Latest Covid-19 advice & support for BID members

05/11/2020

Newport Now BID is working hard to provide as much practical help, support and advice to its members as possible.

This page will be updated regularly with links to such advice, as well as latest BID activity. 

Full guidance on new restrictions from November 9

Welsh Government has today published a full set of guidance regarding restrictions that will come into place when the current 'firebreak' lockdown ends on November 9.

You can find the FAQs here: https://gov.wales/coronavirus-regulations-guidance

Furlough extended to the end of March 2021

Chancellor Rishi Sunak today announced the furlough scheme will now be extended until the end of March across the UK.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will now run until the end of March with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be increased, with the third grant covering November to January calculated at 80% of average trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500.

More information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-extends-furlough-to-march-and-increases-self-employed-support

Lockdown Business Fund

Applications for business grants from the Welsh Government's Lockdown Business Fund open tomorrow. Information for Newport businesses is available here: https://www.newport.gov.uk/en/Business/COVID-19-business-support/Local-Lockdown-Business-Fund.aspx

Job Support Scheme Expanded

The Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses across the UK required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions. The government will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries to protect jobs over the coming months.

Under the expansion, firms whose premises are legally required to shut for some period over winter as part of local or national restrictions will receive grants to pay the wages of staff who cannot work.

The government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.

Under the scheme, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and only asked to cover NICS and pension contributions. It is estimated that around half of potential claims are likely not to incur employer NICs or auto-enrolment pension contributions and so face no employer contribution.

Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.

The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review point in January. In line with the rest of the JSS, payments to businesses will be made in arrears, via a HMRC claims service that will be available from early December. Employees of firms that have been legally closed in the period before 1 November are eligible for the CJRS.

The scheme is UK wide and the UK Government will work with the devolved administrations to ensure the scheme operates effectively across all four nations.

Job Retention Bonus information updated

Further information has been published today (October 9) on how businesses can claim the government’s £9 billion Job Retention Bonus.

The Job Retention Bonus is intended to support millions of employers who have kept on furloughed workers

The bonus will work alongside newly announced Job Support Scheme and could be worth more than 60% of average wages of workers who have been furloughed – and are kept on until the start of February 2021. Businesses can claim for the Bonus from 15 February until the end of March.

The scheme is designed to continue to support jobs through the UK’s economic recovery from coronavirus by encouraging and helping employers to retain as many employees who’ve been on furlough as possible.

New guidance sets out the information employers who have furloughed employees need to know in order to claim the bonus from 15 February until 31 March 2021.

Employers will still be able to claim even if they are receiving support from the recently announced Job Support Scheme, which will protect jobs in businesses facing lower demand over the winter months due to coronavirus.

The £1,000 Job Retention Bonus is equal to a 20% wage subsidy for the employment costs of the average person previously furloughed, but for those on lower incomes, it’s 40% of wage costs over the three-month period to the end of January 2021.

Businesses can check if they are eligible to apply for the scheme here.

Jobs Support Scheme

Chancellor Rishi Sunak today announced a new package of business support in the wake of the latest Covid-19 restrictions. The Job Support Scheme is open to all small and medium sized businesses. The government will subsidise the wages of employees who are working less than normal hours. Here is the government's fact sheet:

1.What is it?

  • The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who arefacing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. The company will continue to pay its employee for time worked, but the burden of hours not worked will be split between the employer and the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), and the employee will keep their job.
  • Now the economy is opening up, we should target support on those businesses that need it most: focusing on those that are being impacted by Coronavirus and who can support their employees doing some work, but that need more time for demand to recover.
  • The Government will pay a third of hours not worked up to a cap, with the employer also contributing a third. This will ensure employees earn a minimum of77% of their normal wages, where the Government contribution has not beencapped.
  • Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.
  • The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months, until April 2021.Further guidance will be published shortly.

2.Who is eligible?

  • All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant. Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used theCoronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
  • Large businesses will have to meet a financial assessment test, so the scheme is only available to those whose turnover is lower now than before experiencing difficulties from Covid-19. There will be no financial assessment test for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
  • Our expectation is that large employers using the Job Support Scheme will not be making capital distributions, such as dividend payments or share buybacks, whilst accessing the grant. Further details will be set out in guidance.
  • Employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 23 September 2020. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment to that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 23 September 2020.
  • In order to support viable jobs, for the first three months of the scheme the employee must work at least 33% of their usual hours. After 3 months, the Government will consider whether to increase this minimum hours threshold.
  • Employees will be able to cycle on and off the scheme and do not have to be working the same pattern each month, but each short-time working arrangement must cover a minimum period of seven days.

3.What does the grant cover?

  • For every hour not worked by the employee, both the Government and employer will pay a third each of the usual hourly wage for that employee. The Government contribution will be capped at £697.92 a month.
  • Grant payments will be made in arrears, reimbursing the employer for the Government’s contribution. The grant will not cover Class 1 employer NICs orpension contributions, although these contributions will remain payable by theemployer.
  • “Usual wages” calculations will follow a similar methodology as for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Full details will be set out in guidance shortly. Employees who have previously been furloughed, will have their underlying usual pay and/orhours used to calculate usual wages, not the amount they were paid whilst onfurlough.
  • Employers must pay employees their contracted wages for hours worked, and the Government and employer contributions for hours not worked. Our expectation is that employers cannot top up their employees’ wages above the two-thirds contribution to hours not worked at their own expense.

4. What does it mean to be on reduced hours?

  • The employee must be working at least 33% of their usual hours.
  • For the time worked, employees must be paid their normal contracted wage.
  • For time not worked, the employee will be paid up to two-thirds of their usual wage.
  • Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which their employer is claiming the grant for that employee.

5. How can I claim?

  • The scheme will be open from 1 November 2020 to the end of April 2021. Employers will be able to make a claim online through Gov.uk from December 2020. They will be paid on a monthly basis.
  • Grants will be payable in arrears meaning that a claim can only be submitted in respect of a given pay period, after payment to the employee has been made and that payment has been reported to HMRC via an RTI return.

6. HMRC checks

  • HMRC will check claims. Payments may be withheld or need to be paid back if a claim is found to be fraudulent or based on incorrect information. Grants can only be used as reimbursement for wage costs actually incurred.
  • Employers must agree the new short-time working arrangements with their staff, make any changes to the employment contract by agreement, and notify the employee in writing. This agreement must be made available to HMRC on request.
  • Our intention is that employees will be informed by HMRC directly of full details of the claim.

VAT cut extended

The government is extending the temporary reduced rate of VAT (5%) from 12 January to 31 March 2021. This will continue to apply to supplies of food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and similar premises, supplies of accommodation and admission to attractions across the UK.

Support for self-employed

The chancellor is extending the self-employed grant on similar terms to the Job Support Scheme.

A grant will be available to those eligible for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme Grant.

The grant will cover three months' worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January. It will cover 20% of average monthly profits up to a total of £1,875.

A further grant may be available to the self-employed to cover February 2021 to the end of April, depending on circumstances.

Business loans

Bounce Back Loans will be extended from six years to 10, cutting monthly repayments by nearly half.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme lenders will also be able to extend the length of loans from the current maximum of six years to 10 years.

The Chancellor is also extending the deadline for the government's coronavirus loan schemes to the end of November.

Businesses struggling can choose to make interest only payments for six months and those "in real trouble" can apply to suspend repayments altogether for six months. Businesses will not see their credit rating fall as a result.

Tax changes

Businesses who deferred their VAT bills will be able to pay back their taxes in 11 smaller interest-free instalments. Self-assessment income taxpayers who need to will be given more time to pay

More information on the Chancellor's announcements is available here.

Eat Out to Help Out

The UK Government has launched the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme to offer discounts to diners and encourage them to eat at restaurants.

Businesses can use the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme:

  • all day, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from August 3-31
  • to offer a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person, to diners for food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in
  • to claim the money back from the government

There is no limit to the number of times customers can use the offer during the period of the scheme. Your customers cannot get a discount for someone who is not eating or drinking. Full details of the scheme are available by clicking here.

Covid-19 Business Rate Grants

In March the Welsh Government made available grants of £10,000 and £25,000 for businesses affected by the Covid-19 emergency.

To date more than £26m has been paid out to Newport businesses however time is running out to apply for a grant and it is possible that your business could still benefit if you act now.

Welsh Government have announced that the scheme will close for new applications on 30 June 2020 so you need to act quickly to make sure your business doesn’t miss out.

There are two grants available:

  • £10,000 payable to all business premises in use with a Rateable Value of less than £12,000. Sometimes very small premises have no rates to pay but may still qualify for a business grant.
  • £25,000 grant for business that are open to the public and operate in the Retail, Leisure and hospitality sectors. The business must have a rateable value in the range £12,001 to £51,000.

If you think that your business might qualify details on how to apply can be found on the Newport City Council website http://www.newport.gov.uk/en/Business/COVID-19-business-support/Covid-19-Business-rates-grants.aspx.

If you’re not sure if your business will qualify, or you want to discuss the grant process please email the team on NNDR@newport.gov.uk making sure to put COVID GRANT APPLICATION as the subject.

If you have already applied and your application was unsuccessful or your business does not fall into any of the above criteria there may be other more suitable financial help available. Please check https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/support for more information.

Grant for small charities in the retail, leisure & hospitality sector

The Welsh Government has announced a £10,000 business support grant for small charities within the retail, leisure and hospitality sector to help them respond to the financial challenges of COVID-19.

This package will support properties with a rateable value of £12,000 or below, and includes charity run shops, sports premises, community centres.

You cannot apply for this grant if you have already been awarded COVID-19 grant(s) amounting to £10k or more from the:

  • Welsh Government Economic Resilience Fund (ERF), or
  • Sport Wales Emergency Relief Fund

Please email nndr@newport.gov.uk with any queries about eligibility based on COVID-19 related grants you may have already received.

Changes to furlough scheme announced

The Chancellor has announced changes to the Job Retention Scheme (furlough) and to support for the self-employed. Full details are here.

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme set to launch

Employers will be able to make claims through the scheme from May 26. For full details click here.

Welsh Government publishes its 'roadmap' to easing the lockdown

The Welsh Government today published its traffic light system setting out how Wales could exit the Covid-19 lockdown. You can download the document by clicking here.

Help for self-employed scheme is now live

The UK Government's Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is now live. If you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) use this scheme if you're eligible to claim the grant. More information here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme

Bounce Back Loan scheme launches

The Bounce Back Loan scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan. The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders. Here's how to apply: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan

New measures to protect UK high street from aggressive rent collection and closure

High street shops and other companies under strain will be protected from aggressive rent collection and asked to pay what they can during the coronavirus pandemic. More details here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-measures-to-protect-uk-high-street-from-aggressive-rent-collection-and-closure

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The UK Government’s furlough scheme opens for applications today - 10 days ahead of schedule.
Employers in Wales can now go online to claim cash grants worth up to 80% of wages, capped at £2,500 a month per worker.
5,000 HMRC staff will operate the scheme – which is expected to help thousands of firms across the UK.

Advice to employers and employees:

  • Read all the available guidance on GOV.UK before applying;
  • Gather all the information and the precise calculations before starting an application. If you have a payroll provider, they will be able to help you;
  • Employees can find out more in the calculation guidance where they can access a claim calculator.
  • To receive payment by 30 April, employers will need to complete an application by 22 April.
  • HMRC expect to be very busy so we would ask that employers only call the helpline if they can’t find what they need on GOV.UK or through the webchat service - this will leave lines open for those who need urgent assistance.

Welsh Government's Economic Resilience Fund application portal now open

Additional grant funding is being made available with applications open from today. The expectation is for the demand for these grants to be high ( and it is on a first come first serve basis).

Details of the scheme can be found here: https://gov.wales/find-out-if-your-business-eligible-support-new-economic-resilience-fund

Check your eligibility here. If you are eligible you will be take automatically to the application form: https://fundchecker.businesswales.gov.wales/

Job Retention Scheme Update

The HMRC portal to process the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will go live on April 20 and have the capacity to handle 450,000 claims an hour. Once claims have been submitted, payment for furloughed workers can be expected within four to six working days. Companies will be able to claim furlough payments 14 days in advance of an employer’s payroll run, to ease immediate cash flow pressures.

Updated government guidance for employers and businesses

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19

List of Newport businesses still trading(to be added to this list, email business.services@newport.gov.uk)

http://www.newport.gov.uk/en/Business/Advice-and-support/Trading-information-from-Newport-businesses.aspx

Business Wales coronavirus webinars

https://wales.businessevents.org.uk/en/eventsearch/dateFrom=31%2F03%2F2020&sort=dateStart.asc&text=coronavirus&page=2

Media Wales launches initiative to support local businesses

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/media-wales-launches-therewithyou-support-17994644

Welsh Government announces £500m Economic Resilience Fund

https://businesswales.gov.wales/financial-support-and-grants

Government announces scheme to support self-employed

https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/self-employment-income-support-scheme/

Extra protection for commercial tenants

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/extra-protection-for-businesses-with-ban-on-evictions-for-commercial-tenants-who-miss-rent-payments

Latest direction on which businesses must close

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/874732/230320_-_Revised_guidance_note_-_finalVF.pdf

Coronavirus – Support for small businesses

The Welsh Government is making funds available for non-repayable grant for small businesses with a rateable value of up to £51,000.For more information and how to apply visit – www.newport.gov.uk/business

Updated UK government information for employers

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Updated UK government information for employees

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees

Business support from Welsh Government

https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-support-businesses

Update on BID services

Following government instructions, a number of BID services have been temporarily suspended with immediate effect. These include our Ambassadors, who ended their patrols on March 23, and the Savings Advisory Service. BID members can continue to contact our manager Kevin Ward for help, advice and support - please email kevin@kevinwardmedia.com.

Information from Newport City Council

http://www.newport.gov.uk/en/Council-Democracy/Coronavirus-COVID-19.aspx

ACAS advice for employers and employees

https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

Business support and other information from UK Government

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-individuals-and-businesses-in-wales

Let us know how Covid-19 is affecting your business. Click below to take our survey.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/73H7JR8

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