The announcement on the Gov.uk website lists the various measures available and who is administering them - it is comprehensive & updated as they add additional measures.
NI rates holiday
In NI, the rates holiday will be for 3 months and apply to all businesses, and rates bills will be deferred from April to June to help with short-term cash flow. The grants and business rate relief scheme is devolved to the NI Executive. Details can be found here:
Small Business Rate Relief (rateable value between £12k and £15k)
Below is a link to information as to whether you qualify for the Small Business Rate Relief and therefore whether you will qualify for the £10k grant announced by Boris earlier in the week. As to how you will access this £10k grant I am awaiting more information.
Business Support Grant Scheme
You will be aware of the Coronavirus Business Support Grant Schemes announced by government which will provide grants of £10,000/£25,000 to small businesses
Details have still to be finalised on how this will be administered, but information will be updated on www.nibusinessinfo.com website.
Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The ‘business interruption’ loan scheme (up to £5m loans) will launch next week and will be delivered through the British Business Bank and the BBB link is:
The criteria limits the companies who can apply (£41m t/o max); the companies get first 6 months interest paid by the government but they’re responsible for all capital repayments (presumably starting straight away); and there is a De Minimis criteria which is yet to be clarified
Employees – Staff Management
The main thing at the moment is that you consider all options in staffing your operations and that any decision taken is reasoned, considered and mindful of your legal obligations. In order for you to take this informed decision, below are some key actions and sources of info for Northern Ireland;
- Here’s the FAQ answered; https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/covid-19-managing-staff-health-pay-leave-and-absence
- Review the attached sections of the Employers’ Handbook to ensure you follow the correct procedure. The templates can be downloaded from; https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/redundancy-letters-forms-and-templates
- Here’s the link to the entire handbook; https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/invest-northern-ireland-employers-handbook
- This issue does not sit in isolation; https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-employer-and-business-questions-answered
- If, after careful consideration, a decision taken is to make redundancies, review the guidance here: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/rights-redundant-employees and the helpline for the Redundancy Service is 028 9082 9000. Calculation the cost; https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/calculate-statutory-redundancy-pay-due-your-employee
COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses
Tax helpline to support businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)
- HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
- The helpline allows any business or self-employed individual who is concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus to get practical help and advice. Up to 2,000 experienced call handlers are available to support businesses and individuals when needed.
- 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 0159 559.
- You may qualify for the Time to Pay scheme
Bank of England Schemes
Two schemes involving the Bank of England:
- The measures on 11th March included a term funding scheme aimed at SMEs delivered via the banks: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/news/2020/march/boe-measures-to-respond-to-the-economic-shock-from-covid-19. Ask your bank about support.
- Another scheme for larger firms via the Bank of England https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/news/2020/march/hmt-and-boe-launch-a-covid-corporate-financing-facility and for which there is a market notice explaining some of the detail of how the facility will work: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/markets/market-notices/2020/ccff-market-notice-march-2020. Application forms and pricing will be added to the Bank of England’s website on Monday 23rd. The Bank will publish a dedicated webpage for corporates seeking to use the CCFF as soon as possible.
Association of British Insurers Statement
The Association of British Insurers have issued a statement on business insurance cover and have a COVID-19 Q&A which includes business insurance, trade credit, income protection and pensions and investments.
NI Business Info Updates
- https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/campaign/coronavirus-updates-support-your-business - Website operated by Invest NI and continually updated with latest information
Federation of Small Businesses
- FSB have a list of people to speak to for help https://www.fsb.org.uk/resources-page/what-help-for-coronavirus-covid-19-will-there-be-and-where-can-i-go-for-it.html
- For anyone involved with charities: https://www.civilsociety.co.uk/news/coronavirus-what-charities-need-to-know.html
- Consumer Council NI may also be useful for employees https://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/coronavirus
Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce
Working from Home
Here are some resources clients in relation to employees working from home: