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Advice for businesses about coronavirus

As the situation with coronavirus is developing, we want to keep our local businesses up to date with current support for businesses.

 

General business support

We remain committed to supporting our local businesses to help minimise the impact of Covid-19 and will keep this page up to date.

Key up to date on the latest business support announcements from:

 

Firebreak lockdown grants

Welsh Government has launched two lockdown grants to help businesses survive the economic consequences of the Welsh national lockdown imposed as a result of coronavirus (Covid-19). The online application form will be available here from Wednesday 28 October.

  1. The Lockdown Non-domestic Rate Grant - for eligible businesses and not-for-profit organisations that are liable to pay business rates as of 1 September 2020.
    Swansea Council aims to make automatic payments to eligible businesses wherever possible using information obtained during the payment of the last round of Non-Domestic Rate grants, earlier this year.
    Only businesses that are eligible for the new NDR grant but did not get the previous NDR grant, will need to fill in an application form.
     
  2. The Lockdown Discretionary Grant - for eligible businesses that are not liable to pay business rates.

To check if you are eligible or to apply please visit: www.swansea.gov.uk/firebreakgrants

 

Freelancer Grant (cultural sectors)

The Welsh Government have launched the Freelancer Grant to help freelance professionals survive the economic consequences of coronavirus (Covid-19).

Phase 3 of the Freelancer Grant applications is now open for new applications.

The applications will be open until they are fully subscribed.

Find out if you are eligible at: https://fundchecker.businesswales.gov.wales/culture

 

Economic Resilience Fund

Update: Due to high demand, the ERF Business Development Grant is suspended while Business Wales processes the applications received. Please monitor the Business Wales Covid-19 Support For Business website and their social media channels for other support and updates.

Phase 3 of this fund is intended to support businesses in Wales with development projects to assist with recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and future sustainability.  You can view examples of eligible projects here.

The business development grants will be open to businesses of all sizes:

  • Micro businesses (1-9 employees) can apply for up to £10K - there will be discretion for grant awards of up to 100% for Tourism and Hospitality micro businesses.
  • SMEs (10-249 employees) can apply for up to £150K - there will be discretion for grant awards of up to 100% for Tourism and Hospitality micro businesses.
  • Large businesses (employing 250+ people) can apply for up to £200K on the condition they match this with their own investment of at least 50%.

If the project is creating new jobs for young people (under 25) you may be eligible for a higher level of award.

The grant fund will be open for applications from the week commencing 26 October 2020 and remain open for four weeks or until funds are fully committed.

The funding is to cover the period from October 2020 to 31 March 2021.

To check if you are eligibly or to apply please visit: fundchecker.businesswales.gov.wales/erfphase3

 

UK Government Covid-19 Business Loans

The UK Government is extending four temporary loan schemes that were designed to support UK businesses that are losing revenue and seeing their cashflow disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

More businesses will now be able to benefit from the:

  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)
  • Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) 
  • Future Fund

The schemes will be extended to 30 November 2020 for new applications. For further information on these loan schemes please visit the British Business Bank website.

 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Scheme)

Update (06/11/20): The UK Government has announced that the furlough scheme will be extended until the end of March. It had originally  been due to end in November. Now, until March employees will continue to receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to £2,500 a month.

 Further details of the extended scheme include:

  • The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 and employers will pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions only for the hours the employee does not work.
  • The Jobs Retention Bonus WON'T now be paid in February. This was set to be a grant for employers who retained staff after the furlough scheme ended, but with the furlough scheme now running beyond February, it no longer applies. The Government says it will "redeploy a retention incentive at the appropriate time", though we don't yet know if this will be the Jobs Retention Bonus or something different.
  • Flexible furloughing will be allowed, this mean staff can work part-time while on furlough or be furloughed full-time.
  • Employees on all types of contract can take part. This means that those on zero-hours contracts and fixed-term contracts, as well as agency workers, will be included.
  • You DON'T need to have been furloughed before to take part - and the employer doesn't need to have used the scheme before either.
  • Staff who were made redundant since late September CAN be rehired and furloughed. 

For further information please visit the UK Government website.

 

Support for the self-employed (SEISS)

Update (06/11/20): The Government is to increase the support provided by its Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) - with the value of the next three-month grant has been boosted further to 80% of average trading profits. 

The third SEISS grant covers the period from November to January, and its value in November will be increased from 40% to 80% of profits - meaning over the three months it'll be worth 80% of profits, up to a maximum of £7,500.

The next grant will also be paid faster than previously planned, with the claims window opening on 30 November rather than the middle of December as previously announced.

How does SEISS work?

The SEISS is made up of four taxable Government grants for self-employed individuals. There were initially only two grants (these two have now closed). This means that Government support for the self-employed will now be extended until 30 April 2021.

The four grants are similar. The main differences are when they're available, how much they're worth and stricter eligibility criteria for the third grant compared to the previous two. The first two grants were open to those whose businesses were "adversely affected" by coronavirus, while those who apply to the second two need to declare that they have been specifically "impacted by reduced demand" due to coronavirus. 

While the third grant has now been increased in size, it'll still cover a smaller amount than the previous two grants. And crucially, only those who were eligible for the first and second grant are able to apply for the third.

You need to apply via the official Government claims portal - though applications for the third grant won't open until 30 November.

For further details on the SEISS scheme please visit the UK Government website.

 

 

Protection for business who miss rent payments

Government extends support to stop business evictions this year. Commercial tenants will be protected from the risk of eviction until the end of 2020 helping businesses to protect jobs.

Please visit the UK Government website for further information: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-extends-support-to-stop-business-evictions-this-year

 

HMRC support on VAT and PAYE

Deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus (COVID-19) - www.gov.uk/guidance/deferral-of-vat-payments-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

HMRC Debt Repayment Plan for your Outstanding Taxes - www.gov.uk/difficulties-paying-hmrc

HMRC helplines
HMRC have also set up a help line specifically for the self employed and businesses who will be struggling due to COVID19, including giving advice on tax and benefits you can claim for. The helpline can be reached on 0300 456 3565.
If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC's helpline for help and advice: 0800 024 1222.

 

Are you a local business offering home deliveries, collections or takeaways?

We've brought together a list of local businesses supplying food and other essential items via delivery or collection during the coronavirus pandemic: Deliveries and takeaways - suppliers of food and essential items in Swansea

If you are a local business offering delivery or collection of food and other essential items to residents of Swansea let us know so we can add you to the list: Submit information on what food/essentials you can supply

 

Guidance for drivers from Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

With an increase in deliveries as more people order items online the HSE is making sure that the driver's welfare is being looked after.

Drivers must have access to welfare facilities in the premises they visit as part of their work. Those who already provide reasonable access to toilets and handwashing facilities should continue to do so. Preventing access is against the law. 

There has also been a temporary and limited relaxation of the enforcement of drivers' hours rules for drivers involved in the delivery of:

  • food
  • non-food (personal care and household paper and cleaning)
  • over the counter pharmaceuticals

Drivers should not be expected to drive while they are tired. Employers remain responsible for the health and safety of their employees, other road users, and anyone involved in loading and unloading vehicles.

You can find more detailed information at:

 

Sunday trading

Swansea Council is relaxing Sunday trading laws to help give key workers and vulnerable people more time to get essential goods.

Under existing laws, shops above a certain size are restricted to six hours trading time on Sundays.

The council's Trading Standards has written to a large number of stores in the city to confirm it would not be enforcing current trading laws during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

It means shops affected by the restrictions can choose how long they open from Sunday 5 April 2020.

 

Helpline for the Social Business Sector in Wales

The Wales Co-operative Centre has launched a Covid-19 Helpline for the social business sector in Wales.

Social Business Wales and its team of expert advisors are on hand to provide help with enquiries about cash flow, HR, digital platforms, marketing and communications and a range of other areas that might need re-thinking in light of the coronavirus.

They can provide advice via telephone or through video conferencing, you can contact them by telephone on 0300 111 5050 or email sbwenquiries@wales.coop if you need support.

For further information please visit the Social Business Wales website.

 

Voluntary Services Emergency Fund

A new grant scheme to enable voluntary organisations providing vital support during the Coronavirus crisis to continue and expand their work.

Grants will support not for profit organisations working at a community scale, up to a national level in Wales, and can be between £10,000 - £100,000.

For full information and to apply, visit the WCVA website.

 

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

A new online service 'The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme' for small and medium sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to current or former employees.

For further information please visit www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

 

Be Active Wales Fund

From Sport Wales:

  1. To protect clubs and community organisations or groups that are at immediate financial risk and need support
  2. To provide financial support to help prepare clubs and community organisations or groups to restart, respond to, or grow participation, in direct response to Covid-19.

More information: www.sport.wales/beactivewalesfund/

 

COVID-19 Business Impact Survey

The Regional Learning and Skills Partnership are currently working with businesses across South West & Mid Wales to understand how the pandemic has affected them.

This has been a difficult and unprecedented time for many and we want to gather enough intelligence to inform Welsh Government of the support needed by businesses to properly recover. This survey is the primary method of gathering this information and should take no longer than 5 minutes to complete.

We would be grateful if you would take some time to complete it and support us in our bid to support you. The survey closes on 20 November - https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DNKBQ8K

Guidance for hospitality businesses

Welsh Government and other organisations have produced guidelines and FAQs for hospitality businesses.

Firebreak lockdown grants

Welsh Government launched two lockdown grants to help businesses survive the economic consequences of the Welsh national lockdown imposed as a result of coronavirus (Covid-19). The online application form is now available.

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