Winter Support Package
Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently announced a new package of financial measures for businesses. This includes:
Job Support Scheme –
- To be eligible, an employee must work at least 33% of their normal hours. For the other two thirds of their hours, the Government will pay a third and the employer will pay a third. So, in total, an employee will receive 77% of their full pay (ie, the Government will be paying 22.5% of wages).
- The scheme will run from six months from 1 November and will be available to all businesses and all employees, regardless of whether they have been part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in the past.
- Larger businesses will have to prove that they have been adversely affected by COVID-19 to be eligible.
(On 9 October, it was announced that the Job Support Scheme (JSS) would be expanded to support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions. Full detail here)
- The Self Employment Scheme will be extended on “similar terms”, covering 20% of average monthly trading profits via a government grant. More information here
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans –
- The application deadline for all coronavirus loan schemes has been extended to 30 November.
- Bounce back loans can be extended from 6 to 10 years under a new ‘Pay as You Grow’ scheme.
- Businesses also move to interest only payments or suspend payments if they are “in real trouble” for up to six months.
- A new successor loan scheme will be launched in January.
- The reduction in VAT to 5% for accommodation, hospitality and attractions is being extended to the end of the financial year.
- Businesses who deferred their VAT will no longer have to pay a lump sum at the end of March 2021. They will have the option of splitting it into smaller, interest free payments over the course of 11 months.
Job Retention Bonus
You can check here if your business can claim the Government’s Job Retention Bonus. This is a £1,000 one-off taxable payment to you (the employer), for each eligible employee that you furloughed and kept continuously employed until 31 January 2021. The bonus itself can be claimed between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021.
It’s important to note that employers will still be able to claim the bonus for employees receiving support through the Job Support Scheme which now supersedes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
Making claims for furloughed staff
30 November 2020 is the last day businesses can submit claims for furloughed staff through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), for periods ending on or before 30 October. There is a step by step guide for employers that explains the information employers need to provide to HMRC to make a claim through the CJRS.
Business Interruption Loan Scheme
**The deadline is now 30 November**
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) supports small and medium-sized businesses, with an annual turnover of up to £45 million, to access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to 6 years.
The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) supports large businesses, with an annual turnover of over £45 million. All viable businesses with turnover of more than £45 million per year can apply for up to £25 million of finance. Firms with a turnover of more than £250 million can apply for up to £50 million of finance.
- Apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- Apply for the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Business Support Grants
You can find out about business support grants available through your local authorities here:
- Allerdale Borough Council
- Barrow Borough Council
- Carlisle City Council
- Copeland Borough Council
- Eden District Council
- South Lakeland District Council
- Cumbria County Council
Will employees be entitled to any financial support if they are asked to self-isolate?
People may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme if they are required to stay at home and self-isolate. Local authorities will be putting arrangements in place to make these payments, with further details to be made available shortly.
To be eligible, they must meet all the following criteria:
- You have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
- You are employed or self-employed
- You cannot work from home and will lose income as a result
- You are claiming at least one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credits, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit.
If a business is forced to close due to a local lockdown, will it be eligible for any financial support?
Businesses required to close due to local lockdowns or targeted restrictions can receive grants worth up to £1,500 every three weeks. To be eligible for the grant, a business must have been required to close due to local COVID 19 restrictions. The largest businesses will receive £1,500 every three weeks they are required to close. Smaller businesses will receive £1,000.
Contract cancellations and refunds due to COVID-19
As part of its ongoing investigation into the cancellation of tourism-related contracts, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has updated its statement on consumer protection law in relation to cancellations and refunds due to coronavirus.
The CMA says that consumers will generally be entitled to a refund when they have paid money in advance for services or goods that cannot be provided because of the coronavirus pandemic. It has now provided more detail on issues such as the difference between lockdown laws and government guidance, and their impact on cancellations and refunds.
Planning Permission relaxed for Temporary Uses of Land
To support business recovery and aid social distancing, you may be aware that the Government has relaxed its rules around planning permission, enabling temporary uses of land for up to 56 days, until 31st December 2020 – subject to certain restrictions. One relevant example would be the creation of temporary campsites with tented camping without the need for formal planning permission. Further details are available here.
Updated guidance on pavement licences has also been released recently to allow businesses to obtain a licence to place temporary furniture – such as tables and chairs – outside of cafes, bars and restaurants quickly.
Further Financial Support for Businesses
- Expanded Retail Rates Exemption – State Aid
- The Government has confirmed that the exemption being given for the expanded retail, leisure, childcare and hospitality sectors will not be subject to State Aid. This is good news for some of our larger operators, who might have hit the State Aid cap regarding rates relief.
- Our partners at Colliers International have created a handy summary on rates relief exemptions and grants. They are also happy to try and assist any Cumbria Tourism members struggling with rating issues. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in touch.
- Arts Council England is making £160 million of emergency funding available to help protect the people and organisations that make up the arts, museums and libraries during the coronavirus crisis. It has also changed its funding requirements for individuals and organisations currently in receipt of funding, to help alleviate pressure on them.
- The Heritage Lottery Fund has made £50million available for a Heritage Emergency Fund to support the UK heritage sector.
- Sport England is freeing up £195 million of funding to help the sport and physical activity sector. One part of this, the £20m Community Emergency Fund, is now open to applications from organisations experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations.
- Guidance on Deferral of VAT Payments
- HMRC have updated their guidance for businesses wanting to defer VAT payments.
- All retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England will receive a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months.
- Relaxation in planning regulations to allow pubs and restaurants to start providing takeaways without a planning application.
- VAT for all businesses will be deferred until the end of June and businesses will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.
The Government has announced that businesses will be able to apply for a 3-month extension for filing their accounts. Further information on how to apply for an extension can be found HERE.
Business Rates Relief Scheme
The Local Government Association has published fresh advice for Local Authorities on what additional categories of tourism businesses should be included in the Business Rates Relief Scheme.
This relief is available for businesses within the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
For all businesses in the above sectors, 100% relief is available for a period of 12 months, irrespective of rateable value.
In addition, a cash grant of up to £25,000 will be made available to businesses with rateable values between 15,000-51,000RV.
While this guidance doesn’t compel individual councils to incorporate these businesses into their schemes, the expanded list of tourism-related operators should allow a wider range of businesses here in Cumbria to make a stronger case to their own Local Authority.
Conference and exhibition venues, travel and tour operators, TICs, coach operators and marina/boat hire/passenger boat facilities are among those business areas on the list. Read the advice and full list of business types here.
Government Business Support Hub
The Government has set up an online Business Support Hub detailing the full range of measures available.
ACAS Advice (Employment Support to protect staff)
HMRC Time to Pay (Tax Helpline, call 0800 0159 559)
Companies House (if you need more time to file your company accounts)