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COVID 19 - Guidance for Employers & Businesses

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Visit our dedicated Council page for the latest advice for businesses in light of the Coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic.

The Government has announced a range of measures designed to help businesses while the UK and countries around the world are affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Daily updates on where to get advice are being provided by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.


The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has said that £330bn in loans - equivalent to 15% of GDP - will be available from next week to help businesses pay for supplies, rent and salaries.

Other measures to be put in place include extended business rates relief and a three-month mortgage holiday for people in financial difficulty as a result of the virus.

We are awaiting confirmed details of all these measures and will provide detailed advice when it is available.


In the mean time, we hope the information below is helpful.

23 March 2020:
– Increase to working tax credits
– Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme, now open

Here are 5 key steps you can take today:

1. Get help with your finances

For small and medium sized businesses, the new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now available for applications. For more information and how to apply, visit our website.

You can also speak to your bank or lender to discuss options.

The Bank of England’s new lending facility for larger firms is also open for applications. Find out more on their website.

2. See what you're entitled to

The government is also making cash grants and additional funding available to certain sectors and smaller businesses.

Find out more about the schemes available, whether you’re eligible and how to apply on this website.

3. Support your staff

Through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Government will pay salaries (at 80% of current pay up to £2,500 a month) for workers who are no longer working and would otherwise be made redundant.

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 2 weeks of COVID-19 related statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the Government in full. Find out more on this website.

4. Check guidance on tax

If you are concerned about paying your tax you can talk to HMRC about managing payments.

It has already postponed upcoming VAT payments through to June, cancelled business rates for many sectors and delayed July’s self-assessment tax payments until January 2021. To find out more visit this website.

5. Follow the latest advice

The Prime Minister’s daily press conference, live streamed on the @10DowningStreet Twitter feed, will also provide the latest updates on health advice, support for businesses and employees, as well as a range of other issues.

COVID 19 - Further Guidance for Employers & Businesses

This guidance will assist employers and businesses in providing advice to staff on:

  • the novel coronavirus, COVID-19
  • how to help prevent spread of all respiratory infections including COVID-19
  • what to do if someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in a workplace setting
  • actions to take if staff come into contact with someone who is self-isolating or is a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19


ACAS Advice for Employers & Employees

Coronavirus information for employers and employees which is updated daily


COVID 19 - Support announced in Budget

The Budget has announced a plan to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses affected by Covid-19.

The Chancellor has set out a £12 billion package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, individuals and businesses through the economic disruption caused by COVID-19.

This publication gives further detail on the measures announced by the Chancellor including additional funding, Statutory Sick Pay changes, and an increase in the Business Rates retail discount for one year.

See Government guidance below (HM Treasury)


COVID 19 - Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch in a matter of weeks to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.

The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £1.2 million in value. This new guarantee will initially support up to £1 billion of lending on top of current support offered through the British Business Bank.


Other Finance Options

A number of private lenders and banks are also making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Businesses can also access a range of finance through the Government-owned British Business Bank, visit the Bank's Finance Hub below for further information.


HMRC - COVID 19 Helpline

Call 0800 0159 559

Support for businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to Coronavirus. 

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

These businesses can contact HMRC’s new dedicated COVID-19 helpline from 11 March 2020 for advice and support. To ensure ongoing support, HMRC have made a further 2,000 experienced call handlers available to support firms and individuals when needed.

If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Heart of the South West Growth Hub

You can keep up to date with the latest information and advice plus guidance for employers and business on the Heart of the South West website.

The Heart of the South West Growth Hub gives businesses information on supporting them to grow or start and operate within the Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay area of South West England. 


Food business? Help protect yourself & others

In light of the current phase of response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Environmental Health service has received many enquiries from businesses and individuals wishing to support their local communities through offers of food collection and delivery through to food meal production and delivery.

During this phase of the Government’s four step plan, these community-based offers can be vital to help those most vulnerable in the community.

Read our guide to helping to protect yourself & others.

Are You Looking for Other Business Support Options?

The Heart of the South West Growth Hub team are on hand to help businesses in Somerset, Devon, Plymouth and Torbay navigate the business support landscape and put you in touch with the right schemes to meet your business needs and aspirations.

General enquiries 
Telephone 03456 047 047 

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