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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:

 

Kickstart Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme is a £2 billion initiative to provide funding to employers to create new 6-month job placements for young people, aged 16-24 who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

Find out more: Kickstart Scheme

 

Restrictions Business Fund

The Welsh Government has launched the Restrictions Business Fund to support businesses that have been directly impacted by the additional restrictions put in place on 4 December to control the spread of Covid-19.

The purpose of the grant is to provide businesses with cash flow support and to help them survive the economic consequences of the restrictions introduced. The grant seeks to complement other Covid-19 response measures to support businesses, social enterprises and charitable organisations in Wales.

The fund consists of two separate grants: 

  1. Restrictions Business Fund Non Domestic Rate Grant - Applications for this grant have now closed (31 March 2021)
  2. Restrictions Business Fund Discretionary Grant - Applications for this grant have now closed (31 March 2021)

Businesses cannot apply for the NDR grant and the Discretionary Grant.

 

Freelancer Grant (cultural sectors)

Freelancers working in Wales' creative sectors will receive a further round of support worth £8.9 million.

The new round of support funding from the Cultural Recovery Fund will mean each of the freelancers already supported will receive an additional £2,500 to support them through this extended period of reduced activity.  

Freelancers who have previously received support will receive a self-declaration letter, which they will need to respond to for the funding to be released. The fund will not be open to new applications but anyone who missed out on the funding originally can apply for the Local Discretionary Grant. More details are available on the Business Wales website.

 

Cultural Recovery Fund Phase 2 grant

The Welsh government have announced that the Cultural Recovery Fund Phase 2 grant will be open for applications from Tuesday 6 April 2021.

In line with the Welsh Government's Coronavirus Control Plan during 2021 there will be continued closures and restrictions that will significantly impact on the culture sector's ability to reopen successfully and sustainably.

The sector includes theatres, music venues, recording and rehearsal spaces, heritage attractions, heritage organisations, museums, libraries, galleries, archives, independent cinemas, comedy venues and events.

The funding is to cover the period from 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021.

The fund will be open for applications from 6 April 2021 and will close on 20 April 2021.

Use the eligibility checker to review the criteria before applying.

 

UK Government Recovery Loan Scheme

The UK Government have launched the new Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) to provide further financial support to businesses as they recover and grow following the Coronavirus pandemic.

You can apply to the scheme if Covid-19 has affected your business. You can use the finance for any legitimate business purpose - including managing cashflow, investment and growth. However, you must be able to afford to take out additional debt finance for these purposes.

If your business has already borrowed from any of the other coronavirus loan schemes, namely:

  • the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS),
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS),
  • the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS),

RLS is still open to you, although the amount you have borrowed under an existing scheme may in certain circumstances limit the amount you may borrow under RLS.

RLS will run until 31 December 2021, subject to review.

For further information please visit www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/recovery-loan-scheme/.

 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Scheme)

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021 and the level of grant available to employers under the scheme will stay the same until 30 June 2021. However, from July onwards the state's contribution to that will gradually reduce, with employers asked to contribute more.

Employees on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue to get 80% of their salary for hours not worked, up to £2,500/month until the scheme ends.

Between now and 30 June, the state will pay 80% of wages for hours not worked (up to £2,500/month), employers will only be asked to cover national insurance and employer pension contributions. From July the state will only pay 70%, with employers expected to pay the remaining 10% of employee's reduced income, and in August and September the state will pay 60% and employers will have to pay 20%.

Please see below the dates you need to claim by:

Claim for furlough days inClaim must be submitted by
February 202115 March 2021
March 202114 April 2021
April 202114 May 2021
May 202114 June 2021
June 202114 July 2021
July 202116 August 2021
August 202114 September 2021
September 202114 October 2021

For further information please visit the UK Government website.

 

Support for the self-employed (SEISS)

Update (03/03/21): The Government announced a major extension to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), the fourth SEISS grant will be set at 80% of 3 months' average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment, capped at £7,500. The fourth grant will take into account 2019 to 2020 tax returns and will be open to those who became self-employed in tax year 2019 to 2020. The rest of the eligibility criteria remain unchanged.

The online claims service for the fourth grant will be open for applications from late April 2021 until 31 May 2021. If you are eligible, HMRC will contact you in mid-April to give you your personal claim date. This will be the date that you can make your claim from.  There will be more guidance about the fourth grant from the Government in due course.

The government has also announced that there will be a fifth and final grant covering May to September. You will be able to claim from late July if you are eligible for the fifth grant.

The amount of the fifth grant will be determined by how much your turnover has been reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021.
The fifth grant will be worth:

  • 80% of 3 months' average trading profits, capped at £7,500, for those with a turnover reduction of 30% or more
  • 30% of 3 months' average trading profits, capped at £2,850, for those with a turnover reduction of less than 30%

Further details will be provided on the fifth grant by the Government in due course.

Your eligibility for the scheme will now be based on your submitted 2019 to 2020 tax return. This may also affect the amount of the fourth grant which could be higher or lower than previous grants you may have received.

How does SEISS work?

The SEISS is made up of five 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 September 2021.

The five grants are similar. The main differences are when they're available, how much they're worth and changes to the eligibility criteria.

Applications for the fourth grant won't open until late April 2021.

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

 

Welsh Seafood Sector Resilience Scheme

The Welsh Government has launched a new £1.3 million scheme to help the Welsh fishing and aquaculture sector following the twin hits to their businesses caused by leaving the EU and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first part of the scheme will see a targeted one-off grant made available to eligible Welsh vessel-owning fishing businesses, with the grant equivalent to three months' vessel costs, capped at £10,000.

The payments will be based on vessel size and the number of corresponding categories.

The second part will see support provided to aquaculture businesses, including those trading in live bivalve molluscs.

Businesses will be able to apply for a grant for the first three months of 2021, to provide half of the average of their monthly gross revenue for each month, at a maximum cap of £40,500.

Applications for this scheme have now closed.

For further information please visit the GOV.Wales website: https://gov.wales/13m-welsh-seafood-sector-help-deal-brexit-and-covid-impacts

 

Protection for businesses who miss rent payments

Update 18/03/21

Welsh Government has extended the moratorium against forfeiture for the non-payment of rent to 30 June 2021.

While businesses should continue to pay rent wherever possible, the latest measure will ensure no business is forced out of its premises if it misses a payment between now and the end of June this year.

Visit GOV.UK to read the full announcement: https://gov.wales/welsh-government-extends-measures-protect-businesses-eviction-until-end-june-2021

 

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.

 

Employer Incentive Scheme

The Employer Incentive Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021.

This means businesses will be able to claim up to £4,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25. This is an uplift from the previous £3,000 grant that was on offer.

The £4,000 incentive will be available to businesses that are employing a young apprentice for at least 30 hours per week.

Welsh businesses could also receive £2,000 for each new under 25 year old apprentice they employ for less than 30 hours a week, which is an increase of £500.

For further information please visit GOV.Wales: https://gov.wales/187-million-extend-business-incentives-recruit-more-apprentices

 

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/

 

Guidance for hospitality businesses

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

Restrictions Business Fund: Discretionary Grant

The Welsh Government has reopened the Restrictions Business Fund to support businesses and sole traders that have been directly impacted by the extended restrictions announced by the First Minister on 29 January 2021 needed to control the spread of Covid-19.

Kickstart Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme is a £2 billion initiative to provide funding to employers to create new 6-month job placements for young people, aged 16-24 who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

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