and training. Brent Works can support all employers get set up on this scheme find suitable candidates who are eligible for these Kickstart jobs.

To apply as a Kickstart Employer or for information, email Brent Works: brent.works@brent.gov.uk or call 0208 937 6295.


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 (Furlough)

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is being extended until 31 March 2021.

Employers must submit or change claims for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020 no later than 30 November 2020.

Any claims for furlough days in November 2020 must be submitted by 14 December 2020.


Statutory sick pay support

If you're an employer, the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will enable you to claim back employees' coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

You can claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP 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

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.

The grant is being extended from 1 November 2020, so 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

NHS Test and Trace App

The Government has announced that certain venues will now be legally required to display NHS COVID-19 app QR code posters in their venues. This includes all venues from the following sectors:

Hospitality, leisure and tourism, close contact services, places of worship and local authority venues.

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

There is also a helpful video explaining how to create a QR code.


Frequently Asked Questions 


Where can I find more information about Government covid-19 grants for my business?

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


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 business rates, what do I do?

If you have difficulties paying your business rates it is important that you contact us as soon as possible to see how we can help you. Please provide the following information so that we can deal with your enquiry promptly:

  • the full name of your business and the address, including the postcode
  • your business rate account reference number (an eight digit reference number starting with a 3)
  • a telephone number (so that we can contact you)
  • an email address (if you have one)

Please get in touch by emailing: nndr@brent.gov.uk


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 2020, 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 Business Hub including:

Power to Change - Community Business Renewal Initiative


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Covid-19 & Brexit Business Support Survey

Brent Council wants to identify the key issues and challenges that businesses, sole traders, and the self-employed face in the current climate, from the impact of Covid-19 to the upcoming Brexit implications. Tell us what you think by completing our short survey.

Things to do

Contact the Government’s Business Support Helpline 

Contact HMRC for advice about paying tax

Book a deep clean service to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus

Things to Read

Find out more about support for businesses

Read the full guidance for employers and businesses on COVID-19