Firstly, we wanted to say a huge thank you to those of you that took time to complete our survey about how Covid-19 is affecting you and your business. The information you provided us with has been a very valuable insight into businesses right now and has been passed on to policy makers within the government to better inform their decisions. You may have seen the call out from the Chambers of Commerce asking businesses to complete a similar survey. Please feel free to do this as well, but if you have already responded to the Marketing Lancashire survey then you don't need to respond again as your feedback has been taken into account and will be fed into the Lancashire recovery plans.
There are a few new schemes that have been announced that we wanted to make you aware of.
New top-up to local business grant funds scheme announced to help small businesses including bed and breakfasts
A discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme with up to £617 million to be made available for local authorities in England.
This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. Local authorities have been asked to prioritise bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates, as well as businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders and small charity properties.
Businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to coronavirus restriction measures.
There will be three levels of grant payments. The maximum will be £25,000, with other grants of £10,000 available. Local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000.
Local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need and the allocation of funding will be at their discretion. Further guidance for local authorities and how to apply will be set out shortly.
The new Bounce Back Loans Scheme opens for applications
The scheme opens today 4 May and allows small business owners to apply to accredited lenders by filling out a simple online form, with only seven questions. Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 with the cash being made available within days. 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 six years.
The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders. The Government has also agreed with lenders that a flat rate of 2.5% interest will be charged on these loans.
You can apply for a loan if your business:
- is based in the UK
- has been negatively affected by coronavirus
- was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019
The following businesses are not eligible to apply:
- banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
- public-sector bodies
- state-funded primary and secondary schools
If you're already claiming funding:
You cannot apply if you are already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
However, if you have already received a loan of up to £50,000 under CBILS and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020.
How to apply:
The full rules of the scheme and guidance on how to apply is available on the British Business Bank website. See also guidance on GOV.UK.
Business Interruption Insurance
The Financial Conduct Authority has set up the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) - an independent body to provide arbitration for insurance claims of smaller businesses (with turnover of less than £6.5m and fewer than 50 employees). The decision of the FOS is binding on insurers up to £350,000. If you are unhappy with your insurance company’s response to your claim, you can take your complaint directly to the FOS, please contact:
The Financial Ombudsman Service
Telephone: 0300 123 9123
HMRC Self-employment eligibility tool
This week HMRC will start contacting customers who may be eligible for the new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. The scheme will allow customers to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500, equivalent to three months’ profits.
Customers can claim if they’re a self-employed individual, or a member of a business partnership, their business has been adversely impacted by coronavirus.
Customers can check eligibility using the self-employed checker tool: https://bit.ly/SelfEmployTool
HMRC Tax credits
Tax credits customers will continue to receive payments even if working fewer hours or furloughed due to COVID-19. Please find further details here and circulate amongst your employees: https://bit.ly/TaxCreditsPN.
To find out more about the support available to small businesses visit our Business Advice Hub.
We will continue to keep you updated on the latest announcements and support available.
In the mean time stay safe, and we look forward to welcoming visitors back to your businesses and Lancashire when it is socially safe to do so.