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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

The firebreak lockdown grant applications have now closed (5.00pm, 11 December 2020). Have a look at the Restrictions Business Fund information.

 

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: 

Full information can be found on www.swansea.gov.uk/restrictionsfundNDR

 A discretionary grant of £2,000 is available to assist businesses that have:

  • Been forced or required to close as a result of the national restrictions put in place for hospitality businesses
  • OR estimate that the latest restrictions put in place will result in at least a 40% reduction in their turnover for December 2020 as compared to December 2019 (or September 2020 turnover if not trading in December 2019)

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

 

Freelancer Grant (cultural sectors)

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

Update (5.00pm, 7 December): The Freelance Fund is now closed across Wales. Final applications are being processed by local authorities for the £10.5m provided by Welsh Government to support freelancers in culture and arts.

 

Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) Sector Specific Support

The ERF Sector Specific Support (operating cost) package is targeted at Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure (HTL) businesses or supply chain companies who are materially impacted with a greater than 60% impact of turnover as a result of the restrictions. 

Eligible businesses will have to be employing staff via PAYE, and either VAT registered or (exempt from VAT) with turnover above £85,000, or limited companies with turnover above £50,000.

Businesses who have accessed the ERF Restrictions Business Fund could also apply for this fund if they met the eligibility requirements. 

For eligible businesses the package of support will provide the following grant awards:

  • For single employee business, minimum grant of £2,500
  • SMEs (up to 249 employees) - £1,500 per employee up to a maximum of 10 employees, representing £15,000 or for those employing more than 10, £1,500 per employee or self-declared operating costs for the restricted period (whichever is the lower amount). 
    • There would be an upper limit of £100,000 for SME businesses with a digital system based application.
  • Large businesses (250+ employees) - £500 per employee for Welsh headquartered large business applicants to a maximum of £150,000, with a manual case by case application via the sector team.

How to access the ERF Sector Specific Fund: 

A triage tool is now live on the Business Wales website for businesses to check their eligibility for the fund and the fund will open by 12.00 midday on 13 January 2021 and remain open for 2 weeks or until funds are fully committed.

For further information please refer to the FAQs - Economic Resilience Fund (ERF): Restrictions Business Fund and Sector Specific Grant page.

 

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 31 Match 2021. For further information on these loan schemes please visit the British Business Bank website.

 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Scheme)

The UK Government has announced that the furlough scheme will be extended until the end of April 2021. Now, until 20 April 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. 

Please see below the dates you need to claim by:

Claim for furlough days inClaim must be submitted by
December 202014 January 2021
January 202115 February 2021
February 202115 March 2021
March 202114 April 2021
April 202114 May 2021

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.

 

Business Wales Barriers Grant

The Welsh Government's Covid-19 commitment put in place a programme of employment and skills support to help people back to work.

Part of this programme includes additional support for individuals considering self-employment. In addition to the existing start-up service, a grant to support unemployed individuals that face greater economic barriers to starting a business is being made available. This discretionary grant will help up to 600 individuals become self-employed or start a business, between December 2020 and March 2021.

The grant will be open to all unemployed individuals, however priority in allocating funding will be given to those most affected by the Covid-19 outbreak:

  • Women
  • Disabled people
  • People from BAME backgrounds
  • Young people not in education or training (NEETS) aged 18-24 or a college and university leaver in 2019 or 2020

Individuals will be able to apply for up to £2,000 to contribute towards the essential costs of starting a business.

The grant will be managed through the Business Wales service.

The grant opened for applications on 1 December 2020.

For further information please visit the Business Wales Barriers Grant pages.

 

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/

 

Guidance for hospitality businesses

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

December 2020 Restrictions Business Fund: Non Domestic Rate Grant

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.

Restrictions Business Fund: Discretionary Grant

The Welsh Government has launched the Restrictions Business Fund to support businesses that have been directly impacted by the additional restrictions put in place during December 2020 to control the spread of Covid-19. The Discretionary Grant is not restricted to hospitality, leisure or tourism businesses.

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