COVID business support, guidance and advice

Check the COVID-19 Secure Guidelines for your business
Check current restrictions in place in Liverpool

Business Support available

We understand there is a lot of information currently going around surrounding available financial support for employers and the self-employed from Central Government. In order to be able to find out what your business is entitled to including loans, tax reliefs and cash grants; use the business support finder to see what help you are eligible to receive.

Use the Government’s Business Support Finder
Support available for businesses required to close

See below main business support available for businesses in England.

Job protection, income support and grants

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has today announced an additional £1,000 Christmas grant for ‘wet-led pubs’ in tiers 2 and 3 who will miss out on much needed business during the busy Christmas period.

Pubs that predominantly serve alcohol rather than provide food have been asked to make huge sacrifices over the festive season and will be eligible for a one-off £1000 to help make ends meet.

The payment will be a one-off for December and will be paid on top on the existing £3,000 monthly cash grants for businesses. This will cover those in tiers 2 and 3 forced to reduce their operations as a result of the latest regional measures put in place to contain transmission of the virus.

Check if you are eligible to apply for the Christmas grant for ‘wet-led pubs’ here.

The Local Restrictions Support Grant helps businesses that have had to close due to local or national restrictions. In Liverpool, this includes businesses that were required to:

Or:

Your business has had to remain closed on a national basis since 23 March. This includes:

  • nightclubs
  • sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars

Your business will not qualify for support under this scheme if you have chosen to close but you were not required to or if it was in administration, insolvent or a striking off order was made at the time local restrictions started.

The amount you get depends on the rateable value of your premises. You will receive support on a rolling 28 day basis for as long as national restrictions apply, as shown below.

Local Authorities will receive a funding amount that will be the equivalent of:

Rateable value of premises Grant payment (Tiers 2 and 3) 14 day period (payable every 14 days) National lockdown 5 November – 1 December (one off payment) National lockdown from 5 January 2021 (6-week payment) National lockdown from 5 January 2021 (one off payment)
£15,000 or under £667 £1,334 £2,001 £4,000
£15,0001 – £50,999 £1,000 £2,000 £3,000 £6,000
£51,000 or over £1,500 £3,000 £4,500 £9,000
Find out more and submit your application for the Local Restrictions Grant here

From Tuesday 26 May, a new online service will be launched for small and medium-sized employers to make claims and to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees, through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme.

Find out more details here

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full.

This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

  • this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
  • employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  • employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
  • eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force
  • the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible

How to access the scheme

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme was announced at Budget as part of a package of support measures for businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The new online service will be launched for small and medium-sized employers to make claims and to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees, through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000. The scheme will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible for the scheme you must meet all the criteria below:

  • Be self-employed or a member of partnership;
  • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19;
  • File a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. Those who have not yet filed for 2018-19 will have an additional 4 weeks from this announcement to do so;
  • Have traded in 2019-20; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID 19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
  • Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
    • Your trading profits and total income in 2018/19
    • Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.

How do I access it?

Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational. HMRC will then pay the grant directly to eligible claimants’ bank account. HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid out by beginning of June 2020. For eligible individuals who have not submitted their returns for 2018-19, they will have 4 weeks’ notice from the date of the announcement to file their returns and therefore become eligible for this scheme.

HMRC are publishing guidance on the scheme, available here. This guidance will continue to be updated.

When can I access it?

HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid by the beginning of June 2020. This time is necessary to ensure that the scheme is both deliverable and fair. In the interim the self-employed will still able eligible for other government support including more generous universal credit and business continuity loans.

Further information on how to access these schemes can be found here.

→ Income Tax deferral

Payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

Eligibility

If you are self-employed you are eligible.

How to access the scheme

This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities.

The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. The scheme was scheduled to open on 1 November 2020 and to run for 6 months has now been postponed until the end of the Job Retention Scheme.

The company will continue to pay its employee for time worked, but the cost of hours not worked will be split between the employer, the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), and the employee will keep their job.

The Government will pay a third of hours not worked up to a cap, with the employer also contributing a third. This will ensure employees earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages, where the Government contribution has not been capped.

Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Find out more.

The Government will award a Job Retention Bonus, a £1,000 one-off taxable payment to you (the employer). You do not have to pay this money to your employee. This is now postponed unter further notice after the announcement that furlough will be extended until March.

Deferrals and business rates holiday

The government is introducing a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to the relevant local authority.

How to access the scheme

There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.

You can estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year using the business rates calculator.

Further guidance for local authorities is available in the expanded retail discount guidance.

A business rates holiday will be introduced for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Eligibility

You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

  • your business is based in England

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be hereditaments:

  • occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
  • wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage

How to access the scheme

There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.

You can estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year using the business rates calculator.

Further guidance for local authorities is available in the nursery discount guidance.