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Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for Businesses

The latest COVID-19 updates and guidance from government for businesses and employees.

Based on the World Health Organisation’s recent declaration, COVID-19 is now classed as a public health emergency of international concern.

The outbreak has undoubtedly already impacted on many businesses and their staff, with much more expected to come. In order to help ensure our BID levy payers are fully informed, we have created this useful page to link you to the advice and guidance you may need for your business.

We are also advising businesses to build their own resilience by reviewing their business continuity plan, developing an understanding on the potential impacts to your supply chains, customers or other factors critical to your operations.

If Rochdale BID can do anything to support your business, please get in touch.

GOVERNMENT ADVICE

For the latest information and advice, employers and business owners should regularly visit the guidance for employers and businesses page on the guidance for employers and businesses page on the government website.

ACAS have also published information for employees and employers including information on simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff, sick pay and absence from work.

PUBLIC ADVICE

Please follow the NHS public advice to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES

The 2020 Budget (announced on 11th March) contained a series of announcements that will support businesses coping with the economic impact of Coronavirus.

Business rate holiday: Shops, cinemas, restaurants, pubs, and music venues with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will not pay business rates in the year from April 6th, 2020. This will include art galleries, museums, gyms, nightclubs, theatres and guest houses.  This will benefit a significant proportion of Rochdales BID's levy payers. Please note, the BID levy is different from business rates and therefore is still applicable.

There is an additional allowance for pubs with a rateable value of up to £100,000 of a £5,000 discount.

Gov’t will provide an additional £2.2 billion funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no Business Rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR). This will provide a one-off grant of £3,000 to around 700,000 business currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme: This temporary loan scheme will support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The British Business Bank will guarantee 80% of the value of loans offered by banks to businesses, up to a £1.2 million cap per individual loan. There will also be a cap for each lender on the total value of loans they can offer. Although there is, as yet, no further detail on the level of this lender cap or routes of application for businesses, the government has said that the scheme will support up to £1 billion of additional lending.

Time to Pay Helpline: The government has announced that businesses and those who are self-employed can access support and advice on their tax obligations and payments via a new dedicated COVID-19 telephone helpline. Using this helpline, businesses may be able to agree a ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement with HMRC.

The budget also states that HMRC will waive late payment penalties and interest where a business experiences administrative difficulty contacting HMRC or paying taxes due to COVID-19.

HMRC Coronavirus Helpline: 0800 015 9559 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm and Saturday, 8am to 4pm)

Statutory Sick Pay: 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 2 million businesses with up to £2bn to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.

Private Lenders: A number of private lenders are also making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including £2 billion from Lloyds Banking Group and £5 billion from NatWest.

For further guidance for employers and businesses, please visit the government website.

16 Mar 2020