We are following our message from earlier this week to provide you with a summary of financial support measures announced by the Government on 17 March 2020 and the latest information on how they will be managed. We are working closely with Kingston Council and Kingston Chamber of Commerce to ensure you receive clear, consistent and confirmed information and messages.
Recent UK Government announcements have set out a range of support measures for businesses in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, a summary is here. The Government has said this is the first stage of a series of financial support packages.
It is important to note that the Government is in the process of finalising how these financial measures will be managed and administered by Kingston Council. The timing has not yet been confirmed. We know information on accessing these funds is of critical importance to you and as soon as these details have been confirmed, we will be in contact.
Support for businesses that pay business rates
A 12-month break from business rates applying retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020-21 tax year has been confirmed. Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by Kingston Council as soon as possible.
A non-repayable £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. We are awaiting confirmation from the Government about when and how the Council can start making payments.
Businesses on Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR)
The Government will provide additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of SBRR. This will provide a one-off non-repayable grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR to help meet their ongoing business costs.
Businesses already getting SBRR will qualify for the £10,000 payment. These ratepayers will need to provide the Council with their bank details before a payment can be made. The Council is still waiting for full details of this scheme and how and when payments will be
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will launch next week to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts, delivered by the British Business Bank. This makes available £330bn for which the Government will provide lenders with an 80% guarantee. Small businesses can apply for up to £5m from their High Street bank.
Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest-free, as the government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.
The British Business Bank has provided detail on how the scheme works. These loans will not be administered by the Council.
Business Support and Advice
The GLA’s Growth Hub provides information and a useful checklist for businesses to manage the impacts of Coronavirus. A phone call with a business advisor can be booked through the Growth Hub site.
The Federation of Small Businesses has produced some useful guidance for small businesses and the self-employed.
Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the Government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim.
Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.
A package of measures of support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees is to be put in place. Initial information is available online.
London Councils Lorry Control Scheme suspended
London Councils is suspending enforcement of the London Lorry Control Scheme with immediate effect to help the freight and logistics industry cope with increasing pressures and demands from the rapidly developing situation with coronavirus.
Benefits for employees and self-employed
The Government has issued advice about coronavirus and claiming benefits, which will continue to be updated here.
If you are self-employed and claiming Universal Credit, and are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus, the Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) will not be applied for a period of time whilst you are affected.