Please find below an information pack on support available to businesses during the coronavirus crisis, reflecting recent Welsh and UK Government announcements. This is not a comprehensive document, and please check the Business Wales website for the most up-to-date information as it is updated regularly
The Welsh Government will be updating guidance for businesses regularly on the Business Wales website at: https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice
The UK and Devolved Government’s Coronavirus Action Plan can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan
UK Government Guidance for Employers: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
Advice for employers and employees from ACAS can be found here: https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus
Coronavirus advice – Business Wales
Any business affected should as a first port of call, contact the Business Wales telephone helpline on 0300 060 3000. They can help with practical advice on coronavirus related support, whether provided by the Welsh Government, the UK Government or elsewhere.
If you would like to receive updates from Newport City Council on support for business, you can visit the business support Facebook page for updates at www.facebook.com/newportcitycouncilbusinesssupport The Council also has a dedicated Covid19 page (https://www.newport.gov.uk/en/Council-Democracy/Coronavirus-COVID-19.aspx) with a section for business.
If you would like to receive updates from Monmouthshire County Council on support for business, visit www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/business-advice.
If you have any difficulties getting the support and signposting you need, please get back in touch with my office via firstname.lastname@example.org or John Griffiths AM via email@example.com
Caravan Parks, campsites and other tourism sites were closed in Wales on the 23 March.
Food and drink venues, pubs, bars, clubs, cinemas, casinos, gyms, museums, leisure centres, betting shops and galleries: as of 20 March 2020, all such businesses are to be closed under the Public Health Act 1984. Welsh Regulations allow those businesses that can, to operate as takeaways.
Any business that does not close as instructed risks permanently losing their license.
Summary table of support on offer
|100% business rates relief|
|Retail/leisure/hospitality||Rateable value £12,001 – £51,000
|ALL||Rateable value <=£12,000 and if receiving SBRR
|Pubs||Rateable value £51,000 – £100,000||100% relief.
|SMEs||Under 250 employees||2 weeks Statutory Sick Pay per employee with covid-19
|Larger firms||Bank of England Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility
|Firms employing people||Anyone on payroll as at March 1st, even if they’ve since been let go||Wage Support
80% of wages up to a max of £2,500
ALL FIRMS and self-employed
HMRC Time to Pay service
Suspension of VAT payments
80% of wages up to a max of £2,500
Self-Assessment Payments Deferred
Access to Universal Credit
Welsh Government Grants:
£10,000 – businesses with 9 or fewer employees, £100,000 – businesses of 10-250 employees
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The UK Government will cover up to 80% of employees’ wages for employees that would otherwise be laid off, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month per employee as a grant. You will need to pay your “furloughed” employees at the rate you claim. This wage support will last for at least 3 months. This can be backdated and apply to employees who were on payroll as of 28 February, even if they have since been let go.
Employers will need to:
a) designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change
b) submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (when it’s launched) including:
· ePAYE reference number
· number of employees being furloughed
· claim period start and end date
· amount claimed (minimum three weeks)
· bank account number and sort code
· contact name and phone number
This scheme applies to full time, part time, agency and zero hours employees. Where employees are on sick leave or self-isolating due to COVID-19, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is payable for that period, but they can be furloughed after this point. For anybody made redundant after 28 February 2020, their employer can agree to re-employ them and instead place them on furlough. Employees on unpaid leave cannot be furloughed, unless they were placed on unpaid leave after 28 February 2020.
Where individuals have been employed for a full year, their monthly earnings will be the higher of either:
· the amount earned in the same month the previous year
· the average of the monthly earnings from the last year
For those in employment for less than a year, employers will claim the average of the monthly earnings they’ve received since they started work.
Employees who have been furloughed retain the same employment rights, such as entitlement to SSP, maternity rights, other parental rights, redundancy payments and protection against unfair dismissal.
HMRC will administer the scheme which is currently being put in place. Details are here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
Payments received by businesses under the scheme must be included as income in the business’s calculation of its taxable profits for Income Tax and Corporation Tax purposes, in accordance with normal principles. Businesses can deduct employment costs as usual when calculating taxable profits for those same purposes.
Employers needing short term cash flow support to meet payroll costs in the meantime, may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (see below) which are now available or loans from Development Bank for Wales (see below).
UK Government has announced that VAT payments for the next quarter (Apr-Jun) will be deferred, to be paid by the end of the year.
Welsh Government Grants
The Welsh Government has announced a grants scheme for Welsh businesses hit by coronavirus, matching the support available in England.
A £25,000 grant for businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, with a rateable value of £12,001 – £51,000.
A £10,000 grant to all businesses eligible for small business rates relief with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.
Payment arrangements will be automatic and eligible business should already have received notification of the £10,000 grant from the local authority with notification of the eligibility for the larger grant following soon.
This week, the Welsh Government has announced a further grant scheme which will become available in April. There will be eligibility criteria for businesses wanting to apply, but it is also open to social enterprises and charities.
Grants of £10,000 will be available to businesses with 9 or fewer employees, and grants of £100,000 to businesses of 10-250 employees. There will be a separate scheme for larger businesses.
The focus is on supporting business through a period of hibernation or to adjust to remote working.
The Welsh Government has announced that all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less will receive 100% business rates relief and pubs with a rateable value of between £51,000 and £100,000 will receive a £5,000 reduction on their bill in 2020-2021.
The Welsh Government is allocating every penny of the funding it will be receiving as a consequence of the schemes the UK Government announced in England, to support Welsh businesses.
The scheme in Wales is as generous as the scheme in England and applies per premises – not per business.
Development Bank of Wales
The bank has equity and loan funding it can make available immediately to otherwise healthy small businesses to help them through the cash flow and other challenges they may face.
The Bank is also now administering the new Welsh Government loan scheme announced this week, which is immediately available, offering low interest loans of £5-250,000 to businesses to help with cashflow difficulties.
Please contact: 0800 587 4140 or visit https://developmentbank.wales/coronavirus-support-welsh-businesses
The Welsh Government has announced that all businesses already supported by Development Bank of Wales will have a three-month capital repayment holiday.
Statutory sick pay
The UK Government is bringing forward legislation to allow small and medium sized businesses and employers to reclaim statutory sick pay paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. This will be available to businesses in Wales and the Welsh Government is now working on supporting employers in Wales to make sure they have the right mechanisms in place to access this.
· This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
· 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
· 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
· Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
· Eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home comes into force
The childcare offer will continue to be paid to local authorities and childcare settings which currently receive payments for children in their care, even where services are disrupted.
The UK Government announced a temporary coronavirus business interruption loan scheme through the British Business Bank. This will be available to businesses in Wales via high street banks and it will support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.
Loans are interest free for 12 months.
Lenders will be provided 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. Businesses and banks will not be charged for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £1.2 million in value.
The loans are now available and a list of British Business Bank-accredited lenders can be found here: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/accredited-lenders/
HMRC – Time to Pay
A Time to Pay scheme is also available whereby 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.
This is also available to businesses in Wales. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call
HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
Self-employed and Freelancers
A new Self-employment Income Support Scheme was announced by the Chancellor on 26 March. Details are here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme
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 3 months. This may be extended if needed.
You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:
· have submitted your Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
· traded in the tax year 2019-20
· are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
· intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
· have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19
Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income come from self-employment. This is determined by at least one of the following conditions being true:
· having trading profits/partnership trading profits in 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your total taxable income
· having average trading profits in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your average taxable income in the same period
If you started trading between 2016-19, HMRC will only use those years for which you filed a Self-Assessment tax return. 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.
You’ll get a taxable grant which will be 80% of the average profits from the tax years 2016/17 – 2018/19 up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months. The grant will be paid direct in one instalment.
HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online.
If you’re a director of your own company and paid through PAYE you may be able to get support under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (above).
Self-assessment tax payments on account due this year are to be deferred until January 2021.
The introduction of IR35 (which would have extended the tax liabilities of people working via their own service companies) will be delayed for 12 months.
The minimum income floor in Universal Credit will be temporarily relaxed for all self-employed people. Self-employed people will be able to access Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay.
The Welsh Government has introduced a 3-month interest payment holiday if you are on Help to Buy mortgage.
The UK Government has also announced a 3-month mortgage payment holiday. In the first instance, talk to your mortgage provider.
The UK Government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that the advice (at that stage) to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim as long as all other terms and conditions are met, where businesses have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure.
For insurance policies that cover losses from the effects of “notifiable diseases”, please note that Covid 19 has been classified as a “notifiable disease” in all parts of the UK (in Wales with effect from 6 March 2020: Health Protection (Notification)(Wales) Regulations 2020).
The UK Government has announced that businesses will be given an additional 3 months to file accounts with Companies House to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impact of COVID-19.
From the 25th of 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.
As part of the agreed measures, while companies will still have to apply for the 3-month extension to be granted, those citing issues around COVID-19 will be automatically and immediately granted an extension. Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system which will take just 15 minutes to complete.
Social Enterprise & Charities
Charities and the third sector can get support during the disturbance caused by coronavirus (COVID-19). The Welsh Government is also exploring what further support it can provide.
Support to pay third sector staff The UK government has announced that organisations, including charities, will get support to help them pay wages. Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of their workforce who remain on payroll but are temporarily not working during the coronavirus outbreak. Any employer in the country – small or large, charitable or non-profit – will be eligible for the scheme. Information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can be found above.
Using reserves and restricted funds
The Charity Commission has published guidance for third sector organisations on using reserves and restricted funds to help an organisation through the crisis: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-charity-sector
Funding Wales is a funding search platform created by Third Sector Support Wales to help charities, community groups or social enterprises find grants and local finance opportunities from local, national and international sources. As part of the response to the coronavirus crisis, a new coronavirus funding category has been created to bring together funds that are directly supporting the sector in this time of need. https://funding.cymru/
This will contain information on available funds specifically addressing the coronavirus crisis.