COVID-19: Support From Government 

March 30, 2020

We recognise that there are challenges for the creative industries in accessing government support. The Fed team is in ongoing conversation with the government to ensure that this support better fits the needs of the creative industries. We would like to caveat this document by particularly pointing to difficulties around accessing the loan scheme and delayed support for freelancers and self-employed. However, we thought it would still be useful for you to receive a breakdown of support which has been announced.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
Protection from Eviction for Commercial Tenants
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure
Small Business Grant Funding
Statutory Sick Pay Rebate
Time to Pay
VAT Deferral
Deferral of Self-Assessment Payment
COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

What is the scheme?
Employers can use the scheme to pay 80% of salaries for employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. HMRC will reimburse 80% of wages, up to £2,500 a month. The scheme covers the cost of wages backdated to 1 March. It is initially open for three months, but will be extended if necessary

Who can use the scheme?
All UK employers with a PAYE scheme can access this - including public sector, local authorities and charities

When can I access the scheme?
The scheme is not yet live. The government expects the first grants to be paid within weeks, and are aiming for before the end of April.

How do I access the scheme?

  1. You must ask your employees to stop working - designate them as “furloughed workers” and notify your employees of this change. Re-negotiation of employee status could be subject to employment law or individual contracts.

  2. Using the online portal, submit information to HMRC about furloughed employees and their earnings.

 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

What is the scheme?
The scheme will support self-employed people (including sole traders, freelancers, members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme provides a grant to self-employed individuals, worth 80% of their profits up to £2,500 a 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. If individuals have fewer than three years of returns the average of these will be taken. Open for at least three months, but payments will be available from the start of June at the earliest. Individuals will be able to claim these grants and still do business. 

Who can use the scheme?
You must have lost trading profits due to COVID-19. You are eligible if more than half of your income comes from self-employment and you have profits of less than £50,000. To evidence this, you can reference your trading profits and total income in 2018/19 or your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19. You must have filed a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. For those who have not yet filed for 2018-19, you will have an additional 4 weeks from the announcement to do so. You must 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.

When can I access the scheme?
Grants are expected to start to be paid at the start of June 2020 (at the earliest). The scheme is anticipated to run for three months initially. Money will be paid straight into individuals' bank accounts via HMRC in a single lump sum. In the meantime, self-employed individuals have options to defer income tax payments, access universal credit and some will be able to access CBILS loans from the BBB.

How do I access the scheme?

  1. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational.

  2. HMRC will then pay the grant directly to eligible claimants’ bank account.

  3. For eligible individuals who have not submitted returns for 2018-19, you have 4 weeks’ notice from the date of the announcement to file your returns and therefore become eligible for this scheme.

  4. Further details will be made available from the Government here in due course.


Protection from Eviction for Commercial Tenants

What is this?
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. No business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment up until 30 June. This is not a rental holiday - all commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent down the line. 

Who can access this?
All commercial tenants in England, Wale and Northern Ireland are eligible.

How do I access this?
The change will come into force when the Coronavirus Bill receives Royal Assent. No action on behalf of tenants is required.There is the option for the government to extend this period if needed.

Updated information on all Government support packages can be found here.


Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

What is the scheme?
The scheme will help small and medium sized businesses access loans, overdrafts, finance and asset finance of up to £5m and for up to six years. The government is providing an 80% guarantee for each loan, with no charge for this guarantee. The government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments and lender-levied fees, so you will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments. The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders (i.e. major banks) backed by the government-owned British Business Bank.

Who can use the scheme?
UK-based businesses with a turnover under £45m a year and a viable borrowing proposal, which explains how the finance will enable your business to trade out of short to medium term difficulty. You must generate 50% of your turnover through trading activity. This is implemented by local authorities, contact your local authority for advice on if you can apply as a charity.

When can I access the scheme?
The scheme is open.

How do I access the scheme?

  1. Speak to your usual provider (full list of lenders here). Go via their website. Because of social distancing, phone lines will be busy and branches may be closed.

  2. Updated information on all Government support packages can be found here. 

 

Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure
England

What is the scheme?
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year. If your business received a retail discount in the 2019-20 year, you will be rebilled by your local authority as soon as possible.

Who can use the scheme?
You are eligible if your business is based in England and if it is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sectors. This includes businesses wholly or mainly used as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues, for assembly or leisure, as hotels, boarding accommodation or self-catering accommodation, museums and art galleries, nightclubs, sport and leisure facilities, stately homes and historic houses, theatres, tourist attractions, Gyms,  wellness centres, spas, massage parlours, casinos, gambling clubs and bingo halls.

When can I access the scheme?
This will apply to your business rates bill 2020-21. Local authorities may have to reissue your bill and are doing this as soon as possible.

How do I access the scheme?

  1. No action required - local authorities will apply this to your bill.

  2. This will apply to business rates bills for the 2020/2021 tax year. However, local authorities may have to reissue bills. We understand they will do this as soon as possible.

  3. To understand the value of the benefit to your business, visit the government’s business rates calculator. 

 

Scotland

What is the scheme?
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will get 100% rates relief.

Who can use the scheme?
You are eligible if your business is based in Scotland and if it is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sectors. This includes businesses wholly or mainly used as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues, for assembly or leisure, as hotels, boarding accommodation or self-catering accommodation. To get this relief, a property has to be occupied. Properties that have closed temporarily due to the government's COVID-19 advice will be treated as occupied.

When can I access the scheme?
This will apply to your business rates bill 2020-21. 

How do I access the scheme?
No action required - local councils will apply this to your bill.

 

Wales


What is the scheme?
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will get 100% rates relief.

Who can use the scheme?
The scheme will apply to all eligible ratepayers with a rateable value of £500,000 or less. You are eligible if your business is based in Wales and if it is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sectors. This includes businesses wholly or mainly used as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues, for assembly or leisure, as hotels, boarding accommodation or self-catering accommodation. 

When can I access the scheme?
This will apply to your business rates bill 2020-21. Local authorities are administering the relief scheme.

How do I access the scheme?
No action required - local authorities will apply this to your bill.

 

Northern Ireland

What is the scheme?
All businesses due to pay rates in April 2020 will receive a payment holiday until June 2020. When rate bills issue in June 2020, ratepayers can still choose to pay their bill in monthly instalments between June 2020 and March 2021. This means that no rates will be charged for April, May and June 2020. This automatically reduces the 2020-21 annual rate bill for business ratepayers by 25 per cent. This amount does not need to be paid back.

Who can access the scheme?
Any business based in Northern Ireland.

When can I access the scheme?
This will apply to your business rates bill between April 2020 and June 2020.

How do I access the scheme?
This will happen automatically. Ratepayers do not need to request to have their rate bill deferred until June 2020. Monthly Direct Debit payment plans will be automatically updated to collect payments between June 2020 and March 2021. 

 

Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

England

What is the scheme?
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure industry can access a one-off cash grant from their local authority of up to £25,000 per property. If your rateable value is under £15,000, you are eligible for £10,000. If your rateable value is between £15,000 and £51,000, you are eligible to £25,000.

Who can use the scheme?
You are eligible if your business is based in England and if it is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sectors. This includes businesses wholly or mainly used as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues, for assembly or leisure, as hotels, boarding accommodation or self-catering accommodation. Your rateable value must be under £51,000. You must be a business rate payer. Freelancers could access the scheme if you are a sole trader with premises. Charities cannot access this. Updated information on all Government support packages can be found here. 

When can I access the scheme?
Your local authority will be in touch if you are eligible.

How can I access the scheme?
No action required - your local authority will be in touch.

 

Scotland

What is the scheme?
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure industry with a rateable value between £18,001-£50,099 can apply for a one-off grant of £25,000. You do not have to repay this grant. You can only apply for one grant, even if you own multiple properties.

Who can use the scheme?
You are eligible if your business is based in Scotland and if it is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sectors. This includes businesses wholly or mainly used as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues, for assembly or leisure, as hotels, boarding accommodation or self-catering accommodation.

When can I access the scheme?
Now. Councils will aim to make a payment within 10 working days of receiving your grant application form.

How can I access the scheme?
Complete an application form on your local council website.

 

Wales

What is the scheme?
For retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in Wales, a grant of £25,000 will be offered for businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000.

Who can use the scheme?
You are eligible if your business is based in Wales and if it is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sectors. This includes businesses wholly or mainly used as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues, for assembly or leisure, as hotels, boarding accommodation or self-catering accommodation.

When can I access the scheme?
Local authorities are administering these grants in Wales. Individual local authorities are in the process of developing their information and systems.

How can I access the scheme?

  1. Check the website of your local authority.

  2. Do not try and call your local authority, the information you need will be available online when live.

 

Small Business Grant Funding

England

What is the scheme?
Government is providing additional funding for small businesses which pay little or no business rates because of ongoing small business rate relief, rural rate relief and tapered relief. This will be a one-off grant of £10,000 to meet ongoing business costs. 

Who can use the scheme?
You are eligible if your small business is based in England and already receives small business rate relief or rural rate relief. You must occupy property. Freelancers could access the scheme if you are a sole trader with premises. Charities cannot access this.

When can I access the scheme?
Your local authority will be in touch if you are eligible.

How can I access the scheme?
No action required - your local authority will be in touch.

 

Scotland

What is the scheme?
Small businesses who get small business bonus scheme relief or rural relief can apply for a one-off grant of £10,000. You do not have to repay this grant. You can only apply for one grant, even if you own multiple properties.

Who can use the scheme?
You are eligible if your business is based in Scotland and access the small business bonus scheme relief or rural relief.

When can I access the scheme?
Now. Councils will aim to make a payment within 10 working days of receiving your grant application form.

How can I access the scheme?
Complete an application form on your local council website.

 

Wales

What is the scheme?
A £10,000 grant to all businesses eligible for small business rates relief in Wales with a rateable value of £12,000 or less. The same ratepayer may only receive the grant for a maximum of two properties in each local authority area.

Who can use the scheme?
You are eligible if your business is based in Wales and if it is eligible for small business relates relief.

When can I access the scheme?
Local authorities are administering these grants in Wales. Individual local authorities are in the process of developing their information and systems.

How can I access the scheme?

  1. Check the website of your local authority.

  2. Do not try and call your local authority, the information you need will be available online when live.

 

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate

What is the scheme?
Small and medium sized businesses can reclaim statutory sick pay for staff sickness due to coronavirus. This refund will cover up to two weeks per eligible employee who has been off work due to coronavirus. Eligible period for the scheme commenced on the 17th March 

Who can use the scheme?
Business based in the UK who are small and medium sized and employ fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020. This scheme does not apply for freelancers. This applies to illnesses of up to 14 days each employee who is sick or self-isolates from day one.

When can I access the scheme?
To be announced.

How can I access the scheme?
Payments will be made through HMRC, most likely through rebates to employees. Further government guidance on this is awaited. The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible, although it’s possible that it could be several months until payments reach businesses. 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. 

 

Time to Pay

What is the scheme?
All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible for support with tax. This will be agreed on a case by case basis, tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

Who can access the scheme?
You are eligible if you pay tax to UK government and if you have outstanding tax liabilities.

When can I access the scheme?
Now.

How can I access the scheme?
If you’ve missed, or are worried you will miss, a tax payment due to coronavirus, you should contact HMRC. You can call the helpline on 0800 0159 559. For more information on late payments, check with HMRC. 

 

VAT Deferral

What is the scheme?
Businesses will have VAT payments deferred for 3 months.

Who can access the scheme?
All VAT-registered UK businesses, including freelancers, can access the scheme.

When can I access the scheme?
The deferral applies from 20 March - 30 June 2020

How can I access the scheme?

  1. This is an automatic offer with no application required

  2. You do not need to make VAT payments normally due with VAT returns in this period

  3. Customers who pay by direct debit should cancel their direct debit in good time

 

Deferral of Self-Assessment Payment

What is the scheme?
The Self-Assessment payment for your tax bill (usually due to HMRC by 31 July 2020) is deferred until January 2021.

Who can access the scheme?
If you are due to pay a Self-Assessment payment by 31 July 2020 you are eligible. This is optional. 

When can I access the scheme?
On 31 July 2020, when it will be deferred.

How can I access the scheme?
Automatic offer, no action required

 

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

What is the scheme?
Large businesses facing severe disruption to cash flow can purchase short term debt - commercial paper to quickly and cost-effectively raise working capital to page wages and suppliers. The scheme is funded by central bank reserves and will run for a minimum of 12 months, or as long as needed.

Who can access the scheme?
Large businesses who are fundamentally strong but are facing severe disruptions to cash flow. Firms must be able to demonstrate they were in strong financial health before but do not need to have issued commercial paper. Eligible businesses should have a short or long term rating of investment grade as of 1 March 2020, or similar. If you do not have a credit rating, you can ask your bank to make an assessment and then contact CCFFeligibleissuers@bankofengland.co.uk to discuss your potential eligibility. Another potential route to evidencing credit status is for your firm or your bank to get in touch with one of the major credit rating agencies to seek an assessment of credit quality in a form that can be shared with the Bank of England and HM Treasury, noting that you are doing so because you wish to use the CCFF. Firms should be UK incorporated companies, including those with foreign-incorporated parents and with a genuine business in the UK; companies with significant employment in the UK; firms with their headquarters in the UK. Considerations apply if the business generates significant revenues in the UK, serves a large number of customers in the UK or has a number of operating sites in the UK. 

When can I access the scheme?
Now

How can I access the scheme?

  1. Contact your bank

  2. Applications must be made through the Bank of England’s website.

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