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Home > Features > Support available for our businesses

Support available for our businesses

Information about the different types of support available for businesses is available on our FAQs.

 

Business Rate Update

Businesses across Babergh and Mid Suffolk are set to receive financial support in the form of grant funding announced in the Government’s package of measures designed to help smaller businesses.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are responsible for payment of these grants to our businesses and have put in place the systems to manage the grant payments. All qualifying businesses are being asked to complete a short online form to confirm payment details and eligibility. Businesses are able to claim only one of the following grants. 

  • £10,000; if the rateable value of the business premises is £15,000 or less, or
  • £25,000 if the rateable value is greater than £15,000 but less than £51,000

Businesses are now starting to receive these grant payments. If you have not been contacted by us and believe your business is eligible, please use the online form to submit your details. 

BE AWARE: We have reports of companies contacting small businesses and charging a fee to apply for these grants on their behalf. No local authorities are charging a fee and all qualifying businesses are entitled to access the grant. If you are unsure whether you qualify or have any queries, please contact the Business Rate Team

 

Government COVID-19 support for business

The Government is continuing to update its COVID-19 Business Support website. The latest package of measures includes:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Schemes
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Self-employment Income Support Scheme
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a 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
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

More information and support is available from the New Anglia Growth Hub, where trained advisers can provide guidance and support on a range of matters.

In addition to Government packages, businesses and SMEs are being advised to speak to their banks about support and financial packages that may be available to help them during this difficult time.

 

COVID-19 Business Support – FAQs

The information and advice is changing daily and we will update the information below as the situation evolves.

 

Q: I have heard about an increased Business Rates retail discount to 100% for one year and it being expanded to the leisure and hospitality sectors (including pubs), how do I find out if I am eligible?

A: Businesses that have received the retail discount in 2019-20 will be rebilled for 2020/21 by the Council as soon as possible. We do now have guidance from Government on the types of premises that will qualify for the rates relief this can be accessed. More information is available on the Government COVID-19 Support for Business website.

Those that may now qualify under the expansion of the support will be contacted by the Council. The Council will be processing awards of relief and writing to all eligible businesses to confirm the position with an updated statement of the rates for 2020/21 as soon as possible. You do not need to contact us to apply.

Please allow a few working days for your letter confirming the next steps to access funding to arrive. If you believe your business is eligible for a grant and you have not yet received your letter, an online form will be available soon for you to submit your business details.

 

Q: I have heard that there will be grant funding of up to £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 – how do I find out if I qualify and apply?

A: We expect that the same businesses that qualify for the retail discount will be eligible for the £25,000 grant. For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000. For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.

The Council will contact all eligible businesses as soon as possible regarding arrangements for the payment of the grant. Please allow a few working days for your letter confirming the next steps to access funding to arrive. If you believe your business is eligible for a grant and you have not yet received your letter, an online form will be available soon for you to submit your business details.

 

Q: I’ve heard about grants of £10,000 to businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief in the budget – how do I access this?

A: The government has announced funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to help meet ongoing business costs. The Council will contact all eligible businesses regarding arrangements for the payment of the grant as soon as possible. Please allow a few working days for your letter confirming the next steps to access funding to arrive. If you believe your business is eligible for a grant and you have not yet received your letter, an online form will be available soon for you to submit your business details.

 

Q: I have heard that there will be a rates holiday for childcare nurseries, can you tell me any more?

A: To support nurseries at this time the Government has announced that they will be eligible for a business rates holiday for one year. That means non-local authority providers of childcare will pay no business rates in 2020-21, from 1 April. Eligible properties are currently being identified, and business will be contacted as soon as possible If you believe that you should be eligible for this relief and have not heard from us by the 30 April 2020 please email the Business Rate Team

 

Q: I am struggling with my business rates, what should I do?

A: If you are not able to pay your business rates please contact the business rates team as soon as possible. The sooner the conversation is started they may be able to assist with rescheduling payment dates. Please email the Business Rate Team

 

Q: I am self-employed, how do I get help?

A: The self-employment support scheme will support you if you are self-employed or a member of a partnership and have lost income due to Covid-19, your taxable income is less than £50,000 and you have submitted a tax return for the 2018-19 period. You will be entitled to a taxable grant worth 80% of your profits up to a maximum of £2500, for the next 3 months.

 

Q: How do I apply for the self-employment support scheme?

A: The scheme is not yet open for application, HMRC will use your 2018-19 return to identify eligibility and will then contact you and invite you to apply online:

Please be aware: This scheme will only be accessible through the GOV.UK website, If someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you can claim financial help or are owed a tax refund, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it is a scam.

 

Q: How do I know if I am eligible for the self-employment support scheme?

A: All details on this are available on the Government COVID-19 support for business website

 

Q: I haven’t yet submitted my 2018 -19 return, will I still be eligible?

A: You have until the 23rd April to complete your submission

 

Q: When will this grant be paid?

A: The grant is retrospective and will not be paid until June when it will be paid in one lump sum

 

Q: I can’t pay my VAT and Income tax until I have the grant, what can I do?

A: Income tax and VAT payments have been deferred, you do not need to apply for this but more detail is available on the Government COVID-19 support for business website

 

Q: I have only recently become self-employed, so what do I do?

A: If you weren’t trading for the 2018/19 period you are not eligible for support through this scheme. You are able to apply for support through universal credit detail can be found on the Government COVID-19 support for business website

 

Q: I’ve heard about a Business Interruption Loan Scheme which will provide guarantees to lenders, to help support small businesses with loans of up to £5 million – how do I access this?

A: With effect from Monday 23rd March a new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, is available to support primarily small and medium sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments. All information on the scheme and eligibility can be found on the British Business Bank website.

 

Q: What help is available to support larger firms?

A: To support larger firms, the Bank of England has announced a new lending facility (the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility) to provide a quick and cost-effective way to raise working capital via the purchase of short-term debt. This will support companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, enabling them to continue financing their short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms. This scheme is now open for applications through the Bank of England.

 

Q: I am a business and/or self-employed person, what help is available if I run into financial difficulties?

A: All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559. The Government are intending to make available access to a Hardship Fund, details of which will be made available in due course.

 

Q: What support is there for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees?

A: The Government will bring forward legislation to allow small- and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. 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
  • eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay 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

 

Q: Can I claim under my insurance policy for disruption to my business caused by COVID-19?

A: 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. Further information on businesses advised to close can be found on the Government COVID-19 support for business website.

 

Q: I am a business tenant of a commercial property and I am concerned that I can’t pay my rent because of the impact of COVID 19 on my business- what should I do?

A: All business owners who are concerned about paying rent or other bills should seek advice from the New Anglia Growth Hub to find out what business support is available. It is also advisable to contact your landlord with view to trying to agree a rent payment plan. The Government has announced that no commercial tenant will be allowed to be evicted for the next three months due to the business impact of the coronavirus.

 

Q: As my business adapts to the coronavirus I am considering making food deliveries from my business premises, can I do this?

A: Food businesses registered with Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are in some instances permitted to carry out food deliveries. As a rule, this may be subject to compliance with planning conditions or the need for planning permission. However, the Government has announced they are to relax any planning restrictions for pubs, restaurants and cafes at this time to help businesses adapt and support individuals who are staying at home as a result of coronavirus. This in effect means that the Council may not necessarily investigate potential breaches in planning during this period, clear guidance for businesses is available on our website.

If alcohol is to be sold and delivered, this is a licensable activity and cannot take place unless an existing licence is in force which permits you to do so.

Further information is available at the Food Standards Agency website.

 

Q: I need to work differently in order to improve my business resilience, can I do anything about my planning restrictions?

A. If you need to talk to us about how your business operates please contact the Economic Development team.

 

Q: I’m an employer, I don’t want to lose my staff but they can’t work at present and I can’t afford to keep them on during this event, what can I do?

A: If you use PAYE you are able to access the Job Retention Scheme, this will support you to pay 80% of salaries rather than lay people off. This only applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. This will include Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions.

 

Q: How will this scheme work for my business?

A: All details on the scheme are available on the Government COVID-19 support for business website.

 

Q: I’m worried that my employer will not be able to keep paying me and will make me redundant, what can I do?

A: Many employees that are paid by PAYE are eligible to be supported by the job retention scheme. This scheme will cover the cost of up to 80% of your normal wages during this event. Information on whether you and your employer are able to be part of this scheme can be found on the Government COVID-19 support for business website.

 

Q: Does my construction site have to close?

A: No, Construction sites have not been asked to close, so work can continue if it is done safely. Employers should ensure their workers on-site are able to follow the public health guidance, and they should consider responsible arrangements for ensuring their workers can travel in line with this advice, such as through staggering site hours to reduce public transport use during peak periods. The Government are continually reviewing the matter and updates can be found on the Remediation and COVID-19: Building Safety update 

Q: How do I ensure my site is operating safely?

A: Further guidance on site safety is being provided and updated regularly by the Construction Industry Council.

 

Q We are working on an existing building making safety improvements, should we pause this work?

A Making buildings safe, including progressing the remediation of high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding, particularly those with unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding; and maintaining measures to ensure buildings are safe ahead of remediation, remains a priority for the government. The Government’s view is that this work is critical to public safety. Those responsible for commissioning building safety work, such as the remediation of high-rise buildings with unsafe ACM cladding, and the construction companies undertaking the work, should consider how best to proceed and/or mitigate the risks arising from such work being paused.

Further advice and links

Babergh and Mid Suffolk Economic Development Team

The New Anglia Growth Hub

MENTA

UK Government - Guidance for employers and businesses about COVID-19

Suffolk County Council

Federation for Small Businesses

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce

ACAS

Arts Council: Emergency Response Package 

Sport England: COVID-19 Funding 

Heritage Lottery Emergency Fund 

Local job opportunities