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Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Support for businesses inc. Business Rates and Grants

Last updated: 26 March 2020

Nottingham City Council understands the impact the COVID pandemic is having on you as a member of our business community. This is a priority for us, we have increased the number of staff working on this and are working hard to support you during these uncertain times.

Please note that if you are eligible for Business Rates relief, you don’t need to do anything, Nottingham City Council will contact you directly.

If due to COVID 19 you are experiencing financial difficulties paying your Council Tax you can find more information here.

New government guidance has been issued to support those affected by COVID 19 which can be accessed on the government website.

There is also support for employees who are laid off as a result of COVID-19, it can be found on the Nottingham Jobs page here.

For those of working age in receipt of Council Tax support, this will continue and is captured in your 2020/21 bills that have been issued.

Any increased eligibility for additional reductions, due to new government guidance, will be automatically adjusted and you will be sent an updated bill. You do not need to do anything. Your bills will be reissued in April and for those paying by direct debit we will update you in the coming days.

Forthcoming support for self-employed individuals

On Thursday 26 March, the Chancellor announced support for people who are self-employed individuals whose income has been negatively affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. 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.

HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000.

Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational.

The income support scheme will cover the three months to May. Grants will be paid in a single lump sum instalment covering all 3 months, and will start to be paid at the beginning of June. The government has indicated that in the meanwhile, those needing financial support should access Universal Credit and local schemes for hardship relief, such as Council Tax relief.

Self-employed people who are eligible for the new scheme will be able to apply directly to HMRC for the taxable grant, using a simple online form, with the cash being paid directly into people’s bank account.

More information about how to access information around the scheme and associated support can be found from the government below.

Information on the scheme, eligibility and access to the scheme

Self-employment Income Support Scheme FAQs

Press release from the government regarding the scheme

Announcement from the Chancellor launching the scheme

Support to find work, claim benefits or get help

Advice on claiming Universal Credit during the Coronavirus pandemic

Contact our Council Tax scheme for support

 

This page will be updated regularly as new information is provided

Last updated: 27 March 2020

Business Rates Information

If you think you are eligible for the cash grants (£10,000 or £25,000) you do not need to do anything. We will write to you if you are eligible for this grant once details have been provided to us by the Government.

Regarding Business Rates holidays - there is no action for you. If you are eligible, we will issue a revised bill in April to confirm there are no business rates to pay in 2020/21.

Bills have already been issued for 2020/21 but for those businesses affected by the changes above of which the City Council will implement, your bills will be reissued during April 2020 and we advise that no payments should be made in April 2020. Direct Debits due throughout April for 2020/21 bills will not be called.

For those that are not affected by the below or will be claiming directly from central government please continue under current payment arrangements.

Business Rates holiday for Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for the tax year 2020/21

This extends current Retail Discount scheme from 50% reduction to 100% and extends business to include leisure and hospitality sectors for 2020/21.

Those businesses eligible for the newly expanded retail discount and/or the new pubs discount will not need to apply, it will be applied automatically to accounts.

This previously was limited to those businesses in the scheme with a rateable value of £51k or below, this limit has now been removed.

Business rate holidays for nurseries for 2020/21

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be hereditaments:

  • Occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
  • Wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant in 2020/21.

For those businesses who are currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief there will be a one-off grant of £10,000 for businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

You do not need to do anything. Details and administration of this still to be confirmed but you will be contacted by your local authority if you are eligible.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

You will need to:

  • designated affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.
  • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

Latest details can be found on the Gov.UK webpage.

 

Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

Support to businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020

This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Income Tax

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.

Statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs

The government will bring forward legislation to allow small- and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

  1. this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
  2. employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  3. employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  4. employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
  5. eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolators comes into force
  6. the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP.

Cash grants for grants retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000 whether or not you are entitled to small business rate relief.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.

If you are currently receiving the retail discount for your Business Rates bill, you will receive a revised bill with 100% relief.

 

If your business occupies a property in the retail sector with a rateable value of £51,000 or more, or your business occupies a property in the leisure/hospitality sectors, you may also be eligible for the 100% discount on your business rates bill.

 

You do not need to do anything.  We are working on the application process and once this is set up, we will provide further details. We are also busy trying to stop the direct debits for eligible businesses for April 2020.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The new Scheme supports SMEs with access to working capital (including loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance) of up to £5 million in value and for up to 6 years.

The government will pay to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will not face any upfront costs and will benefit from lower initial repayments.

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.

This scheme is being delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the British Business Bank.

The scheme is now open for applications. You can find out the latest on the British Business Bank website.

Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

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 scheme will be available early in week beginning 23 March 2020.

Financial distress

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.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559.

Support through the D2N2 Growth Hub

In response to current situation, Nottingham City Council has increased the number of staff available to speak directly with businesses.

If you would like to speak to a business adviser about any other query not answered on this page, contact the D2N2 Growth Hub enquiry line on 0333 0069178 (lines are open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday) or complete an online enquiry form.

Employment support

Nottingham Jobs is the city council’s one stop service for people who are unemployed or looking for work. In partnership with the local Department for Works & Pensions (DWP) Job Centres, we can offer you one-to-one support over the phone or by email. During the Coronavirus outbreak, we are focused on recruitment to the following vital sectors; Health and Social Care, Retail, Logistics and Driving.

To find out more or speak to one of the team, contact 0115 876 4508 (lines are open 9am to 5pm daily) or email jobs.hub@nottinghamjobs.com

More information about employment support can be found here.

Advice Nottingham groups (CAB, Law Centre, St Ann’s Advice, Bestwood Advice, Meadows Advice, and Clifton Advice) are all still providing support with benefits, debt, housing and other difficulties. For the time being it is not provided face to face but by phone and email only. Full contact details can be found here

D2N2 Redundancy redeployment info for employers