Government guidance regarding coronavirus has now changed. Please read this page carefully for details. 

Use the local Covid-19 support service to speak to a business adviser at the Businsess Lincolnshire Growth Hub - email businesslincolnshire@lincolnshire.gov.uk

A national helpline number is still in operation: call 0800 998 1098 for support today. 

New Government Guidance Announced 

On 11 May the Government published ‘Our plan to rebuild: the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy’ at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments-covid-19-recovery-strategy.   This sets out the plans for moving to the next phase of its response to the virus

From 13th May new guidance will take effect in relation to ‘Staying safe outside your home’  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-safe-outside-your-home/staying-safe-outside-your-home#work-from-home-if-you-can

Key FAQs to help you prepare for these changes is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do#workers-rights

From 11th May anyone who can't work from home, for instance those in construction and manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.  This is a group of people who already can work, and have been permitted to do so throughout the lockdown period. To  support business owners to create safe working environments the following 8 guides have been created to support a range of work settings:

  1. Construction and other outdoor work https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/construction-and-other-outdoor-work
  2. Factories, plants and warehouses https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/factories-plants-and-warehouses
  3. Labs and research facilities https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/labs-and-research-facilities
  4. Offices and contact centres https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/offices-and-contact-centres
  5. Other people's homes https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/homes
  6. Restaurants  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/restaurants-offering-takeaway-or-delivery
  7. Shops and branches https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches
  8. Vehicles https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/vehicles

Certain businesses and venues must continue to be closed to the public. A full list can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance . The government will issue further guidance over the coming weeks to explain how and when these businesses may reopen.

See also supporting documents at the bottom of this page. 

Business Support from Government

The Chancellor announced in the Budget a £12 billion plan to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses whose finances are affected by COVID-19. This was followed up by a further announcement of a £350bn package of guarantees to support business.The government is also calling for manufacturers to support the production of ventilators and other medical supplies. Please call the BEIS Business Support helpline on 0300 456 3565 where a specific team is in place.

Please refer to the Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub website for the most up to date local information regarding support for your business. 

The Business Support arm of Government has a comprehensive website covering all aspects of the new measures. Please find a summary below.

A word about scams

Stay vigilant about scams which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Search 'scams' on GOV‌.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.

This page was updated 26th August 2020

Employers with fewer than 250 employees can now claim for coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Tax agents can also make claims on behalf of employers.

See more here 

Which employers can use the scheme?

Employers are eligible to use the scheme if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • they’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • they had a PAYE payroll scheme in operation before 28 February 2020
  • they had fewer than 250 employees across all PAYE schemes on 28 February 2020
  • they’re eligible to receive state aid under the EU Commission Temporary Framework – more information about this can be found on GOV‌.UK (please use the search term above).

Which employees are entitled to SSP?

The repayment will cover up to two weeks of the applicable rate of SSP, and is payable if a current or former employee was unable to work on or after 13 March 2020 and entitled to SSP, because they either:

  • had or have coronavirus
  • could not or cannot work because they were/are self-isolating at home
  • were/are shielding in line with public health guidance.

For more information please visit GOV‌.UK and search for 'Help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)'.

Delivered by lenders accredited by the British Business Bank for this scheme, Bounce Back Loans target small and micro businesses in all sectors, providing loans from £2k up to 25% of the business’ turnover with a maximum loan of £50k.

Providing lenders with a 100% government-backed guarantee and standardising the application form is expected to lead to a faster process with many loans becoming available within days.

The Bounce Back Loans Scheme enables businesses to obtain a six-year term loan at a government set interest rate of 2.5% a year. The government will cover interest payable in the first year.

  • Up to £50,000 loan: Loans will be from £2,000 up to 25% of a business’ turnover or £50,000, whichever is lower.
  • 100% guarantee: The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed, full guarantee (100%) against the outstanding facility balance, both capital and interest. The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt.
  • Interest rate: The government has set the interest rate for this facility at 2.5% per annum, meaning businesses will all benefit from the same, low rate of interest.
  • Interest paid by government for 12 months: The government will make a Business Interruption Payment to the lenders to cover the first 12 months of interest payable, so businesses will benefit from no upfront costs.
  • No principal repayments for first 12 months: Borrowers will not have to begin principal repayments for the first 12 months, thereafter capital will be repaid on a straight line basis.
  • No guarantee fee for businesses or lenders to access the scheme
  • Finance terms: The length of the loan is for six years but early repayment is allowed, without early repayment fees.
  • No personal guarantees: No personal guarantees are allowed, and no recovery action can be taken over a principal private residence or principal private vehicle.

For more information, please visit Business Lincolnshire or GOV.UK

This scheme is now closed to new entrants. 

The Chancellor has announced three changes to the job retention scheme:

  1. From 1‌‌ July 2020, the scheme will be made more flexible to enable employers to bring previously furloughed employees back part time and still receive a grant for the time when they are not working.
  2. From 1‌‌ August 2020, employers will have to start contributing to the wage costs of paying their furloughed staff and this employer contribution will gradually increase in September and October.
  3. The scheme will close to new entrants from 30‌‌ June.

Part time furloughing

From 1‌‌ July 2020, businesses using the scheme will have the flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part time – with the government continuing to pay 80% of wages for any of their normal hours they do not work up until the end of August. This flexibility comes a month earlier than previously announced to help people get back to work.

Employers will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, and will be responsible for paying their wages in full while working. This means that employees can work as much or as little as the business needs, with no minimum time that they can furlough staff for.

Any working hours arrangement agreed between a business and their employee must cover at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, they will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week. They can choose to make claims for longer periods such as on monthly or two weekly cycles if preferred. Employers will be required to submit data on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and actual hours worked.

If employees are unable to return to work, or employers do not have work for them to do, they can remain on furlough and the employer can continue to claim the grant for their full hours under the existing rules.

Employer contributions

From August, the government grant provided through the job retention scheme will be slowly tapered.

  • in June and July, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICs) and pension contributions for the hours the employee doesn’t work – employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work
  • in August, the government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 but employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs that they would have incurred if the employee had not been furloughed
  • in September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • in October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • the cap on the furlough grant will be proportional to the hours not worked.

Many smaller employers have some or all of their employer NIC bills covered by the Employment Allowance so will not be significantly impacted by that part of the tapering of the government contribution.

Around a quarter of CJRS monthly claims relate to wages that are below the threshold where employer NICs and auto enrolment contributions are due, and so no employer contribution will be required for these furloughed employees in August.

Important dates

It’s important to note that the scheme will close to new entrants from 30‌‌ June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30‌‌ June.

This means that the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10‌‌ June for the current three-week furlough period to be completed by 30‌‌ June. Employers will have until 31‌‌ July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30‌‌ June.

Guidance and support

Further support for employers and agents on how to calculate claims with this extra flexibility will be available by 12‌‌ June, including webinars and detailed online guidance. For information about how to claim, click here

 

Discretionary Grant Fund

For information relevant to Lincolnshire districts, please visit the Business Lincolnshire website. Here you will find a list District Councils and when they are opening for applications for the Discretionary Grant Fund. 

This scheme is to be focused on certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF). 

Further Information

Local councils in Greater Lincolnshire and Rutland have been processing and distributing grants to eligible businesses over the last few weeks.  As of 26th May, 86.6% of grants have been paid.  That means payments have been made to 18,520 businesses, to the value of £216.5m.   Applications will continue to be checked, processed and paid in batches every day.  The number of payments made by Local Authorities is now published weekly here

Message to Businesses:

Councils have contacted business owners who are eligible for the Government grants, but not all have come forward. Are you missing out? 

You could be eligible for a grant if:

  • your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector
  • you are a rate payer
  • the rateable value is under £51,000

Please check the Business Lincolnshire website for further details. 

If you are in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief then you could be eligible for grant funding, please check the Business Lincolnshire website for further details. 
If you have already completed a form on your local authority website you do not need to do anything.   

Restaurants and other establishments serving food for on-premises consumption can now sign up to a new government initiative aimed at protecting jobs in the hospitality industry and encouraging people to safely return to dining out.

The Eat Out to Help Out registration service went live this morning on GOV.UK, allowing businesses to join the scheme announced last week by Rishi Sunak MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Registrations for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme started on 13th July 2020. 

Full details and how to register can be found here

The new Future Fund will support innovative UK companies with good potential, that are essential in ensuring the UK retains its world leading position in science, innovation and technology. These companies typically rely on equity investment and are currently affected by Covid-19.

Until now these companies have been unable to access other government business support programmes because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit. The financing supports companies facing a significantly extended length of time between funding rounds, due to the impact of the current economic situation.

Developed by government and delivered by the British Business Bank, the Future Fund will help these companies through the current period of economic disruption and recovery, so they are able to continue their growth trajectory and reach their full economic potential.

How it works:

  • Open for applications from Wednesday 20th May.
  • Scheme operates on a commercial basis to deliver an initial commitment of £250m of new government funding.
  • Financing will be unlocked by additional third-party investment on a match funded basis.
  • Applications submitted via an online platform based on a set of standard terms and eligibility criteria.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Companies must be UK-incorporated and if part of a corporate group, only the parent company is eligible.
  • Companies in receipt of the loans will be required to have previously raised at least £250k in equity investment from third party investors in the last five years.
  • Only eligible companies that can attract at least 50% of third-party investment will receive funding.
  • Companies cannot have any of their shares traded on a regulated market, multilateral trading facility or other listing venue.
  • The company must have been incorporated on or before 31st December 2019.
  • At least one of the following must be true for the company:
    • Half or more employees are UK based;
    • Half or more revenues are from UK sales.

For more information on the Future Fund eligibility criteria and applications process, see the factsheet at the bottom of this page, or visit the Future Fund webpages here.

The Chancellor announced plans to extend the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) for those people whose trade continues to be, or is newly, adversely affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus). Eligible self-employed people will be able to claim a second and final SEISS grant in August; this will be a taxable grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits for three months, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £6,570 in total.

The eligibility criteria for the second grant will be the same as for the first grant. People do not need to have claimed the first grant to claim the second grant: for example, their business may have been adversely affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus) more recently.

Claims for the first SEISS grant, which opened on 13‌‌ May, must be made no later than 13‌‌ July. Eligible self-employed people must make a claim before that date to receive the first SEISS grant (a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months' worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total). So far, we’ve seen over 2.3 million claims worth £6.8 billion.

It's really important to note that as with the first SEISS grant, the eligible individual must make the claim themselves. More information about the second SEISS grant will be available on GOV.‌‌UK on 12‌‌ June.

In the meantime, please help us reach those self-employed people who could benefit from a SEISS grant now, by encouraging anyone you think might be eligible for the first grant but hasn’t yet made a claim to do so before 13‌‌ July.

Full details of the announcement can be found here - https://bit.ly/CJRS_SEISSUpdate - which includes a new factsheet

The Government have announced the Time to Pay scheme to help with tax payments. This will be ongoing for the foreseeable future. Call HMRC - 0800 0159 559 - to discuss your circumstances. 

If you normally pay Business Rates, there is now a 12-month business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England

  • If you are currently receiving the retail discount for your Business Rates bill, you will receive a revised bill with 100% relief.
  • If your business occupies a property in the retail sector with a rateable value of £51,000 or more, or your business occupies a property in the leisure/hospitality sectors, you may also be eligible for the 100% discount on your business rates bill.
  • If you are a nursery, you will be entitled to the 100% relief for the next year.
  • This scheme is now available. You should contact your Local Authority for more information. 

If you pay little or no Business Rates, you are entitled to a one-off cash grant of £10,000:

  • If your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector in England, you may be entitled to a cash grant. If you have a property with a rateable value of less than £15,000 you will be entitled to a grant of £10,000, whether or not you are entitled to small business rate relief or rural rate relief. If you have a property with a rateable value of between £14,999 and £51,000 you will be entitled to a cash grant of £25,000.
  • Funding will be available from early April. Your Local Authority will then be in touch to provide details on how to claim this money.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance:

  • Temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by British Business Bank, will support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.
  • Government will provide lenders with a partial guarantee of 80% on each loan to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.
  • The Government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5m in value. The first six months of these loans will be interest free, as the Government will cover these payments.
  • Businesses remain responsible for repaying any facility they take out.
  • This scheme has now been launched. Businesses will be able to get finance under the scheme from a large number of providers, including the main high street banks

This guide explains the information that employers need to provide to claim for their employees’ wages. 

The Government’s current medical advice is sufficient to enable businesses which have insurance policy that covers both pandemics and Government ordered closure to make a claim. To make arrangements, contact your own business insurance provider. 

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)

Please see the CLBILS factsheet at the bottom of this page

The maximum amount available through CLBILS to a borrower and its group has now increased from £50m to £200m. Term loans and revolving credit facilities over £50m will be offered by CLBILS lenders which have secured additional accreditation. The maximum size for invoice finance and asset finance facilities remains at £50m. Companies borrowing more than £50m through CLBILS will be subject to further restrictions on dividend payments, senior pay and share buy-backs during the period of the loan.

See more on the CLBILS page on the British Business Bank website. 

Mortgage lenders have agreed to support customers experiencing issues with finances as a result of Covid-19, including payment holidays of up to three months. This will give people time to recover and ensure they do not have to pay towards their mortgage in the interim. You should liaise directly with your own mortgage company or bank to make arrangements. 

The Government announced a list of Key Workers. Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those in health and social care and in other key sectors will be able. Children of Key Workers will be able to access schools.