Keeping you informed of updates in the local, regional and national economy.
Business Support for COVID-19
The Chancellor has set out a package of support measures for businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. The information we have received so far is as follows, but please keep an eye on the GOV.UK and the Mole Valley District Council websites for updates.
Business Rates relief
A full Business Rates discount applies to the 2020/21 tax year for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. If your business falls into one of these categories please do not make a payment. In addition, there is a £5,000 discount for pubs with a rateable value under £100,000. Affected businesses will be rebilled by Mole Valley District Council as soon as possible.
Relaxation of planning rules
Planning rules will be relaxed so pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways. The Government will set out measures to enable businesses to deliver this service without a planning application for a period of up to 12 months. Businesses will be required to tell the local planning authority when the new use begins and ends.
Grants for small businesses - Claim Now!
Eligible businesses can now make claims for the Small Business Grant Scheme and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Scheme. These one-off cash grants will give eligible businesses either £10,000 or £25,000 to help meet their ongoing business costs. Eligible businesses will be contacted directly by MVDC by letter. More information and eligibility criteria can be viewed on our website at molevalley.gov.uk/coronavirus_business_support
Applications now open for the Coast to Capital Backing Business Grants fund. This is a £2 million fund that has been set up to provide grants to independent small businesses and social enterprises (excluding charities) in our area who have been affected by COVID-19. They aim to help up to 400 organisations in the Coast to Capital area including Mole Valley. Grants of £5,000-£25,000 to fund specific measures will be available to help businesses adapt, evolve and innovate to the various economic impacts brought about by the pandemic. https://www.coast2capital.org.uk/backing-business-grants
Business Interruption Loan Scheme
This Scheme is being introduced to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance. The Government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The Government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. The first six months of the finance will be interest-free.
The Scheme will be delivered by the British Business Bank through participating providers (due to launch the week commencing 23 March) to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The Scheme provides the lender with a government-backed guarantee against the outstanding facility balance, potentially enabling a ‘no’ credit decision from a lender to become a ‘yes’.
Support for larger firms
To support larger firms, the Bank of England has announced a new lending facility (the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility) to provide a quick and cost effective way to raise working capital via the purchase of short-term debt. This will support companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, enabling them to continue financing their short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms. Further details, including on how to access this funding will follow in the coming days, and the scheme will be available from the week commencing 23 March.
Time to Pay Scheme
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 HM Revenue and Customs’ Time to Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. The HMRC dedicated helpline is 0800 0159 559.
Support for the Self-employed
The Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus. This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next three months. This may be extended if needed.
If you have not submitted your Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, you must do this by 23 April 2020. Otherwise you will not be able to apply for SEISS.
Statutory Sick Pay relief
Small and medium-sized businesses and employers will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The Government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Anyone not eligible to receive sick pay, including those earning less than an average of £118 per week, some of those working in the gig economy, or self-employed people, is able to claim Universal Credit and or contributory Employment and Support Allowance. The Universal Credit helpline is 0800 328 5644. Statutory Sick Pay will be paid from day one instead of day four for those affected by COVID-19.
Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses should check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their insurance adviser or broker. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies mostly exclude pandemics. Please see guidance from the Association of British Insurers for further information.
Evictions, Accounts and Annual Leave
Below is a round up of additional measures introduced over the last week to support businesses:
Annual Leave Rules Relaxed: Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to Coronavirus will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years. More info >>
Ban on Commercial tenant evictions: Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. These measures, included in the emergency Coronavirus Bill currently going through Parliament, will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next three months. As commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent after this period, the Government is also actively monitoring the impact on commercial landlords' cash flow and continues to be in dialogue with them. Find out more >>
Extension to file accounts: From 25 March 2020, businesses will be able to apply for a 3-month extension for filing their accounts. This joint initiative between the government and Companies House will mean businesses can prioritise managing the impact of Coronavirus. Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system which will take just 15 minutes to complete. Guidance can be found here >>
From Leatherhead & District Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber of Commerce is offering all businesses operating in Mole Valley FREE membership for a six month period in order to help them expand their contact base. For more details please refer to the Chamber web site: www.leatherheadchamber.co.uk