COVID-19 Financial Help

The Government has developed three Online Assessment Tools to help businesses:

Business Support Finder. This tool allows employers and the self employed, including sole traders and limited company directors to determine their eligibility for loans, tax relief and cash grants.

(For information, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme claim service is now accepting the second round of applications. Eligible self-employed applicants may apply to receive a second and final government grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, up to £6,570).

Business Risk Assessment. This tool is to help business operators develop a risk assessment tailored to the specific circumstances of their business and provides advice on how work practices can be changed to mitigate any risks identified.

Employee Risk Assessment. This tool is to help employees determine whether they should be going back to work or whether they should continue to work from home and includes advice specifically for tourism related businesses.

A list of the rules that have been temporarily relaxed to make it easier for businesses to continue working through the disruption caused by COVID19 are here.

If your business is in distress, the Government have also published guidance on available support, restructuring and insolvency advice here.

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is encouraging businesses across England to contact their local Growth Hub, they can provide a free to use, impartial and local single point of contact to all businesses, so that they can access the right advice and support.  Find your local Growth Hub here.

BEIS has also created a Business Support Blog  and the Government has made available a list of additional resources that public bodies, organisations and charities are providing and a list of trade and business organisations that are providing sector-specific advice on Covid-19.

HMRC have implemented a new phone service for businesses that want to make a voluntary repayment of any money that has been overpaid through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and where the company is not submitting anther claim. The number is  0300 322 9430

Recent Funding Announcements

The Government has announced a £20 million fund to support the recovery of small and medium-sized businesses in England. Businesses will be eligible to receive grants between £1,000 – £5,000 to help them access technology, equipment or professional advice as they plan for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The government’s £500 million Future Fund has opened for applications. UK-based companies can now apply for a convertible loan of between £125,000 and £5 million, to support continued growth and innovation.

An additional £20million has been committed to the Fast Start Competition for innovative businesses and start-ups driving forward new technological advances.

The intergovernmental organisation EUROCONTROL has announced a £1.1 billion support package for air navigation service providers across the UK and Europe.

The Government has announced a new package to support  small businesses in tourist destinations. Grants of up to £5,000 will be available to help adapt businesses following the coronavirus pandemic. The funding will be able to be used to pay for specialist professional advice, to adopt new technology and online systems or to purchase new equipment. Funding will be allocated to each Local Growth Hub based on how much of their employment base is linked to tourism and hospitality businesses.

The Government has announced that organisations across a range of sectors including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will be able to access a £1.57bn package of emergency grants and loans.  This includes a Culture Recovery Fund administered by The Arts Council which offers financial support for cultural organisations that were financially stable before the pandemic but are now at imminent risk of failure. Historic England is administering a Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage.

DCMS have published guidance that pulls together the various schemes under the £1.57bn Cultural recovery Fund that are open for applications at the moment.

Local Government Income Compensation Scheme

The Government has produced guidance on a new income loss scheme that will compensate for irrecoverable and unavoidable losses from sales, fees and charges income generated in the delivery of services, in the financial year 2020/21. The guidance suggests that this might be applicable for local authority DMOs  which generate revenue through retail sales or commissions.

New leadership programmes to help small business leaders

 The government has announced two new training programmes for small businesses on management, productivity and problem-solving skills.

VAT Payments

All businesses with a UK VAT registration have the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June. Businesses have until 31 March 2021 to pay any deferred VAT.  Click here for more information.

Is there any guidance if my business trades internationally?

If your business trades internationally, you can access guidance here.

Rent Payments

Extra protection has been announced for commercial tenants to protect them from eviction if they are unable to pay rent because of coronavirus.

The Government has also extended measures to prevent struggling companies from eviction until the end of September. A new code of practice has been developed with the retail, hospitality and property sectors to provide clarity for businesses when discussing rental payments and to encourage best practice so that all parties are supported.

Reduced VAT rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions

Guidance is now available, following the government’s announcement that VAT registered businesses may apply a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT to certain supplies relating to hospitality, hotel and holiday accommodation and admission to certain attractions. The temporary reduced rate may be applied between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021.

Eligible attractions for the temporary reduced rate of VAT include shows, theatres, circuses, fairs, amusement parks, concerts, museums, zoos, cinemas, exhibitions and other cultural events and facilities, but do not include admission to sporting events. Live performances that charge a fee to view online may be eligible, depending on circumstances and assuming they are not already covered by a Cultural VAT exemption. Find more information about which attractions are eligible for the reduced rate of VAT.

Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

Businesses that sell food for immediate consumption on-premises are eligible to register with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme, designed to incentivise customers by offering a discount on food that they can later claim back from the government. The discount can be applied to food and non-alcoholic drinks sold for immediate consumption, up to a maximum £10 per diner (inclusive of VAT). Further information is available about which businesses and sales are eligible, how to apply the discount and how to register your restaurant or eating establishment for the scheme.

The Tourism Alliance have informed us that they have received clarification from the Treasury that packaged products that include food and drink are not eligible for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme – this includes B&Bs, package offers at hotels and dinner cruises.  However, these products can be eligible if they are unbundled. So a Bed and Breakfast that charges £80/night could charge £60 for the accommodation and £20 for the breakfast and claim back £10

Trade Credit Insurance guarantee

Businesses with supply chains which rely on Trade Credit Insurance and who are experiencing difficulties maintaining cover due to Coronavirus will get support from the government in the form of a guarantee. The plan is for agreements to be in place with insurers by the end of May and that it will provisionally last until the end of the year. 

What changes have been made to insolvency law?

The Government has amended insolvency law to help companies keep trading while they explore options for rescue. The Insolvency Act will be temporarily suspended specifically to give confidence to directors to continue trading without the threat of personal liability, should the company ultimately fall into insolvency.

Is there any financial help specifically for Destination Management/Marketing Organisations?

A £1.3 million scheme has been announced by the Tourism Minister, Nigel Huddleston, which will provide financial support to DMOs. The funding is available to at-risk DMOs in England which usually receive at least 50% of their income from commercial sources.  Find out how to apply on VisitEngland’s website

Is there any help for charities?

The Government has collated all the advice and support available to the Charity Sector together on one page. This includes guidance for workers, volunteers, fundraising and funding opportunities.

Guidance for businesses seeking to help voluntary, community, and social enterprise organisations during the coronavirus outbreak has also been published.

Is there any help for zoos and aquariums? 

Zoos and Aquariums are able to apply for a grant of up to £100,000 to maintain the welfare of animals. The amount an operator can receive will be based on the animals’ needs and can cover animal-care costs that cannot be lowered.

I own and run self catering holiday cottages.  What help is available for my business?

The Professional Association of Self Caterers (PASC) has set up a website to provide support and information for self-catering businesses regardless of whether they are members.

Is there any financial help specifically for the heritage sector?

Yes. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has put together a £50million fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Further financial support for tourism businesses in Scotland

Larger hotels in Scotland who have been affected by the pandemic can benefit from a support programme which closes for applications on 9 September. 

VisitScotland have also announced the details of a £6 million fund to help the events sector.

Read more….

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Chancellor announces additional support to protect businesses

Elman Wall – 13 ways to prepare for the Coronavirus economy

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