Latest Information for Businesses

For businesses seeking grant funding related to COVID-19, information is available here

We are working with our local high street shops so they can reopen safely. For businesses seeking guidance, please visit the We Are Back website here

Covid-19 Guidance for Businesses 

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced extra help for  businesses in the 2020 Budget and in a series of follow-up statements from 17th March onwards. Information covered by this guidance includes a package of measures to support businesses including:
 
  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - Claim for 80% of your employee’s wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions, if you have put them on furlough because of coronavirus (COVID-19). The online application form is now live – see link in Related Content.
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments - please use this link
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) - please visit this link
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England*
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief* - This scheme is now closed to applications
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000* - This scheme is now closed to applications
  • a scheme to support the UK’s self-employed – A second grant of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme is now open. If you’re eligible and your business has been adversely affected on or after 14th July 2020, you must make your claim for the second grant on or before 19th October 2020.  To check your eligibility, please click this link first, then access the online application service
  • Discretionary Business Grants Scheme: Rochford District Council has been allocated a limited pot of government funding to support certain businesses and charities which have been impacted by COVID-19, but were not eligible for either the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund or the Small Business Grant Fund. Applications for Round 1 of this scheme launched on1st June, and closed on14th June. A second round ran between 3rd July until 10th July. Grants of up to £10,000 were available and based upon applicants meeting a number of criteria. Rochford Discretionary Business Grants Scheme – This scheme is now closed and all funds have been awarded.
  • Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) - The Bounce Back Loan scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan. Any business that has already taken out a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan of £50,000 or less can apply to have this switched over to this new scheme. Apply for it using this link. Closing Date: 4th November 2020
  • Future Fund – This scheme will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access the CBIL Scheme. Use link for further informationThe scheme has been extended and is now open for new applications until 30th November 2020.
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). This scheme will help any viable business with a turnover of up to £45m to access government-backed finance of up to £5 million, available on repayment terms of up to six years. Interest payments and any lender-levied fees for businesses will be covered by the Government for an initial period of up to 12 months. Please visit website using this linkClosing Date now extended: 30th November 2020 
  • the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS). This scheme will help any viable businesses with turnover of more than £45 million per year to access government-backed finance of up to £25 million and firms with a turnover of more than £250 million can apply for up to £50 million of finance. The government provides lenders with an 80% guarantee on individual loans. Apply using this link.
  • The Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) The Bank of England will buy short-term debt from large companies. This scheme will support your company if it’s 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. Please see further information here using this link.
  • Changes to Insolvency laws.***

Please see link to all government guidance on financial support for businesses here

 

*Business Rates
The Council’s latest information on Business Rates Reliefs and Business Grants can be found here 
 

***Changes to Insolvency laws

The UK’s Insolvency Framework will add new restructuring tools that mirror the USA’s Chapter 11 procedure, a well-established model adopted by countries around the world.  This includes:
  • A moratorium for companies giving them breathing space for from creditors enforcing their debts for a period of time whilst they seek a rescue or restructure;
  • Protection of their supplies to enable them to continue trading during the moratorium; and;
  • A new restructuring plan, binding creditors to that plan
The proposals also include key safeguards for creditors and suppliers to ensure they are paid, while existing laws against fraudulent trading and the threat of director disqualification will continue to act as an effective deterrent against reckless misuse of these new measures.
 
The Government will also temporarily suspend the wrongful trading provisions to give company directors greater confidence to use their best endeavours to continue to trade during this pandemic emergency, without the threat of personal liability, should the company ultimately fall into insolvency.
 

Businesses and venues that must remain closed to members of the public

The 'Closing certain businesses and venues in England' guidelines have been updated to further clarify the requirements of The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020. Please check them here
 
Other measures the government have introduced to assist businesses are:-

Rules that have been relaxed to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic

A list of the rules that have been temporarily relaxed to make it easier for businesses to continue working through the disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) are listed on the following webpage - follow this link

Extra protection for businesses with ban on evictions for commercial tenants who miss rent payments

Commercial tenants will be protected from the risk of eviction until the end of 2020 as the Government extends the existing scheme. This extension will protect businesses that are struggling to pay their rent due to the impact of COVID-19 from being evicted. The Government will also extend the restriction on landlords using Commercial Rents Arrears Recovery to enforce unpaid rent on commercial leases, until the end of the year. The guidance is clear both landlords and tenants should continue to work together to agree rent payment options if businesses are struggling. In June, the government published a Code of Practice to support these discussions: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-practice-for-the-commercial-property-sector