Coronavirus advice for businesses

With Coronavirus (COVID-19) now affecting many areas of our services to the residents and businesses of Amber Valley, we are keen to keep you right up-to-date with the changes we are being forced to make. Read more about your council services.

Information on the new national restrictions, including what they mean for working from home and business closures, why they are being introduced and the financial support available can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november.

The government have released a quick online questionnaire to help you find out what financial support your business is entitled to, please visit www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

Amber Valley Borough Council are collating business contact details to provide ongoing business support information. If you wish to be included on the mailing list, please complete the online form at www.ambervalley.gov.uk/business/coronavirus-advice-for-businesses/register-for-covid-business-information.

Information and guidance for self-employed and businesses for COVID-19 can be found using the following links:

For further guidance and support available, please use the drop down menu below.

UK businesses driving innovation and development will be helped through the Coronavirus outbreak with a £1.25 billion government support package. For more information visit the government website.

Government provides further halt to business evictions and more support for high street firms new code provides support to shops and local firms planning their future recovery with their landlord.

  • The UK government will extend measures to prevent high street businesses facing eviction over summer
  • New code provides support to shops and local firms planning their future recovery with their landlord
  • Industry leaders back code and welcome measures to support affected businesses

The UK government has extended measures to prevent struggling companies from eviction over the summer.

The extension, until the end of September, comes alongside further support to help local businesses plan for economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic. 

A new code of practice has been developed with leaders from the retail, hospitality and property sectors to provide clarity for businesses when discussing rental payments and to encourage best practice so that all parties are supported.

For further information visit the government website at www.gov.uk.

  • Increase the business rates retail discount to 100% for one year for all eligible businesses (no rateable value threshold) and includes leisure, hospitality and nursery sectors. 
  • Businesses that received the retail discount in 2019-20 will be re-billed by their local authority (they do not need to apply). 

Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG) and Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)

Read more at www.ambervalley.gov.uk/council/news/funding-for-affected-businesses.

The government have also released a quick online questionnaire to help you find out what financial support your business is entitled to, please visit www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

New temporary Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, to be launched next week (week commencing 23 March) to support businesses to access bank lending, overdrafts, asset finance and invoice finance up to a value of up to £5 million.

The government will provide lenders with a 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 will also cover the first 6 months of interest payments and fees.

More information on the scheme, including the list of lenders who will be offering finance under it, can be found on the British Business Bank website at www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils.

Small Business Bounce Back Loans

The Chancellor announced on Monday 27 April that small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders. This means:

  • businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days.
  • loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.

For more information, visit the government website at www.gov.uk/government/news/small-businesses-boosted-by-bounce-back-loans.

Business funding support tool

Amber Valley Borough Council, working in partnership with Idox, have secured a service for businesses to explore and search for funding available that may offer support during this pandemic.

To access the portal and find out what support is available in the local area please visit www.idoxopen4business.co.uk/ambervalley.

The government have also released a quick online questionnaire to help you find out what financial support your business is entitled to, please visit www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Finance Facility

Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies. This will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.

For more information visit the government website www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-covid-19-corporate-financing-facility

Information including the package of measures announced at Budget 2020 (and subsequent) to support public services, individuals and businesses affected by Covid-19 can be found at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/873676/Covid-19_fact_sheet_18_March.

The government’s COVID-19 action plan can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan.

The government has produced guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the Coronavirus pandemic, eight guides have been produced to cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles, therefore, you may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. Further guidance will be published as more businesses are able to reopen. Further information can be found on the government website at www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

You must not reopen if your business is closed under current government rules. Check if your business or venue can open.

Before your business opens, you should check these five steps issued by government to working safely (you can read further details on each step at www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/5-steps-to-working-safely): 

Make sure you read all the guides relevant to your workplace, each guide has specific actions for businesses to take based on these steps. 

  1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
  2. Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures
  3. Help people to work from home
  4. Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible
  5. Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk

The eight guides include: (There is different guidance for educational and childcare settings and public transport operators.)

Amber Valley Borough Council, in partnership with Derbyshire County Council, has announced a free subscription to ShopAppy.com, a platform that allows businesses to establish an online presence, giving another avenue to connect with and sell to customers, share their story and expand their audience and customer-base. Read more.

To support businesses experiencing increases in costs or financial disruptions, small and medium-sized businesses and employers will be able to reclaim up to two weeks’ SSP paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

  • Employers will be able to reclaim up to two weeks for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19;
  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible.
  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
  • The eligible period for the scheme commenced on 13 March.

For more information visit the government website www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19.

If you are not eligible for SSP – for example if you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week – and you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or new style Employment and Support Allowance.

If you are eligible for new style Employment and Support Allowance, it will now be payable from day 1 of sickness, rather than day 8, if you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home.

Further information and support for employees following the latest announcement (20/3/20) can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559.

If you’re worried about a future payment, call the HMRC nearer the time.

Financial support

Workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary up to £2500 a month.

The flexibility of the current CJRS will be retained to allow employees to continue to work where they can. Employers small or large, charitable or non-profit are eligible and because more businesses will need to close, they will now be asked to pay just National Insurance and Pensions contributions for their staff during the month of November – making this more generous than support currently on offer.

The Job Support Scheme will not be introduced until after Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends.

Wherever you live, you may be able to get financial help through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, read more at www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-what-to-do-if-youre-employed-and-cannot-work.

Please note: The Job Support Scheme, which was due to start on 1 November 2020, has been postponed as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is being extended until the end of March 2021.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension

This grant is being extended from 1 November 2020. Find out if you're eligible and how much you can get by visiting www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension.

The UK Government recognises the continued impact that coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on the self-employed and has taken action to provide support.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension provides critical support to the self-employed in the form of two grants, each available for three month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021.

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

On Friday 18 September, it was announced that tourism and hospitality businesses would risk facing large fines of up to £4,000 if they fail to regulate the new government rule of 6. Pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants will now need to take bookings of no more than 6 people, ensuring that people are not meeting in groups of more than 6 on their premises, and preventing customer from dancing and making sure there is sufficient space between tables (2m – 1+m) . Once groups are within the premises, businesses also risk offending if they fail to advise groups not to merge in ways that breach the rules.

It is also now a legal requirement to log and retain records of customers, visitors and staff who have been at the premises. This is to support the NHS Test and Trace service in England to contact the necessary people if Coronavirus outbreaks are identified in venue.

From the 24 September, further regulations will be introduced with the launch of the national NHS COVID-19 app. From this date, certain businesses must display an NHS QR poster for users to scan upon entry.  Businesses will be expected to make sure customers are aware of the poster, and can be fined for failure to do so.

If individuals choose to check-in using the NHS Covid-19 app QR code poster they do not need to log in via any other route.

Information should be collected by the venue for those people that have not checked-in using the QR poster. 

Create your Covid QR poster at www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster?crmLink=3

Services included in this new legal requirements are:

  • hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés
  • tourism and leisure, including gyms, swimming pools, hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks 
  • close contact services, including hairdressers *facilities provided by local authorities, including town
  • halls and civic centres (for events), libraries and children’s centres 

These regulations will be enforced by local authorities, who will have the power to issue fines of up to £1,000 for venues that are failing to comply, or the police as a last resort. Fines will rise to up to £4,000 for repeat offenders.

For more information, including how and for how long to retain customer information, visit the government website at www.gov.uk/government/news/venues-required-to-enforce-rule-of-6-nhs-qr-code-posters-and-contact-logs?crmLink=5.

New free online learning platform to boost workplace skills.

Free courses are available through a new online platform hosted on the gov.uk website, called The Skills Toolkit. The new platform gives people access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects.

For more information visit the government website www.gov.uk/government/news/new-free-online-learning-platform-to-boost-workplace-skills.

Need further help or information?

Contact the team directly on 01773 841496 or email regeneration@ambervalley.gov.uk