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COVID-19 - Guidance, support and FAQs for businesses

Guidance, support and the answers to the questions businesses are asking us most frequently since the CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) outbreak.

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If you are unable to find the answers you are looking for in relation to your business and the effects of coronavirus, please contact us for further details by either of the following methods:

Email: coronavirusbusiness@basildon.gov.uk  - (recommended for an early response)

Phone: 01268 533333 (select option 1)

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant extension provides critical support to the self-employed in the form of 2 further grants, each available for 3 month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021.

How to apply

For guidance on how to access the grant visit:

Who can claim

To be eligible for the grant extension self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:

  • have been previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme first and second grant (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
  • declare that they intend to continue to trade and either:
    • are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus
    • were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus

What the grant extension covers

The extension will last for 6 months, from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in 2 lump sum instalments each covering a 3 month period.

The third grant will cover a 3 month period from 1 November 2020 until 31 January 2021. The Government will provide a taxable grant calculated at 80% of 3 months average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total. This is an increase from the previously announced amount of 55%.

The Government are providing the same level of support for the self-employed as is being provided for employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which has also been extended until March 2021.

The Government has already announced that there will be a fourth grant covering February 2021 to April 2021. The Government will set out further details, including the level, of the fourth grant in due course.

The grants are taxable income and also subject to National Insurance contributions.

On Thursday 26 March, the government announced the Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS). This scheme is also available to sole traders and members of partnerships. 

The scheme provides help for sole traders, or a member of a partnership who: 

  • Earn more than half of their income from self-employment 
  • Submitted a tax return for 2018 - 2019
  • Total trading profits are less than £50, 000 for 2018 - 2019 
  • OR have an average total trading profits of less than £50 , 000 for 2016 - 2017, 2017 - 2018 and 2018 - 2019 

Sole-traders or partnerships will be given a grant covering 80% of their profits, up to £2, 500 a month for three months. 

Guidance on eligibility and how to access the grant is available here:  Business Support - Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

If you do not meet the government's conditions for the Self-employed Income Support Scheme, you can access other help, including: 

•    If you are a council tenant, you can apply for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction. Then, we will make efforts to get your claim paid within 7 days. If you qualify for Council Tax Reduction, you will automatically receive £150 council tax credit as part of the Hardship Fund provided by the government. 

For further advice on additional benefits available, including Discretionary Housing Payments and Exception Hardship Payment, please phone 01268 533 333.

•    For private tenants, the government is providing enhanced Local Housing Allowance rates of up to an additional £1, 000 per year. This will support residents who receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing element. 

•    If you're not eligible for self-employed income support, submit a Universal Credit application online. 

•    Speak to any creditors about your situation. Payment holidays may be available from certain lenders, especially around mortgages. 

•    Food bank support is available if you are unable to pay for food.

If you are concerned about your ability to pay tax due to financial insecurity caused by COVID-19, call HMRC's dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559

 

 

 

Since 13th March, SMEs 'may' be entitled to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for sickness or absence caused by COVID-19. This refund will cover up to two weeks SSP (per employee) for employees who are ill or advised to self-isolate.  Please apply directly to HMRC.

Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible to apply.

Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP because of COVID-19.

If an employer cannot cover staff costs because of COVID-19, support is available to help continue paying part of the employee wages. This support aims to avoid redundancies.

If the employer intends to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, their employees will be considered as a furloughed worker. 

This means that the employee stays on the employer's payroll, not made redundant. While classified as a furloughed worker, the employee cannot work otherwise they do not qualify for the scheme. 

With the scheme, employers can claim a grant of up to 80% of the employees' wages, up to a cap of £2, 500 per month per employee. 

A full range of measures have been made available to support businesses, public services and individuals during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Businesses can find out here what support is available to them and where and how they can access it.

The measures available to business announced by the Chancellor are:

  1. A Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where small and large employers will be eligible to apply for a government grant of 80% of workers' salaries up to £2,500 a month. The scheme will be backdated to March 1 and available for at least three months, with first grants to be paid within weeks.
  2. A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be delivered by the British Business Bank. It will enable businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. Businesses can access the first six months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first six months of interest payments.
  3. For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide two million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.
  4. A dedicated helpline to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to coronavirus, call HMRC's dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
  5. A business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020/21 tax year A £25,000 grant will also be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
  6. For further information and updates on these schemes, please visit the dedicated business support website.

Business support helpline

You can contact the government's Business Support Helpline for free advice on 0300 456 3565. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm.

Alternatively, visit: HM Government Business Support - Coronavirus Business Support

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced extra help for some businesses, see COVID-19 - Business rates retail discount.

Our Business Rates team are on hand to help, they can assess your situation and assist with debt advice as well as financial assistance and practical advice. They can also refer you to a number of specialist agencies that can offer further help. Please contact one of the team on 01268 533333

You can contact the government's Business Support Helpline for free advice on 0300 456 3565. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm.

For more information about the support available to businesses impacted by COVID-19, you can view the government's guidance at GOV.UK - COVID-19: support for businesses.

If your business is about to cease trading and you need to make your staff redundant, information on support the council can offer to staff who are facing redundancy can be viewed at COVID-19 - Guidance, support and FAQs for residents.

 

 

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced extra help for some businesses, see COVID-19 - Business rates retail discount.

You can contact the government's Business Support Helpline for free advice on 0300 456 3565. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm.

For more information about the support available to businesses impacted by COVID-19, you can view the government's guidance at GOV.UK - COVID-19: support for businesses.

The Chancellor has announced a package of measures to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses to ensure the impact of COVID-19 is minimised.

Business support measures include:

  • a statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs. This is available from day one rather than day four and includes a refund for the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee. This is for businesses with fewer than 250 employees. The refund is from the government and covers the full cost.
  • a dedicated helpline to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC's dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

We are still awaiting further detail and guidance from the Government on how they will administer these business support initiatives.

Join Essex Coronavirus Action - Volunteer Sign-up

Essex Coronavirus Action is a collaboration between Essex County Council, The Essex Public Health Team, and local Facebook groups. Its aim is to ensure that support and assistance reaches the people who need it the most during the Coronavirus / Covid-19 outbreak. We are looking for people and businesses who will volunteer to provide this much needed help to vulnerable or self-isolating people in their local community.

Business volunteering - If you're a business owner/manager who would like to volunteer to help the vulnerable and those self-isolating in our local community please register here:

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