This is an incredibly difficult time for those who run businesses. There is a lot of uncertainty but there have been measures announced to help. There are also people you can contact for advice. In light of this I thought it might be helpful to outline some of the measures the government have announced as well as providing some contact numbers for helplines. If you have any specific concerns please do not hesitate to get in touch with my office.
Wales Business Loan Scheme
The Welsh Government and the Development Bank of Wales have announced the £100m Covid-19 Wales Business Loan Scheme to support businesses affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Scheme will be available from the Development Bank of Wales for a limited period. It is intended to provide support to businesses who are experiencing cash flow difficulties as a result of the pandemic.
The loan scheme will work alongside the UK wide Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, other Welsh Government and UK Government support offers, providing more vital options for Welsh businesses.
Loans of between £5,000 and £250,000 are available to businesses who have been trading longer than 2 years and can demonstrate that they were able to service that level of debt before the outbreak.
Details of the fund, eligibility and application process can be found on the Development Bank of Wales’s website
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least three months starting from 1 March 2020. It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
Employers can use a portal to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage. Employers can use this scheme anytime during this period.
The scheme is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYEpayroll scheme on 28 February 2020.
Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) covers necessary self-isolation as well as sickness. If you have fewer than 250 employees, you may be able to reclaim the cost of 14 days of SSP per employee.
You can calculate your employees SSP entitlement here: https://www.gov.uk/calculate-statutory-sick-pay
Business Rate Support
Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less will receive 100% business rate relief and pubs with a rateable value of between £51,000 and £100,000 will receive a £5,000 reduction on their bill.
Time to Pay Scheme has also been announced 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.
Helpline: If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 0159 559.
Loan to Businesses
The Development Bank of Wales is also available to help – it has equity and loan funding it can make available immediately to otherwise healthy small businesses to them through the cash flow and other challenges they may face in the next difficult few weeks and months.
Helplines and useful websites
For general enquiries – Business Wales Helpline: 03000 6 03000
Development Bank of Wales – Information of services available via the Development Bank of Wales: https://developmentbank.wales/
Welsh Government advice for businesses during covid-19 pandemic – https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-employers-and-businesses-guidance
Government Support – Information on support provided via the Welsh Government, including Business Rate Relief and Business Grant Schemes – https://businesswales.gov.wales/government-support-businesses
BEIS guidance to employers and businesses about covid-19 – Information and guidance from the UK Government on areas such as Statutory Sick Pay, advice for employees which have travelled to high risk areas and home working – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19