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.

This information is subject to change depending on government announcements and further details being released.

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.

Further government advice and information for employers, businesses and home workers, including the East Midlands Chamber Toolkit for planning ahead, can be viewed at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/social-health/health-and-wellbeing/health-protection/disease-control/coronavirus/employers-businesses/employers-and-businesses and D2N2 Growth Hub Covid-19 support for businesses.

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-support.

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.

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.

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.)

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

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.

  • 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). 

A set of frequently asked questions has been produced about your business rates and eligibility for the government grants. 

We are currently receiving a high volume of enquiries following the government grant fund announcements.

Apply for your grant now by completing this form at www.ambervalley.gov.uk/business/small-business-grant-fund/.

You should apply for this grant if you run a small business within Amber Valley.

You can apply for support under a government funded grant scheme if your small business meets one of the following criteria:

  • Small Business Grant Funding: £10,000 grant to properties with a rateable value of up to £15,000 that are in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief.
  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Funding: £10,000 grant to eligible properties with a rateable value up to £15,000, or a £25,000 grant to eligible properties that have a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000

Full government guidance on business funding can be read at www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding.

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

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

Most UK businesses are eligible.

You will need to:

  • designate affected employees as 'furloughed workers', and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
  • submit information to HMRC* about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC* will set out further details on the information required)

HMRC* will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC* are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

*exemptions apply

As of now, self-employed people will be contacted by letter, text or email. However, individuals can go to the government website to check their own eligibility and book an appointment at www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme.

Appointments will be from the 13-18 May and payments will be 6 working days thereafter. The scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether. This is a temporary scheme, but it may be extended.

Unlike furloughed workers, self-employed people can claim this grant, but still work.

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.

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.

  • All pubs, restaurants and cafes will be able to offer takeaway and delivery services if they wish. Cafes, restaurants and bars have been instructed to close their doors to the public.
  • Permitted Development Right is now in place to allow pubs, restaurants and cafes to act as hot food takeaways without going through the usual planning process.

Full food safety guidance can be read at www.ambervalley.gov.uk/business/food-safety/covid-19-advice-for-food-businesses.

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.

Need further help or information?

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