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COVID-19: Latest Updates for Businesses and the Self-Employed

Latest Updates

The Government has announced new support in anticipation of tighter restrictions coming soon. The support is for businesses that are forced to close because of expected tighter coronavirus restrictions.

The new plan is an expansion of the Job Support Scheme announced last month which replaced the Job Retention Scheme that finishes at the end of the October. 

As far as we understand so far, it means:

  • Under the plan the government will provide grants to all UK companies that are legally required to close their doors because of tighter restrictions
  • It is most likely that the businesses this will apply to are; pubs, bars and restaurants.  This seems to apply if you are forced to close your premises, even if you are able to continue to provide delivery or collection services
  • The government will support eligible businesses by paying two-thirds of each employee’s salary, up to a maximum of £2,100 per month
  • This will apply to employees that are unable to work because their employer’s premises have been forced to close for at least 7 consecutive days
  • The wages can be claimed monthly in arrears.
  • The scheme will open on November 1st, for 6 months
  • Grants designed to help affected businesses pay other fixed costs of up to £3,000 per month will also be available.  The grant amount will be linked to business rates as follows: 
    • £1,300 per month for small businesses with a rateable value of or below £15,000
    • £2,000 per month for small to medium businesses with rateable values between £15,000 and £51,000
    • The maximum amount of £3,000 per month can be claimed by large businesses

 

Apprenticeships, Traineeships & Kickstart Work Placements

Have you ever considered taking on an apprentice for your business? Are you interested in the apprenticeship bonus being offered by the government right now? If you’d like to know more about apprenticeships, traineeships and the new Kickstart work placement scheme, download our booklet now.


 

Grant Updates

Business Grant Schemes Wrapping Up

Local authorities have been instructed to wrap up the Coronavirus Business Grant Schemes and return the remaining funds by August 28th.  If you think you might be eligible for one of these grants and haven’t received one make sure you check this out asap.  Enterprise Nation have supplied a helpful spreadsheet with links to all the local authorities in this post.

Grants to Boost Recovery from Covid-19

Small and medium sized businesses in England can access grants between £1,000 – £5,000 for new equipment and technology and specialist advice the need to adapt, recover and rebuild following coronavirus.

Sustainable Innovation Fund

This fund from Innovate UK is for new projects focusing on sustainable recovery from COVID-19.  More details here.

Future Fund

The Future Fund is designed to support the UK’s innovative businesses affected by Covid-19. These businesses have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as CBILS, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. The scheme will deliver an initial commitment of £250m of new government funding which will be unlocked by private investment on a match funded basis.

There is a full overview of the scheme here, investor-specific information and FAQs here and company-specific information and FAQs here..

Cultural Recovery Fund

The kinds of organisations that are eligible to apply include:

  • limited companies registered at Companies House
  • community interest companies (CICs) registered with the CIC regulator
  • charitable incorporated organisations (CIOs) registered with the Charity Commission
  • charitable companies or charitable trusts registered with the Charity Commission
  • limited liability partnerships registered at Companies House
  • partnerships established under a partnership deed/ agreement
  • community benefit and co-operative societies registered with the Financial Conduct Authority
  • Royal Charter bodies
  • statutory bodies and other public bodies including Universities and museum who run or maintain cultural services

The lead organisation must also be able to provide at least one year’s independently certified or audited financial statements.
More information here.


Jobs & Employment Help

Furlough Bonus

As furloughing is being eased out the government will offer furloughing bonus to businesses that retain previously furloughed employees until January 2021.  To qualify for this bonus, you must pay your returning employee at least £520 per month until then.  We will share more details as we have them.

Flexible Furlouging

If you are bringing staff back on flexible furloughing the chances are you have more questions than answers. Our short guide answers some of the most frequently asked.

Eating out vouchers

Restaurants and cafes will be able to offer 50% discount to customers in August, up to a maximum of £10 per head, from Monday to Wednesday.  They can reclaim the discount from the government by registering online to take part in the scheme.

Kickstart Scheme

  • The government will pay 6 months of the salary of a young person who is being given a new job of at least 25 hours a week at minimum wage.  These jobs must be “good” jobs with training.   Businesses can apply for this from next month, with the hope that some jobs will begin by September. 
  • Firms will receive £2,000 for each apprentice they take on.  £1,500 if they are over 25.

VAT

VAT will be reduced from 20% to 5% for food, accommodation and attractions until January 2021.

£1.57bn for the arts

A fund of £1.57bn to support the arts has been announced. We do not yet have details about how this fund will help small creative businesses, but we will keep you updated as soon as we hear more.

The chancellor’s Summer Statement

Download our brief guide to the chancellor’s Summer Statement


Job Retention Scheme: It has been announced that the Self Employment Income Scheme (SEISS) will be extended.  Applications will open in August for a second and final grant.  This will be covering three months worth of average trading profits.  But it will be at 70% this round, up to a total of £6,570 and will be paid in a single installment.

SEISS: From August employers will be required to contribute to the Job Retention Scheme where they have furloughed employees.

The scheme will be tapered out as follows:
  • August – The government will continue to pay 80% and employers will be asked to pay national insurance and employer pension contributions
  • September – The government will pay 70% and employers will pay 10%
  • October – The government will pay 60% and employers will pay 20% after which the scheme will end.

Artisan Office Updates

  • We are currently operating a full service.
  • Despite the coronavirus we can still e-meet with you or speak to you on the telephone. Call us or email us in your usual way, though please be patient. We are dealing with more enquiries than usual at the moment, but we will try to come back to your as quickly as possible.
  • We continue to be fully staffed.  This may change and we may have a slower response time if that happens.  
  • We continue to make sure that we meet filing deadlines to complete your accounts, tax returns, VAT, payroll and other requirements.

Exactly What is Available: A Brief Guide

For a clear overview of all support available, who is eligible and what you have to do, see A Brief Guide to Support for Businesses and Self-Employed Affected by the Coronavirus Crisis

Coronavirus Uncertainty: Ways We Can Help

We are committed to being available to support you to the best of our ability. In times like this, we all need to pull together. If you need anything, please let us know. For example, here are some of the ways we can help:

  • Help with cashflow forecasting to see when the pinch-points will happen for your business
  • Help you find cost-effective finance to see you through this difficult trading period
  • Support you to negotiate time to pay agreements with HMRC for your tax bill
  • Do your bookkeeping to help you get your records straight so you can take an informed decision for what to do for your business. (If you can scan and email your documents, we can process them for you)
  • Help you access tax rebates you may have been putting off, such as R&D Tax Credits.
  • A sounding board – we know that being a business owner in tough, uncertain times is not easy. So remember, we are there to listen and where appropriate, give advice. Call us or email at team@artisan-accounts.co.uk to book an appointment.
  • When you’re ready we can discuss ways to make your business more resilient going forward.

Richmond Council has said they will not take enforcement action if residents are temporarily unable to pay their council tax. If that is your situation, contact your local council to come to an agreement.

The government has introduced extra protection for businesses with a ban on eviction for commercial tenants who miss rent payments. You must agree this with your landlord and you will still be expected to pay all rent due at a later date.

Financial assistance for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments


HMRC Helpline: 0800 024 1222

Grant Funding Schemes: Guidance for grant eligibility

HMGovernment Business Support Page

Citizen’s Advice Page for guidance if you cannot pay your bills.

Ofgem have a page offering advice if you cannot pay your energy bills

Clearly explained furloughing guidance from ICAEW


Local Resources

Many of our clients are local to the Richmond area. Sarah Olney’s office has begun a list of local resources. As we hear of others in the wider area we will link to them, let us know if you know of any by emailing us.

Links to local councils

Richmond

Kingston upon Thames

Hammersmith & Fulham

Volunteering

Most people are just trying very hard to work out their personal safety and business resilience at the moment. But if you are able to and would like to help others in the community there are ways you can. Locally we know of Richmond Council for Voluntary Service

We really are all in this together and if there is any way that we can help, please get in touch. Equally, we’d love to hear your stories of creative and innovative ways you are responding to the crisis.

Email us or give us a call on 020 8819 8762