The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced an emergency rescue package for businesses in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Some of the key measures will involve reducing Business Rates and making direct cash grants to the most-affected business sectors:
- 12-month business rates holiday for all retail; hospitality; leisure; nursery; bingo halls, betting shops, casinos & gambling halls; letting & estate agent; and wellness centres, spa & massage parlour businesses in England
- Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief (an increase on the £3,000 announced in the Spring Budget)
- Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
- New lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge Coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
- HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
- Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs.
These changes are in addition to the changes announced in the Budget on 11 March:
- Retail discount will be increased from 50% to 100% in 2020-21 including leisure and hospitality businesses
- Public house discount will be increased from £1,000 to £5,000 in 2020-21
- Continuation of rates relief for local newspaper offices
- Small and medium size businesses will be compensated for statutory sick pay.
Business Rate Relief
Business rates reliefs will be provided automatically through the Business Rates billing system. Eligible businesses will be sent new bills in due course and any rates already paid for 2020/21 will be refunded.
The Government is applying to the EU to remove any State Aid limits which might otherwise reduce the amount of rates relief that could be awarded.
Small Business Grants and Hardship Fund
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Government announced that properties in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of up to £51,000 would be able to receive a cash grant of either £10,000 or £25,000.
A further £500m Hardship Fund for local authorities was also announced in the Budget which will be used to support individuals struggling financially as a result of the pandemic.
Applications will be open shortly for an additional discretionary grants scheme for small businesses.
Low-interest Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The Chancellor also announced the availability of low-interest loans of up to £5m, to help small and medium-sized enterprises with their cashflow and other loans for larger businesses. This has been coordinated by the British Business Bank.
Her Majesty's Treasury also announced on 20 March 2020 a comprehensive series of measures supporting wages, cash-flow for businesses, and the welfare system.
COVID 19 Business Restart and Recovery survey
As the government starts to relax restrictions on business trading and social interaction, Worcester BID and Worcester City Council are seeking views from businesses about their plans for the next phase of recovery. Please complete this survey to let us know your plans so that we can put in place measures to support businesses across the city. All answers are optional and no individual responses will be made public. Closing date for the survey is Saturday 30 May 2020.
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The City Council's Economic Development Team will be issuing regular updates on business support and advice during the Coronavirus outbreak. You can subscribe to our Coronavirus Business Newsletter here.