Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Business Advice and Information
Following the Chancellor’s announcement on Tuesday 17th March, new measures have been issued to support businesses affected by the restrictions placed on individuals during the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
We have detailed them below, but we would urge you to place your enquiries directly through the main Ashford Borough Council website. Call volumes to the main Council switchboard are likely to be very high during the next few weeks, so we would recommend getting information on their website or to sign up to their COVID-19 updates on their website wherever possible.
The AshfordFor team will relay the most up-to-date information as quickly as possible via our social media channels and redirect you to the relevant platforms. Our team will guide and support you as much as possible during this difficult time, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on social media.
If you want to find out more and discuss your options with business advisers please contact the Kent & Medway Growth Hub Coronavirus Business Support hotline. Call 03333 602300 8:30am-5pm Monday-Friday to speak with an adviser.
Support for Businesses affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19)
For more information or to apply for Coronavirus Business Support, please visit the Ashford Borough Council dedicated hub.
|Job Retention Scheme||HMRC will provide grants to business to cover the wages of people not working or furloughed – 80% of salary to a maximum of £2,500 per month. The help will be backdated to 1 March 2020, be available within weeks and can be accessed by small or large businesses as well as charities and not-for-profits||Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal. HMRC will set out further details on the information required||Online portal expected to open by end of April|
|Statutory Sick Pay||SMEs can be refunded cost of sick pay for up to 14 days for an individual||Applications will be with HMRC. Application portal not yet available||Process not published yet|
|Retail Business Rates Holiday ‘Retail Discount’||A 1-year business rates holiday for all businesses in the retail, leisure, hospitality sectors from 1 April 2020. To see who fits into these sectors please see government’s detailed guidance.||Ashford Borough Council Business Rates team will automatically apply this to their systems. No need for businesses to apply||Ashford Borough Council Business Rates team updating system currently|
|Retail Grants||Cash grant for businesses in the retail, leisure, hospitality sectors for up to £25,000. This will apply to businesses with a rateable value over £15,000 but less than £51,000||Complete online application form||Applications now open. Read government guidance|
|Small Business Grants||Any businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rate Relief (RRR) can apply for a grant of £10,000 for ongoing business costs||Complete online application form||Applications now open. Read government guidance|
|Grants for Social Enterprise||Two emergency grant schemes have been made available for social enterprises to help with operating challenges caused by Covid-19. The funds are being run by the Charities Aid Foundation and Kent Community Foundation.||Apply to the CAF grant fund and apply to the KCF grant fund||New funding schemes open|
|Extra time for tax||Individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities will be able to access support to agree a bespoke ‘time to pay’ arrangement||Apply to HMRC through their helpline on 0800 0159 559||No update at this stage|
|VAT Deferral||Immediate cashflow support for businesses by deferring this quarter’s VAT to the end of June. Businesses will have until the end of the financial year to pay tax bills||This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020/2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal||No update at this stage|
|Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme||Support for businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value, available on repayment terms of up to six years. Eligibility criteria apply||Full information on the British Business Bank website. Applications made via participating lenders||No update at this stage|
|Bank Support||Other private banks are making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19||Contact your banking provider||No update at this stage|
Commercial tenants who miss a rent payment will be protected from eviction. This protection will last until the end of June, and may be extended further
|This is an automatic protection for all businesses||No update at this stage|
Self-employed individuals will receive a direct cash grant of 80% of their profits, up to £2,500 per month. The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19, or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. To qualify, more than half your income in these periods must come from self-employment
|Applications will be with HMRC through a simple online form. HMRC will identify eligible taxpayers and contact them directly with guidance on how to apply||No update at this stage|
|Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit||
Universal Credit will be increased by £1k per year, and Working Tax Credit by the same amount. If eligible, self employed workers will be able to access the full Universal Credit equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees, and self-assessment taxes will be deferred to 2021
|View more information on claiming Universal Credit||No update at this stage|
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any questions on Business Rates Grants or Business Rates Holiday, please visit Ashford Borough Council dedicated hub.
To speak to the government’s Business Support Helpline, call 0300 456 3565 between Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm.
The British Chamber of Commerce have a Coronavirus hub with a range of information.
The Federation for Small Businesses provide advice about Coronavirus, including hygiene advice.
ACAS provide advice about Coronavirus, including simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff.
Kent County Council are asking businesses to answer their business survey to help inform future business support.
The NHS provides information about Coronavirus.
Ashford Borough Council will be providing health guidance updates on their Health and Pandemics page.