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:

Call: 01522 782189

Email: businesslincolnshire@lincolnshire.gov.uk

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 offering takeaway or delivery 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.

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 May 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

The Chancellor has announced that the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October.

Full details of the announcement can be found here.

Key details to note:

  • Furloughed workers across the UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500.
  • From August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.
  • The employer payments will substitute the contribution HMG is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.

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

These steps should help keep the process as simple as possible:

  • read the guidance before you apply, to find this go to GOV‌.UK and search for 'Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme', there is a step-by-step guide to applying and a calculator
  • check your employees are eligible, by looking at the guidance on GOV‌.UK
  • check your calculations each time you submit a claim, in case any details have changed
  • only submit one claim per pay period – you can’t submit another claim for overlapping periods; this means that in each claim you should include all furloughed employees paid during that period
  • if you have missing National Insurance numbers for employees, do try and find them so it doesn’t delay your claim; if an employee doesn’t have a National Insurance number yet, you should contact HMRC in order to complete your claim; go to GOV‌.UK and search for 'get help with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' to find out how to contact us
  • double check all of the information in the claim before you submit it, including your bank details.

After you make a claim – reporting employees' wages to HMRC: If you’ve claimed a grant through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you should check if you need to report payments on the PAYE Real Time Information system. This will depend on whether you are using the grant to pay wages or to reimburse wages that you’ve already paid. To find guidance on this, go to GOV‌.UK and search for 'report wages Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme'.

Find out more in webinars: There are two HMRC webinars about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on our YouTube channel 'HMRCgovuk' – an overview of the scheme and a detailed session about how to make a claim.

 

 

Guidance on the Discretionary Grant Fund has been published.  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). Local Authorities are currently reviewing the guidance to determine how the scheme should operate. Further instructions as to how to access the scheme will be provided in the near future and no action is required from businesses at this time.

Further Information
This information is provided direct from our local councils. Local councils in Greater Lincolnshire and Rutland have been processing and distributing grants to eligible businesses over the last few weeks. 

  • As of 28rd April, 72.8% of grants have been paid.  That means payments have been made to 15,566 businesses, to the value of £180.9m.   
  • 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.    

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.

From 8am Wednesday 13 May 2020, self-employed individuals or members of partnerships whose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus will be able to apply for a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant, worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500), paid in a single instalment. 

Check if you are eligible for the scheme here.

People will be able to make their claim on a specified date between 13-18 May, based on their Unique Tax Reference number. HMRC has assigned eligible self-employed individuals a specific date to apply on and this can be checked on HMRC’s online checker at any time. People will not be able to apply before their claim date but can make a claim after that day.

The claims process is simple, and those eligible will have the money paid into their bank account by 25 May 2020, or within six working days of completing a claim. 

Scams

We are aware of an increase in scam emails, calls and texts. Eligible customers will be invited to claim through GOV‌.UK – it is the only service they can use. If someone gets in touch with your clients claiming to be from HMRC, saying that financial help can be claimed or that a tax refund is owed, and asks them to click on a link or to give information such as their name, credit card or bank details, they should not respond. It is a scam.

Suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC should reported to us by sending them to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk. Texts should be sent to 60599.

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

See also: Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)

This guide explains the information that employers need to provide to claim for their employees’ wages. Some changes made to the online claims system:

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. 

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.