*This post was last updated 20 September 2021.
Based on the World Health Organisation’s announcements, Coronavirus (COVID-19) was classed as a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020 and from 11 March 2020 was characterised as a pandemic.
The outbreak has impacted many businesses and their staff. In order to help ensure BID members are fully informed, we created this useful page to link you to the advice and guidance you may need for your business. We are also advising businesses to build their own resilience by reviewing their business continuity plan, developing an understanding of the potential impacts to your supply chains, customers or other factors critical to your operations.
For a summary of all the business support available from the Government during this challenging time, how to access the support, who is eligible and how to apply, please visit the Government’s Coronavirus business support webpage: gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.
Some of the business support from the Government will be delivered locally by Winchester City Council: winchester.gov.uk/covid19
Please visit the Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpages for the latest information and advice for businesses, employers, employees and the self-employed. ACAS have also published advice for employees and employers including information on how to protect the health and safety of staff, sick pay and absence from work.
Please follow the NHS public advice to help control the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The National Business Crime Centre has shared advice on crime prevention for businesses which are open and those which have been required to temporarily closed. The Police Service have also issued top 10 security tips for closed business premises and top 10 cyber security tips for working from home.
Fire and Rescue Service Advice
The National Fire Chiefs Council has issued advice on fire risk assessments and safety during Coronavirus.
Kind Words: Ideas for helping your business through Coronavirus… and beyond
The authors of the BID’s quarterly Winchester Business Barometer John Kind (Honorary Professor, Winchester Business School) and Sara Arnold (Principal, Secret Genius) are sharing ideas to help local businesses through the pandemic and beyond in a new publication Kind Words. Issue 1 (June 2020), Issue 2 (April 2021), Issue 3 (September 2021).
COVID-19 AUTUMN AND WINTER PLAN 2021 (announced 14 September 2021)
The Prime Minister has announced the COVID-19 Autumn and Winter Plan 2021. This document outlines the Government’s plans for autumn and winter for England. It includes the Government’s “Plan A” which is a comprehensive approach designed to steer the country through autumn and winter 2021/22. It also outlines a Plan B which would only be enacted if the data suggests further measures are necessary to protect the NHS. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s statement.
COVID-19 BUSINESS CHALLENGES GRANT (announced 3 September 2021)
Winchester City Council are urging businesses which continue to be impacted by COVID-19 to act now and apply for the new COVID-19 Business Challenges Grant. Following feedback from businesses affected by staff shortages and closures, this is a one-off grant to compensate for loss of income during the six-week period from 1 July to 16 August. Applications will be open from 6 September and will close 27 September. To find out more and to apply: winchester.gov.uk/business/business-grants/cbc
TRANSFORMATION, ADAPTATION AND DIVERSIFICATION GRANT: SECOND ROUND (announced 16 August 2021)
Winchester City Council have announced a second round of the Transformation, Adaptation and Diversification Grant. Applications will be open from 16 August and will close at 8am on 13 September. To find out more and to apply: winchester.gov.uk/business/business-grants/tadr2
RULES ON SELF-ISOLATION IN ENGLAND HAVE CHANGED (updated 16 August 2021)
The law on self-isolation in England has changed. Close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases will no longer need to self-isolate if they are either doubled jabbed or under 18 years of age. Instead close contacts are advised to take a free PCR test as soon as possible. Click here to find out more.
WORKING SAFELY DURING CORONAVIRUS: GUIDANCE FROM STEP 4 (updated 19 July 2021)
Find out how to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in your workplace. The Government has updated their guides which cover a range of different types of work. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. Click here to find out more.
NEW HOSPITALITY STRATEGY TO OFFER LONG-TERM SUPPORT FOR THE SECTOR (announced 16 July 2021)
The Government has announced a new hospitality strategy to help pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs and other venues build back better from the pandemic. The first-ever hospitality strategy will support the reopening, recovery and resilience of the sector. Measures to build back batter and greener include bringing businesses together with universities to boost innovation, and reducing waste and plastic consumption. A new Hospitality Sector Council has been set up and co-chaired by entrepreneur Karen Jones and Business Minister Paul Scully to oversee the delivery of the strategy. Click here to find out more.
WINCHESTER BACK TO BUSINESS GUIDANCE FOR 19 JULY (announced 16 July 2021)
Winchester City Council have published a Back to Business Bulletin ahead of the lifting of lockdown and new Government guidance from 19 July. The bulletin includes the latest COVID-19 updates, financial support, council updates and opportunities for local businesses.
UPDATE ON NHS COVID-19 PASS (announced 16 July 2021)
The NHS COVID-19 Pass enables people to share their Coronavirus vaccination records or test COVID-19 status in a secure way. It allows people to show others the details of their COVID-19 vaccine (or vaccines) when travelling abroad to some countries or territories. From Monday 19 July, you may be asked to demonstrate your COVID-19 status at places that use the service in England as a condition of entry to a venue or event. The NHS COVID-19 Pass also allows individuals to demonstrate their COVID-19 status at a series of event trials in England taking place until 25 July. Click here to find out more.
CORONAVIRUS: HOW TO STAY SAFE AND HELP PREVENT THE SPREAD FROM 19 JULY (announced 12 July 2021)
At step four of the roadmap to end lockdown restrictions in England on 19 July, the Government will remove outstanding legal restrictions on social contact, life events, and open the remaining closed settings. From 19 July the Government will instead enable people and businesses to make informed decisions about how to manage the risk to themselves and others. The Government has published guidance on key behaviours to enable the public to make decisions that will keep themselves and others safe.
ROADMAP TO EASE LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS UPDATE: PRIME MINISTER’S STATEMENT (announced 12 July 2021)
The Prime Minister has confirmed the move to step four of the Government’s roadmap to end lockdown restrictions in England will go ahead on 19 July. Caution and personal responsibility has been emphasised as cases continue to rise but the link with hospitalisations and deaths is weakened. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s statement.
ROADMAP TO EASE LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS UPDATE: PRIME MINISTER’S STATEMENT (announced 5 July 2021)
The Prime Minister has confirmed that on 19 July, England will move to the fourth and final step of the Government’s roadmap to end lockdown restrictions subject to a final review of the data next week. Legal restrictions and social distancing rules will come to an end, facemasks will no longer be mandatory, and there will be no limits on social gatherings. All venues currently closed can safely reopen with no capacity limits. The Prime Minister set out how life will soon return close to normal and people’s personal judgement will now be key in learning to live with the virus. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s statement.
ROADMAP TO EASE LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS UPDATE: HEALTH SECRETARY’S STATEMENT (announced 28 June 2021)
The new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has announced that the Government is aiming for two-thirds of all adults in England to have had both vaccination doses by 19 July, and confirmed that this remains the target date for ending restrictions. Click here to read the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s statement.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 16 June 2021)
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy have announced that eviction protection will be extended for businesses most in need. New rules will be established to ringfence COVID-19 commercial rent arrears and guide tenants and landlords to agree repayment plans. Measures to protect commercial tenants will be extended until the new rules come into force. Click here to find out more.
ROADMAP TO EASE LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS UPDATE: PRIME MINISTER’S STATEMENT (announced 14 June 2021)
The Prime Minister has announced there will be a four-week pause at step three of the Government’s roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions. It is expected that England will move to step four on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after two weeks in case the risks have reduced. The Delta COVID-19 variant is spreading in England and all four tests for proceeding to the next step have not been met. In response, the vaccination programme is being accelerated and step four delayed by up to four weeks. The Government will continue to monitor the data and the move to step four will be confirmed one week in advance. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s statement.
WINCHESTER BACK TO BUSINESS GUIDANCE FOR 17 MAY (announced 13 May 2021)
Winchester City Council have published a Back to Business Bulletin ahead of the majority of the indoor and remaining outdoor economy reopening 17 May. The bulletin includes useful links to relevant webpages on the Government and Winchester City Council websites, including information on how Coronavirus restrictions are changing as well as the latest working safely guidance and important information for the hospitality, accommodation, events and tourism sectors.
ROADMAP TO EASE LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS UPDATE: PRIME MINISTER’S STATEMENT (announced 10 May 2021)
The Prime Minister has confirmed that from 17 May, England will move to step three of the Government’s roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions. More businesses will be able to reopen, including indoor hospitality, indoor entertainment and attractions, remaining accommodation and remaining outdoor entertainment. Also, organised indoor sport can resume, up to 30 people can meet outdoors, up to six people or a larger group from two households can meet indoors. The stay in the UK restriction will be lifted and people will be able to travel to green list countries. Guidance for close contact between friends and family will be updated, with people exercising their own personal judgement in line with risk. The UK chief medical officers have lowered the Coronavirus alert level from 4 to 3. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s statement.
NEW TRANSFORMATION, ADAPTATION AND DIVERSIFICATION GRANT FUND (announced 29 April 2021)
Winchester City Council have announced they are launching a new Transformation, Adaptation and Diversification Fund on 30 April and applications will be open until 24 May. The new fund is aimed at organisations that have or plan to make adaptions to their premises in order to continue to service customers within COVID-19 restriction guidelines or have a plan to diversify or transform their services, products and business model to reach new customers and markets, including practices that support a green recovery. This grant fund forms part of the Government’s Additional Restrictions Grant Fund. The maximum grant for adaptations is £5,000 and up to £20,000 for transformation and diversification. Organisations may apply for one or both elements of the fund. Click here to read the Winchester City Council Business Bulletin.
WINCHESTER BACK TO BUSINESS GUIDANCE FOR 12 APRIL (announced 8 April 2021)
Winchester City Council have produced a Back to Business Bulletin ahead of many businesses reopening 12 April. The bulletin includes a link to a webpage set up by the public protection service providing working safely guidance for businesses with information, advice sheets for different sectors and useful links. The bulletin also includes information about community and workplace testing as well as support for businesses, including Restart Grants and the Hardship Fund.
TWICE WEEKLY RAPID COVID-19 TESTING TO BE AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE IN ENGLAND FROM 9 APRIL (announced 5 April 2021)
The Government has announced that everyone in England, including those without symptoms, will be able to access free, regular, rapid COVID-19 testing from 9 April. Alongside vaccine rollout, regular testing is at the heart of plans to reopen society and the economy, helping to supress and control the spread of variants. Updates will be made to the NHS COVID-19 app in England to coincide with the universal testing offer. Click here to find out more.
ROADMAP TO EASE LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS UPDATE: PRIME MINISTER’S STATEMENT (announced 5 April 2021)
The Prime Minister has confirmed that from 12 April the country will move to step two of the Government’s roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions in England. Many businesses will be able to reopen, including non-essential retail, personal care premises such as hairdressers, beauty and nail salons, and indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and spas. Overnight stays away from home in England will be permitted and self-contained accommodation can also reopen. Public buildings such as libraries and community centres will reopen and the majority of outdoor settings and attractions can also reopen, including outdoor hospitality. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s statement.
UPDATE ON RESTART GRANTS AVAILABLE FROM 1 APRIL (announced 31 March 2021)
Details of the eligibility criteria and how to apply for the Restart Grants available to non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses is now live on the Winchester City Council website. winchester.gov.uk/business/business-rates/important-information-on-business-rates
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 26 March 2021)
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has said that longer opening hours in England will help people return to our high streets safely when non-essential retailers reopen from 12 April at the earliest. The temporary measures to make socially distanced shopping easier will continue and flexible working hours for construction will also continue, helping the industry to continue to operate safely. Click here to find out more.
BUSINESS RATES RELIEF FUND FOR BUSINESSES OUTSIDE THE RETAIL, LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY SECTORS (announced 25 March 2021)
The Government have set out plans to provide an extra, targeted support package for businesses which have been unable to benefit from the existing business rates relief for retail, leisure and hospitality sectors. The new £1.5 billion fund will be distributed according to which sectors have suffered most economically, rather than on the basis of falls in property values, ensuring the support is provided to businesses in England in the fastest and fairest way possible. The new fund comes as appeals against rates bills on the basis of material changes of circumstances due to the pandemic are ruled out. Click here to find out more.
NEW MEASURES TO PREPARE HIGH STREETS AND SEASIDE RESORTS FOR SUMMER (announced 20 March 2021)
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced a new raft of measures to support a safe and successful reopening of high streets and seaside resorts ahead of summer. These include a £56 million Welcome Back Fund to help boost the look and feel of high streets and seaside towns, with funding to help local authorities prepare for the safe return of shoppers and tourists. Pubs, restaurants and listed buildings will be given more flexibility to use their land to help more people meet up and enjoy themselves, including erecting marquees in pub gardens for the whole summer. Click here to find out more.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 10 March 2021)
The Government has announced that the ban on commercial evictions will be extended for a further 3 months until 30 June to ensure businesses are supported as they reopen. The bailiff enforced eviction ban has also been extended to 31 May to protect residential tenants. Click here to find out more.
CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER BUDGET 2021 (announced 3 March 2021)
The Chancellor has presented the Budget 2021 to Parliament which sets out a £65 billion plan to provide support for jobs and businesses as we emerge from the pandemic and forge a path to recovery. The three-point plan includes billions to support business and families through the pandemic, investment-led recovery as the UK emerges from lockdown, and future changes to strengthen public finances. Click here to read the Chancellor’s Budget speech. Some of the key announcements to support businesses through the pandemic are summarised below and full details of the Budget 2021 are available on the Government’s website: gov.uk/government/topical-events/budget-2021
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will be extended until the end of September.
- The business rates holiday for retail, leisure and hospitality will be extended by three months, with further relief available for the rest of the year.
- The temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT to support businesses in tourism and hospitality sectors will be extended until the end of September, with a 12.5% rate then applying for the rest of the year to help businesses manage the transition back to the standard rate.
- Grant funding will be available to businesses in England as part of a new £5 billion Restart Grant scheme to help the high street, providing up to £18,000.
- A new Recovery Loan Scheme will also be launched to replace the existing Government guaranteed schemes.
- To support, protect and create jobs, the Chancellor is increasing support with £126 million of new money to enable 40,000 more traineeships, and doubling the cash incentive to firms who take on an apprentice to a £3,000 payment per hire. The National Living Wage will be increased to £8.91 from April and there will also be a six-month extension of the £20 per week Universal Credit uplift, with eligible Working Tax Credit claimants receiving a one-off payment of £500.
- A new mortgage guarantee scheme will enable homebuyers to secure a mortgage up to £600,000 with a 5% deposit, and an extension to the temporary cut in Stamp Duty Land Tax to September will support the housing market and protect and create jobs.
- £700 million will support the UK’s arts, culture and sporting institutions as they reopen.
COVID-19 RESPONSE SPRING 2021: ROADMAP TO EASE LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS (announced 22 February 2021)
The Prime Minister has announced the Government’s COVID-19 Response Spring 2021 which outlines a roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England. The four-step roadmap provides a route back to a more normal way of life and each step will be assessed against four tests before restrictions are eased, starting with the return of schools on 8 March. However, the Prime Minister was clear that the decision on each stage will be based on data and not dates, but the hope is that each step will be taken five weeks after the last with the fourth and final step being introduced by 21 June at the earliest. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s statement.
RAPID COMMUNITY COVID-19 TESTING FOR THOSE WITHOUT SYMPTOMS (announced 16 February 2021)
Hampshire County Council have announced a community testing scheme for those without symptoms of Coronavirus who are regularly leaving home to go to work and not covered by an existing workplace testing scheme. If you own a business with fewer than 50 employees who are not able to work from home then your staff can access free testing to help protect your business, customers and our communities. There is a testing site for those without symptoms within the Winchester BID area at Winchester Discovery Centre on Jewry Street. For more information and to book a test: hants.gov.uk/testing-no-symptoms
UPDATE ON GRANT FOR BUSINESSES OPEN IN DECEMBER BUT SEVERELY IMPACTED BY TIER 2 RESTRICTIONS (announced 12 February 2021)
Details of the eligibility criteria and how to apply for the Local Restrictions Support Grant for businesses not forced to close between 2 and 25 December but severely impacted by the Tier 2 restrictions are now available on the Winchester City Council website. winchester.gov.uk/business/business-rates/important-information-on-business-rates
RAPID WORKPLACE COVID-19 TESTING FOR THOSE WITHOUT SYMPTOMS (announced 12 February 2021)
The Government has launched a new scheme to support businesses open during lockdown to access workplace testing for any member of staff not showing symptoms. The scheme is open to businesses with more than 50 employees where staff cannot work from home during lockdown and will help to stop the spread of Coronavirus and ensure vital public and economic services can continue. Click here to find out more.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 8 February 2021)
The Chancellor has announced that businesses that took out Government-backed Bounce Back Loans will now have greater flexibility to repay their loans. Borrowers will have the option to tailor payments to their individual circumstances. There will be the option to delay all repayments for a further six months as well as the option to extend the length of their loans from six to ten years and make interest-only payments for six months. Click here to find out more.
NEW HARDSHIP FUND AND EXTENSION TO ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS GRANT CRITERIA (announced 5 February 2021)
Winchester City Council is initially making £240,000 available for a new Hardship Fund. The new fund will support businesses which, despite being in receipt of COVID-19 related Government funds either directly or indirectly via grants, reliefs and loans, or have not be eligible for support, remain severely impacted and are at risk of closure. Criteria for the Additional Restrictions Grant has also been extended to make it available to more businesses. The latest Business Bulletin from Winchester City Council which businesses can subscribe to includes updates on the Additional Restrictions Grant criteria, the new Hardship Fund, the personalised online support service and guidance on COVID-19 contact tracing for infected staff members and partners. Click here to read the Winchester City Council Business Bulletin.
HIGH STREET BUSINESSES IN THE WINCHESTER DISTRICT OFFERED FREE PERSONALISED ONLINE SUPPORT (announced 1 February 2021)
A new programme of support has been launched by Winchester City Council, specifically for business in high streets and neighbourhood shopping areas across the Winchester District. The support is being offered as part of the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, launched by the Government and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) last year. Businesses in Alresford, Bishop’s Waltham, Denmead, Whiteley, Wickham and across the city of Winchester can access free advice from a team of business and COVID-19 business specialists until the end of March 2021. This new service is being run by Digital Islands, an experienced provider of business support services. Business owners need to register online to access this free help. The service includes an extensive programme of business webinars, workshops and training specifically designed for high street businesses. Registered businesses can also book a one-to-one session with a specialist business recovery adviser or a COVID-19 safety specialist. The service also features weekly live drop-in sessions until March including several sessions on digital marketing, accessed via the same web platform. These sessions can cover any topic that businesses want information on. Businesses are encouraged to make suggestions of the topics they need to know more about, and Digital Islands will then run an event with someone who can answer questions on that subject. More details can be found here: highstreet.winchester.gov.uk
WINCHESTER ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS GRANT: SECOND ROUND CLOSING DATE EXTENDED (announced 27 January 2021)
Winchester City Council announced a second round of the Additional Restrictions before Christmas and applications opened in January. The closing date for applications has been extended until 12 February. To find out more and to apply: winchester.gov.uk/business/additional-restrictions-grant
LETTER TO BUSINESSES FROM WINCHESTER CITY COUNCIL’S CHIEF EXECUTIVE (19 January 2021)
We have been asked to share with BID members a letter to businesses from Winchester City Council’s Chief Executive, Laura Taylor, which outlines how businesses can help reduce the spread of Coronavirus. This letter was written in conjunction with Hampshire County Council Public Health. In response to this request Winchester BID have shared the letter in our e-news and have also included a link to the letter on this webpage. Click here to read the letter.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 5 January 2021)
The Chancellor has announced £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants to support businesses and protect jobs. Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, which will be closed until at least mid-February as part of new national restrictions, are to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000 to help them through to the spring. A £594 million discretionary fund will also be made available to support other impacted businesses. This comes in addition to £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for local authorities, Local Restrictions Support Grants and the extension of the furlough scheme until the end of April. Click here to find out more.
NATIONAL LOCKDOWN IN ENGLAND FROM 5 JANUARY (announced 4 January 2021)
The Prime Minister has announced a third national lockdown in England beginning 5 January and the public will again be asked to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. People can only leave home for specific reasons including to shop for basic necessities, work if you cannot reasonably do so from home, exercise with your household or support bubble or one other person once per day in your local area, to meet your support bubble or childcare bubble, to attend education or childcare for those eligible, to seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm. Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and those of critical workers and all other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early years settings will remain open. Higher Education provision will be online until mid-February for all except future critical worker courses. The clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to begin shielding again. The Government announced that the NHS expects to have offered the first vaccine dose to everyone in the four top priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and by mid-February. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s address to the nation and click here for guidance on the new national restrictions.
ALL OF HAMPSHIRE TO ENTER TIER 4 FROM 31 DECEMBER (announced 30 December 2020)
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care spoke to the House of Commons about vaccines and the current surge in COVID-19 numbers. Positive news about vaccines gives hope and offers a way out of the pandemic, but tougher restrictions are to be extended to more areas to limit the spread of the virus. From 31 December all of Hampshire will be in Tier 4 (Stay At Home). A full list of local restrictions by area is available. Click here to read the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s statement.
WINCHESTER AND MUCH OF HAMPSHIRE TO ENTER TIER 4 FROM 26 DECEMBER (announced 23 December 2020)
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has announced further action within the tiering system in response to a more contagious variant of the virus spreading at a dangerous rate. This includes more of the East and South East of England entering Tier 4 (Stay At Home) from 26 December as well as other changes. The areas moving into Tier 4 include Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, those parts of Essex not yet in Tier 4, Waverley in Surrey and Hampshire, with the exception of the New Forest. There were also updates on testing and vaccines. Click here to read the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s statement.
WINCHESTER ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS GRANT: SECOND ROUND (announced 23 December 2020)
Winchester City Council have announced a second round of the Additional Restrictions Grant in January 2021. Applications will be open from 5 January and will close at 5pm on 29 January. To find out more and to apply: winchester.gov.uk/business/additional-restrictions-grant
UPDATE ON GRANTS BEING DISTRIBUTED BY WINCHESTER CITY COUNCIL (updated 23 December 2020)
Winchester City Council have updated information on their website about grants, including the Local Restrictions Support Grant for businesses forced to close between 5 November and 1 December, 2 and 25 December and from 26 December onwards. Applications for the Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs is now open. Details will also soon be available for the Local Restrictions Support Grant for businesses open but significantly affected by Tier 2 restrictions between 2 and 25 December. The Council offices are closed from 24 December to 4 January when processing of grants will resume. winchester.gov.uk/business/business-rates/important-information-on-business-rates
NEW TIER 4 RESTRICTIONS FOR PARTS OF LONDON AND SOUTH EAST AND CHANGES TO CHRISTMAS RULES (announced 19 December 2020)
Following the latest data showing the virus is spreading rapidly in London and the South East of England and early analysis of a new variant of the virus 70% more transmissible, the Prime Minister has announced further restrictions and a change to Christmas rules. Areas of London and the South East currently in Tier 3 (Very High Alert) will move to a new Tier 4 (Stay At Home), which will be broadly equivalent to the national restrictions in England during November. The Christmas rules allowing up to three households to meet will now be limited to Christmas Day only, rather than the five days as previously set out. Also, in England, those living in Tier 4 areas should not mix with anyone outside their own household at Christmas, though support bubbles will remain in place for those at risk of loneliness or isolation. Winchester and most of Hampshire is in Tier 2, but Gosport, Havant and Portsmouth are in Tier 3 and will move to Tier 4. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s statement.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 17 December 2020)
The Chancellor has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended until the end of April 2021, with the Government continuing to contribute 80% towards wages. It was also confirmed that Government-backed COVID-19 business loan schemes will be extended until the end of March. These changes come ahead of the Budget, which the Chancellor has confirmed will take place on 3 March 2021. Click here to find out more.
WINCHESTER AND MOST OF HAMPSHIRE TO REMAIN IN TIER 2 FROM 19 DECEMBER (announced 17 December 2020)
Following the Government’s review of Local COVID-19 Alert Levels it has been announced Winchester will remain in Tier 2 (High Alert). However, from 19 December some parts of Hampshire will move to Tier 3 (Very High Alert) including Gosport, Havant and Portsmouth. Click here for a full list of local restrictions by area.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 9 December 2020)
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have announced that the Government has extended support to prevent business evictions until the end of March 2021. Click here to find out more.
WINCHESTER ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS GRANT (announced 1 December 2020)
Winchester City Council have published information about the Additional Restrictions Grant on their website. Applications are now open and will close at 5pm on 14 December. To find out more and to apply: winchester.gov.uk/business/additional-restrictions-grant
SUPPORT FOR RETAILERS AND WET-LED PUBS (announced 30 November and 1 December 2020)
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced shops will be able to open for longer in the run up to Christmas and through January sales and the Prime Minister announced additional funding for pubs which do not serve food in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas in England with a one-off payment of £1,000 in December.
WINCHESTER AND HAMPSHIRE IN TIER 2 WHEN NATIONAL RESTRICTIONS END 2 DECEMBER (announced 26 November 2020)
Local COVID-19 Alert Levels for when the lockdown in England ends on 2 December have been confirmed and a full list of local restrictions by area is now available. Winchester and Hampshire will be placed in Tier 2 (High Alert). The Prime Minister announced that much of England will be placed in the top two tiers and recognised the challenges this brings, particularly for the hospitality sector. The tiers will be reviewed every 14 days with the first review 16 December. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s statement.
WINCHESTER COVID-19 RESOURCES FOR BUSINESSES (updated 25 November 2020)
Winchester City Council have produced COVID-19 posters and signs which businesses can use in their premises to help inform and reassure their staff and customers. winchester.gov.uk/no-listing/business-advice/covid-19-resources-for-businesses
COVID-19 WINTER PLAN (announced 23 November 2020)
The Prime Minister has announced the COVID-19 Winter Plan which sets out how the Government will manage the virus through the end of 2020 and into the start of 2021. The plan presents a programme for suppressing the virus, protecting the NHS and the vulnerable, keeping education and the economy going and providing a route back to normality. The plan sets out the Government’s approach to ending the national restrictions on 2 December. Details of the updated Local COVID-19 Alert Levels are expected to be confirmed on Thursday 26 November and an announcement regarding Christmas rules later in the week. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s Statement.
WINCHESTER LOCAL RESTRICTIONS SUPPORT GRANT & ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS GRANT (announced 16 November 2020)
Winchester City Council have published information about the Local Restrictions Support Grant and Additional Restrictions Grant on their website. Applications for the Local Restrictions Support Grant are now open and further details of the Additional Restrictions Grant will be announced on the Winchester City Council website very soon. To find out more and to apply: winchester.gov.uk/business/business-rates/important-information-on-business-rates
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 5 November 2020)
The Chancellor has announced that businesses and people across the UK will be given certainty over winter months with further support. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will now be extended until the end of March 2021, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked. The next Self-Employed Income Support grant will also increase from 55% to 80% of average trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500, covering November to January. Click here to find out more.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 2 November 2020)
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is increasing funding from 40% to 80% of average trading profits in November (or 55% covering November to January). People will be able to apply from the end of November rather than the middle of December, with support provided faster. Application deadlines have been extended to 31 January for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loans, Bounce Back Loans and the Future Fund. Click here to find out more.
NEW NATIONAL RESTRICTIONS FOR ENGLAND FROM 5 NOVEMBER (announced 31 October 2020)
The Prime Minister has announced a four week lockdown in England beginning on 5 November in response to evidence which suggests that the virus is spreading faster than the reasonable worst case scenario of the Government’s scientific advisers. From 5 November until 2 December the public are advised to stay at home and can only leave for specific reasons, including for education, for work if you cannot work from home, for exercise and recreation outdoors, for medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm, to shop for food and essentials, and to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer. Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues must close, but click and collect services can continue and essential shops will remain open. Pubs, bars and restaurants must close, except for takeaway and delivery. Workplaces should stay open where people cannot work from home. The furlough scheme will be extended through November. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s statement and click here for further guidance on the new restrictions and click here for further information on the extension of the Coronavirus Job Rentention Scheme and other economic support.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 22 October 2020)
The Chancellor has announced three further steps to support businesses and jobs. First, a new grant scheme for businesses impacted by Tier 2 (high) restrictions, even if they are not legally closed. The Government will fund local authorities to provide businesses in their area with direct cash grants worth up to £2,100 for every month Tier 2 restrictions apply. Second, the Job Support Scheme will be made more generous for employers. Under the original scheme employees had to work for 33% of their normal hours and this will be reduced to 20%. Also, the employer contribution will reduce to 5%. This will apply to eligible businesses in all alert levels, so businesses that are not closed but face higher restrictions will be able to access greater support. Third, the next round of Self-employed Income Support will be doubled from 20% to 40% of people’s incomes, increasing the maximum grant to £3,750. Click here to read the Chancellor’s statement.
LOCAL COVID-19 ALERT LEVELS AND SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 12 October 2020)
The Prime Minister has set out how the Government will further simplify and standardise local rules by introducing a three tiered system of local COVID-19 Alert Levels in England. The levels will be set at medium, high and very high. Click here to find out more about the new COVID-19 Alert Levels. The Chancellor has also outlined an expansion to the Job Support Scheme (announced 24 September and extended 9 October) to protect jobs and support businesses legally required to close their doors for some time over winter as a result of Coronavirus restrictions. This will include the Government paying two thirds of employees’ salaries up to a maximum of £2,100 per month for businesses required to close and cash grants for affected businesses of £3,000 per month. Click here to find out more about the expanded Job Support Scheme.
CHANCELLOR’S WINTER ECONOMY PLAN (announced 24 September 2020)
The Chancellor has unveiled the Government’s Winter Economy Plan to protect jobs and support businesses over the coming months as we continue to tackle the spread of Coronavirus. Central to the plan is a new Job Support Scheme, extending the Self-employed Income Support Scheme and 15% VAT cut for the hospitality and tourism sectors, and help for businesses in repaying Government-backed loans. The new Job Support Scheme will be introduced from 1 November to protect viable jobs in businesses facing lower demand over the winter months due to Coronavirus. Under the scheme, which will run for six months, the Government will contribute towards the wages of employees who are working fewer than normal hours due to decreased demand. Employers will continue to pay the wages of staff for the hours they work – but for the hours not worked, the Government and the employer will each pay one third of their equivalent salary. This means employees who can only go back to work on shorter time will still be paid two thirds of the hours for those hours they can’t work. In order to support only viable jobs, employees must be working at least 33% of their usual hours. The level of grant will be calculated based on the employee’s usual salary, capped at £697.92 per month. Click here to read the Chancellor’s statement.
PRIME MINISTER’S ADDRESS TO THE NATION (22 September 2020)
In response to rising levels of Coronavirus and the upgrading of the UK’s Coronavirus alert level from 3 to 4 the Prime Minister announced a package of tougher measures in England. Office workers who can work from home should do so, but in all professions where homeworking is not possible, people should continue to attend workplaces. From 24 September, all pubs, bars and restaurants must operate table-service only, except for takeaways. Together with all hospitality venues, they must close at 10pm. The requirement to wear face coverings is extended to include staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hire vehicles, and staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink. In retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors COVID-secure guidelines will become legal obligations. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s address to the nation.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 16 September 2020)
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have announced that the Government has extended support to prevent business evictions until the end of 2020. This move will help businesses over the coming months and protect people’s jobs. This is an addition to the £160 billion package of support available to businesses during the pandemic. Click here to find out more.
NHS COVID-19 APP LAUNCH (announced 11 September 2020)
The new NHS COVID-19 App will be released 24 September. Businesses should download and display QR codes and prepare for the launch. The codes will be an important way for NHS Test and Trace to contact people if Coronavirus outbreaks are identified. Using QR codes will help businesses meet the new legal requirement to record contact details of customers, visitors and staff on their premises. Businesses which are already using their own QR system are encouraged to switch to the NHS Test and Trace QR code. An alternative check-in method, such as a handwritten register, must be maintained to collect the contact details of those who don’t have the app. Click here for a pack setting out the benefits and functions of the NHS COVID-19 App and you can find further assets and materials here: covid19.nhs.uk/information-and-resources.html
RECOVERY STRATEGY UPDATE: RULE OF SIX AND NHS TEST AND TRACE (announced 9 September 2020)
The Prime Minister has set out new measures to restrict the spread of Coronavirus as we enter autumn and approach winter. From 14 September it will not be possible to meet with people from other households in groups of more than six. This will apply indoors and outdoors. Education and work settings are unaffected and other exceptions include weddings, funerals and organised sport. Businesses will have a clear duty to support NHS Test and Trace and from 18 September, it will be mandatory for certain businesses to have a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data, which must be kept for 21 days. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s statement.
RECOVERY STRATEGY UPDATE: PRIME MINISTER’S STATEMENT (announced 13 August 2020)
The Prime Minister has announced that bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos can reopen from 15 August as well as indoor and soft play centres which comply with COVID-19 Secure guidelines. Beauty salons, tattoo studios, spas and barbers across England will also be able to offer all close contact services. Indoor performances will be able to reopen with socially distanced audiences and the piloting of larger crowds in sports venues and conference centres will resume. Click here to find out more.
WINCHESTER DISCRETIONARY GRANT FUND FOR BUSINESSES (announced 7 August 2020)
Winchester City Council is reopening the application window for small businesses and charities to allow more organisations to apply to the Discretionary Grant Fund. Details are available on the Council’s website and applications will be open from 10 August to 17 August: winchester.gov.uk/business/discretionary-grant-fund
RECOVERY STRATEGY UPDATE: PRIME MINISTER’S STATEMENT (announced 31 July 2020)
The Prime Minister has announced that plans to reopen higher risk settings from 1 August will be postponed by at least a fortnight. This means that, until 15 August at the earliest casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and remaining close contact services must remain closed. Also, indoor performances will not resume. Pilots of larger crowds in sports venues and conference centres will not take place. In addition, the requirement to was a face covering will be extended to other indoor settings such as museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s statement.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 30 July 2020)
The Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government has announced £20 million in new grants to boost the recovery of small businesses suffering from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. Small and medium sized businesses in England can apply for grants between £1,000 and £5,000 to help them access new equipment and technology as well as professional, legal, financial or other specialist advice. Click here to find out more.
FACE COVERINGS: WHEN TO WHERE ONE AND HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN (announced 23 July 2020)
On public transport face coverings have been mandatory since 15 June and the Government recently announced that from 24 July the public will also be expected to wear face coverings in shops and supermarkets, including pharmacies as well as in takeaway food shops and at public transport hubs, such as at railway stations and bus stations. There are some exemptions, including for young children, people living with certain disabilities and those with breathing difficulties. Click here to find out more.
RECOVERY STRATEGY UPDATE: THE NEXT CHAPTER (announced 17 July 2020)
The Prime Minister has announced that restrictions will ease further in England and the Government has published The Next Chapter in Our Plan to Rebuild. People may use public transport for any journeys immediately and no longer only as a last resort. Advice on working from home if you can will change from 1 August and employers will have more discretion to bring staff back to work. Live indoor theatre and concerts will also be able to resume with socially distanced audiences. From October the Government intends to allow audiences to return to stadiums, while conferences and other business events can recommence. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s statement.
RECOVERY STRATEGY UPDATE: CLOSE CONTACT SERVICES, GYMS, SWIMMING POOLS AND LEISURE CENTRES (announced 9 July 2020)
The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has announced that close contact services such as beauticians, tattooists, spas and tanning salons will be able to reopen from 13 July. Furthermore, indoor gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres can reopen from 25 July. It was also announced that live performances to socially distanced audiences outside will be allowed from 11 July. Click here to read the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s statement.
CHANCELLOR’S SUMMER ECONOMIC UPDATE (announced 8 July 2020)
The Chancellor has given his summer economic update and announced a new package of support for the economy under the title A Plan for Jobs 2020. While supporting jobs is a key theme with a jobs retention bonus, Kickstart Scheme and employment schemes, the package also includes a stamp duty holiday, green capital expenditure, a VAT reduction for many tourism and hospitality-related activities, and a discount scheme aimed to boost eating out in August. Click here to read the Chancellors statement.
SUPPORT FOR THE CULTURAL SECTOR (announced 5 July 2020)
The Government has announced a £1.57 billion rescue package to help arts, culture and heritage industries weather the impact of Coronavirus. The future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues will be protected with emergency grants and loans. Funding will also be provided to restart construction work at cultural and heritage sites paused as a result of the pandemic. Click here to find out more.
WINCHESTER BACK TO BUSINESS PACK: HOSPITALITY, VISITOR ECONOMY AND CLOSE CONTACT BUSINESSES (published 3 July 2020)
Winchester City Council have created a second Back to Business pack which includes useful guidance, tools and links to resources to help hospitality, visitor economy and close contact businesses as they reopen. There is also a new page on the Winchester City Council website with guidance to help businesses understand what is required in order to reopen and to provide all important reassurance to staff and customers: winchester.gov.uk/business/covid-19-support
RECOVERY STRATEGY UPDATE: HOSPITALITY, LEISURE AND HAIRDRESSERS (announced 23 June 2020)
The Prime Minister confirmed that the 2 metre social distancing rule will change from 4 July. Where it is possible to keep 2 meters apart people should continue to do so, but where it is not possible people should keep a social distance of ‘1 metre plus’ meaning they should remain 1 metre apart, while taking mitigations to reduce the risk of transmission. Restaurants and pubs will be allowed to reopen but all indoor hospitality will be limited to table service and new guidance will encourage minimal staff and customer contact. Businesses will also be asked to help NHS Test and Trace respond to any local outbreaks by collecting contact details from customers. Hairdressers will be allowed to reopen with precautions, including the use of visors. In addition people will be free to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation such as hotels, bed and breakfasts and campsites. Most tourist attractions, leisure and community facilities will reopen as well as places of worship. Updated safety guidance has been published. However, close contact services such as nail bars and beauty salons, close proximity venues such as nightclubs, soft play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools and spas will need to remain closed for now, as will bowling alleys and water parks. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s statement.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 19 June 2020)
The Government has extended measures to help high street businesses at risk of facing eviction over the summer. A new code provides support to shops and local firms planning their future recovery with their landlord. The code has been developed with leaders from the retail, hospitality and property sectors to provide clarity for businesses when discussing rental payments and to encourage best practice so that all parties are supported. Click here to find out more.
WINCHESTER BACK TO BUSINESS PACK: RETAILERS (published 12 June 2020)
Winchester City Council and Winchester BID have created a Back to Business pack for retailers which includes useful guidance, tools and links to resources to help non-essential retailers as they reopen. There is also a new page on the Winchester City Council website with guidance to help businesses understand what is required in order to reopen and to provide all important reassurance to staff and customers: winchester.gov.uk/business/covid-19-support
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 29 May 2020)
The Chancellor has outlined details of the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. In June and July the scheme will continue as before and then in August employers will be asked to pay National Insurance and employer pension contributions. Then in September the Government will pay 70% of the furlough grant with employers contributing 10% and in October the Government will pay 60% and employers will contribute 20%. Flexible furloughing will also be starting one month earlier in July. In addition, the Self-employed Income Support Scheme will also be extended. Applications will open in August and the second grant will be paid out in a single installment covering 3 months worth of average monthly profits. The final grant will be 70% up to a total of £6,570. Click here to read the Chancellor’s statement.
WINCHESTER DISCRETIONARY GRANT FUND FOR BUSINESSES (announced 27 May 2020)
The Government has awarded Winchester City Council £1.4 million for a Discretionary Grant Fund to further support local businesses. Details are now on the Council’s website and applications will be open from 1 June to 15 June: winchester.gov.uk/business/discretionary-grant-fund
RECOVERY STRATEGY UPDATE: OUTDOOR MARKETS, CAR SHOWROOMS AND RETAILERS (announced 25 May 2020)
The Prime Minister announced that the Government intends to allow outdoor markets and car showrooms to reopen from 1 June, subject to premises being made COVID-19 Secure by meeting the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards. Then from 15 June all other non-essential retail, ranging from department stores to small independent shops will be allowed to reopen. Updated safety guidance for the retail sector has been published. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s statement.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 12, 19 and 22 May 2020)
The Chancellor has confirmed that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (announced 20 March) will be extended until October. From August to October the scheme will continue, but with greater flexibility to support the transition back to work. Employers currently using the scheme will be able to bring furloughed employees back part-time and will be asked to start sharing the costs of paying people’s salaries with the Government. The loan size available under the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (announced 3 April) will be increased from £50 million to £200 million. Also, homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage due to Coronavirus will now be able to extend their mortgage payment holiday for a further three months to 31 October, or start making reduced payments.
RECOVERY STRATEGY AND COVID-19 SECURE GUIDANCE (published 11 May 2020)
The Government has published Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy which provides a roadmap for how and when the UK will adjust its response to the Coronavirus outbreak. In addition to this guidance on working safely during Coronavirus has also been updated and there are 8 guides which cover a range of different types of work and workplaces. Employers should comply with the COVID-19 Secure guidance on managing the risk of Coronavirus in their workplaces.
PRIME MINISTER’S ADDRESS TO THE NATION (10 May 2020)
The Prime Minister has outlined a conditional plan to ease lockdown measures in England, restart the economy and reopen society. People who work in construction or manufacturing or who cannot work from home will be actively encouraged to return to workplaces, but only if you can keep your distance from others and use of public transport is discouraged. We await further guidance on what will need to change in the workplace to enable the phased return to work and reopening of businesses. More outdoor activity will be allowed as well as meeting one person from another household under limited circumstances. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s address to the nation.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 17, 21, 20, 23, 27 April and 2 May 2020)
Further measures to support businesses coping with the economic impact of Coronavirus, in addition to those previously outlined, have been announced by the Government since the national lockdown extension was announced 16 April and we have summarised the key points below.
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (announced 20 March) was initially available until 31 May and has been extended and will now be available until 30 June.
- There is a new Coronavirus Business Support Finder on the Government’s website to help businesses to easily identify which support is available to them.
- A new Future Fund will issue convertible loans to innovative companies with good potential, that typically rely on equity investment and are affected by Coronavirus.
- The Business Secretary has announced new measures to protect businesses from aggressive rent collection and closure.
- The Chancellor has announced new Bounce Back Loans for small businesses which are 100% Government backed as an extension to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (announced 11 March).
- A discretionary top-up fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.
NATIONAL LOCKDOWN EXTENSION (announced 16 April 2020)
The First Secretary of State has announced an extension of at least 3 weeks to the UK’s lockdown, which began following the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on 23 March, to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Click here to read the First Secretary of State’s statement.
SUPPORT FOR CHARITIES (announced 8 April 2020)
The Chancellor has set out plans for a £750 million package of support for frontline charities, including hospices and those supporting domestic abuse victims, to ensure they can continue their vital work. £360 million will be directly allocated by Government departments to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people. As well as this, £370 million for small and medium-sized charities at the heart of local communities, such as those delivering food, essential medicines and providing financial advice. The Government will also match donations to the National Emergencies Trust as part of the BBC’s Big Night In on 23 April. Click here to read the Chancellor’s statement.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 3 April 2020)
The Government has announced that it is bolstering Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans for small businesses and launching a new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme which will help large businesses affected by Coronavirus to access loans of up to £25 million. Click here to find out more.
SUPPORT FOR SELF-EMPLOYED INDIVIDUALS (announced 26 March 2020)
The Chancellor has said that the Government will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic through a new Self-employed Income Support Scheme. Click here to read the Chancellor’s statement.
Self-employment Income Support Scheme: The scheme will provide a grant worth 80% of profits of self-employed individuals 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 grant. Eligible individuals who have not submitted returns for 2018-19 will have until 23 April (4 weeks from the announcement) to file their returns. The scheme will be open for an initial 3 months with people able to make their first claim by June.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES AND THE CULTURAL SECTOR (announced 23, 24 and 25 March 2020)
Further measures to support businesses and protect the economy against the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, in addition to those previously outlined, have been announced by the Government since the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on 23 March. We have summarised the key points below.
- Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent due to Coronavirus will be protected from eviction.
- Arts Council England Emergency Response Package announced with £160 million of investment for people and organisations in the cultural sector.
- Business rates holiday (announced 11 March and updated 17 March) extended to include estate agents, lettings agents and bingo halls.
- Businesses can get a 3 month extension to file accounts with Companies House.
PRIME MINISTER’S ADDRESS TO THE NATION (23 March 2020)
Further to the 20 March announcement, the Prime Minister has ordered all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship to close temporarily. Click here for a list of all businesses which the Government has asked to close. In addition, gatherings of more than two people in public (excluding people you live with) are banned and also all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals. These measures will be reviewed in 3 weeks. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s address to the nation.
GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT AND SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (20 March 2020)
The Prime Minister has ordered pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants to close from tonight (Friday 20 March), although they can offer takeaway services. Gyms, theatres and cinemas must also close from tonight. These measures will be reviewed monthly. Click here to read the Prime Minister’s statement.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: The Chancellor has said that the Government will step in to help pay people’s wages, covering 80% of the salary of retained workers who are not able to work (up to £2,500 a month). This will include wages backdated to 1 March and will be open by the end of April for at least 3 months (open to any employer in the country). There is no limit on the funding available for this scheme.
As well as the new job retention scheme, the Chancellor also announced further financial measures in addition to those announced on 11 March and 17 March. We have summarised the key points below. Click here to read the Chancellor’s statement.
- Deferral of next quarter of VAT payments so no business will pay VAT from now until the end of June and will have until the end of the financial year to repay bills.
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (announced 11 March) will now be interest free for 12 months (originally 6 months).
- Universal Credit allowance increases £1,000 a year and the next tax self assessments will be deferred until the start of next year.
- Self-employed people will get full Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay.
- A further £1 billion announced to cover 30% of housing rental costs.
- The Chancellor promises further measures next week to ensure larger and medium sized businesses will be able to access the credit they need.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 17 March 2020)
Further financial measures to support businesses and protect the economy against the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic have been announced by the Government in addition to those announced in the Budget 2020 on 11 March. We have summarised the key points below.
- £330 billion of Government-backed and guaranteed loans.
- Coronavirus Business Interuption Loan Scheme cap per individual loan raised to enable loans of up to £5 million for businesses with the first 6 months interest free.
- Business rates holiday extended to ALL retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for 12 months.
- Additional business rates allowance for pubs with a rateable value of up to £100,000 has been increased from £1,000 to a £5,000 discount.
- Pubs and restaurants have been allowed to provide takeaways without the need to apply for planning permission.
- Cash grants for businesses in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) increased from £3,000 to £10,000.
- Further cash grants of £25,000 for smaller retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from premises with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000.
- Mortgage lenders will offer a 3 month payment holiday for those in financial difficulty and there will be a 3 month cessation on repossessions.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES (announced 11 March 2020)
The 2020 Budget was announced on 11 March and contained a series of measures that will support businesses coping with the economic impact of Coronavirus.
Business rates holiday: Shops, cinemas, restaurants, pubs and music venues with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will not pay business rates in the year from 6 April 2020. This will also include art galleries, museums, gyms, nightclubs, theatres and guest houses. There is also an additional business rates allowance for pubs with a rateable value of up to £100,000 of a £1,000 discount.
Small business grant funding: All businesses in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rate Relief will be able to access grant funding of up to £3,000. The Government will provide an additional £2.2 billion funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme: This temporary loan scheme will support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The British Business Bank will guarantee 80% of the value of loans offered by banks to businesses, up to a £1.2 million cap per individual loan. There will also be a cap for each lender on the total value of loans they can offer. Although there is, as yet, no further detail on the level of this lender cap or routes of application for businesses, the Government has said that the scheme will support up to £1 billion of additional lending.
Time to Pay Helpline: The Government has announced that businesses and those who are self-employed can access support and advice on their tax obligations and payments via a new dedicated COVID-19 telephone helpline. Using this helpline, businesses may be able to agree a ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement with HMRC. The budget also states that HMRC will waive late payment penalties and interest where a business experiences administrative difficulties contacting HMRC or paying taxes due to COVID-19. HMRC Coronavirus Helpline: 0800 015 9559 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm and Saturday, 8am to 4pm).
Statutory Sick Pay: 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.
Business Support Helpline: The Government also has a Business Support Helpline: 0300 456 3565 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm).