We have collated information, support, and guidance to help manage the impact of COVID-19 for your business and your employees.
You can stay up to to date with government and national health service information at the links below:
- Official government guidance can be found care of Gov.uk
- Public Health Agency : Live updates
- Guidance on social distancing
- Guidance on Essential and Non-Essential services
- Cyber Security Weekly Threat Report
Business Continuity Planning
Business continuity management will help you identify those parts of your organisation you can’t afford to lose, and plan how to maintain them when incidents occur.
The Gov.uk toolkit will help you prepare a plan you can tailor to suit your business.
Business Continuity Resources
Cashflow Support Guide
Harland Accountants have produced A Guide to Managing Cashflow during the Coronavirus Crisis which aims to have a positive impact on cashflow and look to alleviate some of the more short term pressures and fears.
Industry specific updates
Hospitality & Tourism
For Business: Loans, Grants & Rebates
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
A grant of 80% of furloughed workers’ wage costs (employees kept on payroll) up to £2,500 per employee per month.
Any employer will be eligible to get grant for those who are furloughed to keep them on.
- up to 80% of wages up to £2,500 threshold per month.
- back dated to 1st March and will be open for at least 3 months
- no limit to scheme
- There will be a deferment of the next quarter of VAT payments. No business will pay VAT from now to mid June.
- Facilitated by HMRC: grants will emerge as early as next week and before end of April.
Furlough staff ? ( Useful advice from Labour Relations Agency)
Business Support Grant Scheme (FAQ Cheat Sheet )
An immediate grant of £10,000 will be provided to all small businesses who are eligible for the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme
An immediate grant of £25,000 will be made available for Tourism, Retail and Hospitality businesses with a NAV (Net Asset Value) between £14,999 up to £51,000
Payments will be made directly into the bank accounts of eligible businesses. The focus will be on issuing payment as quickly as possible. Registration essential
Corona Virus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILs)
*changes* to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – for small businesses
- The scheme has been extended so that all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time.
- The government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals. The government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees.
- Useful Video for filling in the paperwork can be found here c/o Toursim NI
Rent / Landlord Arrangements
Ban on eviction for commercial tenants
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction.
- Commercial tenants unable to pay rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction
- Measures support ongoing conversations between landlords and tenants about voluntary arrangements
- Latest measure builds on the unprecedented package of support for businesses already announced
For Business: Filing, Tax & Rates
The Government will will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months.
This is an automatic offer with no applications required. UK Registered businesses will not need to make VAT payments normally due with VAT returns during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020-21 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
HMRC TAX HELPLINE
HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
The helpline allows any business or self-employed individual who is concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus to get practical help and advice. Up to 2,000 experienced call handlers are available to support businesses and individuals when needed.
If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC on 08000 0159 559
For those who are unable to pay due to coronavirus, HMRC will discuss your specific circumstances to explore:
- agreeing an instalment arrangement
- suspending debt collection proceedings
- cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately
The helpline number is 0800 0159 559 – and is an addition to other HMRC phone contact numbers.
Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm. The helpline will not be available on Bank Holidays.
FILING ACCOUNTS WITH COMPANIES HOUSE
If Covid-19 has affected your company and you need more time to file your accounts you can apply for an automatic and immediate 3 month extension. This must be done before the filing deadline.
Companies that have already extended their filing deadline, or shortened their accounting reference period, may not be eligible for an extension.
At present the Executive has given businesses a 3 month rates holiday (April – June) under the current financial incentives. Destination CQ BID has continually lobbied for a ‘rates parity’ with England & Wales and the 12 month “rates holiday”, this would ease cashflow and assist company payroll operations in difficult times.
Whilst a decision remains to be made we continue to lobby minsters alongside fellow business organisations to accelerate this discussion and provide much needed strategic leadership for us all.
Hardship Rate Relief is there for those most in need. Further info can be found here.
Land & Property Services (LPS) to discuss a payment arrangement
Furlough/Job Retention Scheme
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least three months starting from 1 March 2020. It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
Employers can use a portal to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage. Employers can use this scheme anytime during this period.
Freelancers & Self Employed
A big question mark remains over the self-employed. Whilst a best fit scenario was never going to be achieved; the chancellor has brought in some measures with regards uplifting Universal Credit and access to Universal credit.
- Self-employed people can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees.
- Self-Assessment payments deferred until Jan 2021
- Remove the minimum floor – thus allowing access to SSP through U/C
- Increase U/C £1000/annum
- Increase working tax credits £100/annum
Statutory Sick Pay
If you’re an employee or have an employee who is unable to work because they’re ill they may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay. There is temporary removal of the three day waiting period if you are claiming Statutory Sick Pay. If you need to self isolate for medical reasons to protect others you will be treated as being ill. You do not need to go to a GP as there is a seven day allowance for self-declaration.
For information on how SMEs can claim this back see Statutory Sick Pay rebate for SMEs above
The Universal Credit standard allowance will increase by£1,000 a year for the next 12 month.
If you are not eligible to receive sick pay you can apply for Universal Credit and/or New Style Employment & Support Allowance.
Anyone self-isolating who is self-employed can apply for Universal Credit or new-style Employment & Support Allowance.
You can also apply for these if you are prevented from working because of a risk to public health.
If you are in a crisis situation you can apply for financial help by contacting the Department’s Finance Support service on 0800 587 2750 (Freephone) or 0800 587 2751 (textphone for customers with hearing difficulties).
If claiming Universal Credit you can also apply for a Universal Credit Contingency Fund grant by contacting the Finance Support service and choosing option 2.
Ulster University Business Continuity and Recovery Fund
Santander Universities provides funding support for university partners across the globe with over £1 billion awarded to date. Ulster University is proud to be one of these partners.
The Santander Universities Business Continuity and Recovery Fund has been created by Ulster University to provide up to 30 recent UU graduates who are fledgling entrepreneurs with a one-off cash grant of £1,000 each to directly support their enterprises through the current crisis.
It looks like the UK will be dealing with coronavirus for a lot of this year and there’s still a lot of uncertainty about where we’ll end up. The more you can do now to plan ahead will save you time and energy – and importantly, money– when you might not be feeling at your best.
Other useful information and contacts:
- Government advice for employees
- AdviceNI Benefits Helpline: 0808 802 0020
- Money/Debt Helpline: 0800 028 1881
- Guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection
- Lunchtime Learning – CQ BIDs Digital marketing talks covering everything from social media, blogging, and SEO; to Google analytics and Mailchimp
- Training Matchmaker – A collated list of free online courses
- The Open University – A diverse range of courss and modules for you to upskill
- Facebook Business HUB – Facebook has unveiled a hefty range of mastering FB for your business
- MOZ Academy – 30 days free online marekting courses : use the code “wegotthis” at the checkout.
- Google Marketing Platform – Marekting 101
- Google Digital Garage – dip your toes into upskilling and learning something new
- Google Ads for Small Business – ad credits for Small & Medium size businesses
- Eximo Academics – joing CQ Lunchtime Learning host Andi Jarvis in his network of all things marketing and daily updates…