Coronavirus advice for businesses
The Government has recently updated Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for employees, employers and businesses. It has also made an Eligibility Checker for loans, tax relief and cash grants for your business.
The Kent & Medway Growth Hub is operating a Coronavirus hotline that is open to all Ashford businesses to provide advice and support. Call 03333 602300 8:30am-5pm Monday-Friday to speak with an adviser.
Due to the exceptional circumstances, Environmental Health are working closely with Trading Standards and the Police in enforcing the business closure regulations. Please read the detailed government guidance on what business types are required to close. Please email us if you need further case specific guidance.
You may also wish to view our service disruption page for specific advice on the impacts on Licensing and Environmental Health, such as application changes, social distancing in the workplace guidance and food safety requirements.
If you are a company that is offering to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) please contact us by sending an email to PPE@ashford.gov.uk.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has produced the following guidance documents to help businesses operate at this time:
The government has produced guidance for those returning to the workplace. Read government guidance on working in offices and call centres [pdf] 2859KB and read online government guidance on working safely in shops.
The government has announced a number of measures to help businesses cope with the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak, including:
|Job Retention Scheme||
HMRC will provide grants to business to cover the wages of people not working or furloughed – 80% of salary to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.
|Complete online claim application||Scheme extended to October|
|Statutory Sick Pay||SMEs can be refunded cost of sick pay for up to 14 days for an individual||Applications will be with HMRC.||Applications now open|
|Retail Business Rates Holiday 'Retail Discount'||A 1-year business rates holiday for all businesses in the retail, leisure, hospitality sectors from 1 April 2020. To see who fits into these sectors please see government's detailed guidance||Ashford Borough Council Business Rates team will automatically apply this to their systems. No need for businesses to apply||New bills have been issued and discounts have been applied|
|Retail Grants A||Cash grant for businesses in the retail, leisure, hospitality sectors for up to £10,000. This will apply to businesses with a rateable value up to and including £15,000||Complete online application form||Applications now open. Read government guidance|
|Retail Grants B||Cash grant for businesses in the retail, leisure, hospitality sectors for up to £25,000. This will apply to businesses with a rateable value over £15,000 but under £51,000||Complete online application form||Applications now open. Read government guidance|
|Small Business Grants||Any businesses in receipt of for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rate Relief (RRR) can apply for a grant of £10,000 for ongoing business costs||Applications now open. Read government guidance|
|Discretionary Business Grants||
A new discretionary fund has been set up by the government to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.
Scheme now closed
|Scheme closed and applications are being processed|
The Future Fund will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.
These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
|Complete online application form||Funding scheme now open|
|Grants for Social Enterprise||
Ashford Borough Council is running a Community Grants scheme for all Ashford-based not-for-profit groups who need resilience help, or for project funding to enable not-for-profit groups to help support the people in our borough that need it the most at this critical time
In addition, there are several regional and national schemes operating, for example by the National Lottery Community Fund and the Kent Community Foundation.
|Find out more on our Community Fund page||No update at this stage|
|Dairy Farming and Fisheries Grants||
England’s dairy farmers will be able to access up to £10,000 each to help them overcome the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak. Eligible farmers who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May due to Coronavirus disruptions will be eligible to access this funding for those qualifying months, with no cap set on the number of farmers who can receive this support or on the total funding available.
The Fisheries Response Fund (FRF) of £9 million will directly contribute towards the fixed business costs of over 1000 catching and aquaculture businesses that have been adversely impacted by the loss of export and domestic markets for fish and shellfish.
Details for Dairy Farmers Funding to be announced.
The Marine Management Organisation will directly contact eligible fishing businesses
|New funding schemes open|
|Extra time for tax||Individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities will be able to access support to agree a bespoke 'time to pay' arrangement||Apply to HMRC through their helpline on 0800 0159 559||No update at this stage|
|VAT Deferral||Immediate cashflow support for businesses by deferring this quarter's VAT to the end of June. Businesses will have until the end of the financial year to pay tax bills||This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020/2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal||No update at this stage|
|Bounce Back Loans||The Bounce Back Loan scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.
The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.
Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.
|Apply to an accredited lender. A list of lenders and more information is available at the British Business Bank website.||No update at this stage|
|Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme||Support for businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value, available on repayment terms of up to six years. Eligibility criteria apply||Full information on the British Business Bank website. Applications made via participating lenders||No update at this stage|
|Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)||
CLBILS supports large businesses, with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £800 million, to access loans of up to £200 million.
|Maximum loan size increased to £200m from 26 May|
|Zoo Support Fund||
An animal welfare grant of up to £100,000 for zoos or aquariums affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
|Complete online registration||New funding scheme now open|
|Bank Support||Other private banks are making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19||Contact your banking provider||No update at this stage|
Commercial tenants who miss a rent payment will be protected from eviction. This protection will last until the end of June, and may be extended further
|This is an automatic protection for all businesses||No update at this stage|
Self-employed individuals will receive a direct cash grant of 80% of their profits, up to £2,500 per month. The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19, or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. To qualify, more than half your income in these periods must come from self-employment
|HMRC is contacting eligible applicants by text, email or letter. If you have not been contacted, but think you may be eligible, you can check here.||No update at this stage|
|Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit||
Universal Credit will be increased by £1k per year, and Working Tax Credit by the same amount. If eligible, self employed workers will be able to access the full Universal Credit equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees, and self-assessment taxes will be deferred to 2021
|View more information on claiming Universal Credit||No update at this stage|
a) If your rateable value (RV) is up to (and including) £15,000, and you were eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rate Relief (RRR) on 11 March 2020 you will be entitled to apply for a £10,000 Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) grant.
b) If you were not eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief on 11 March 2020 you may still be able to apply for a grant. This applies if your RV is up to (and including) £15,000, and you are in the retail/hospitality/leisure industries, and your property is a qualifying one, as at 11 March 2020. This is the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLG) grant of £10,000.
c) Exclusions will apply if the property you occupy is for personal use, are car parks, or your company is liquidated/dissolved on 11 March 2020.
d) If your RV is £15,001 to £50,999 inclusive and you are in the retail/hospitality/leisure industries, and your property is a qualifying one, then you will be entitled to apply for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLG) grant, this time for £25,000.
|Business Situation||Potential Grant Available|
|Up to (and including) £15,000 RV with SBRR or RRR||£10,000 Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF)|
|Up to (and including) £15,000 RV, no SBRR, but in retail/hospitality/leisure industries in a qualifying property||£10,000 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLG)|
|RV is £15,001 to £50,999 in retail/hospitality/leisure industries in a qualifying property||£25,000 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLG)|
What if I have any further queries relating to Business Rates Grants that are not answered by the above links and information?+
Please be aware that we are receiving a high number of emails, so we may not be able to respond immediately.
Business Rates Holiday Frequently Asked Questions
- To speak to the government's Business Support Helpline, call 0300 456 3565 between Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm
- The Kent Resilience Forum run the Kent Prepared website with advice on emergency planning and Coronavirus
- The British Chamber of Commerce have a Coronavirus hub with a range of information.
- The Federation for Small Businesses provide advice about Coronavirus, including hygiene advice
- ACAS provide advice about Coronavirus, including simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff
- If you run a food business, check our page on Food Business Coronavirus Advice
- Kent County Council are asking businesses to answer their business survey to help inform future business support.
- The NHS provides information about Coronavirus.
- We will be providing health guidance updates on our Health and Pandemics page.
Complete the form below and we will send you updates as the situation develops.