COVID-19 Support for business

The first grants to West Suffolk businesses eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund are to be paid from Friday 3 April 2020 alongside £34m of Business Rate Relief.

Since last Friday, we have been redeploying staff so we can prioritise making calls and emails to businesses about the grants.

So far we have managed to contact 1,600 eligible businesses and have had the forms back from 382 for which we are now processing immediate payment which will total £3,820,000. We will be processing payments daily as more forms are returned.

There remains around another 700 businesses eligible for the grant. We are continuing to do all that we can to try to contact them. Council staff will be checking emails, searching on social media and leaving messages on company phones to try to speak to these businesses.

In terms of support for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sector, the Council’s priority has been to process the Business Rate Relief. West Suffolk Council has awarded £34.7m in Business Rate Relief. This is being done automatically with no action required by the businesses. Revised bills will be with these eligible business by early next week.

Phone calls to the business owners of over 650 properties that are eligible as part of the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Fund will begin on Monday. Businesses that are eligible will receive grants of £10,000 or £25,000 depending on their rateable value.

We appreciate that businesses are anxious to get this support as quickly as possible. We have made getting this grant and rate relief support to businesses a priority.

The Government has already announced various measures to help businesses and the local economy during the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak. There are some key links to information available on this page and in particular the Government’s own website sets out the broad explanation of the help made available to date. Visit: www.businesssupport.gov.uk

For any businesses in the West Suffolk area concerned about their specific circumstances or confused about where they can go for support, we have a dedicated email address as follows: economic.development@westsuffolk.gov.uk

Alternatively, please phone 01284 757114 and we will try to help you.

Our team already works with businesses across West Suffolk and can offer advice on a range of issues in addition to directing people to the business support that is available.

As always, if you or any of your staff are feeling unwell the best advice is on the NHS website

The following is a summary on the different types of support for your business:

West Suffolk Council administered by Anglia Revenues Partnership

  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England - There is no action for you. This will apply to your next business rates bill in April 2020.
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief - Your local authority will contact you in the coming weeks if you are eligible for this grant.
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 - Your local authority will contact you in the coming weeks you if you are eligible for this grant.
  • Nursery business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year - There is no action for you. This will apply to your next business rates bill in April 2020.

HMRC

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement
  • Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments. - Deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months – This is an automatic offer with no applications required.
  • Statutory Sick Pay Relief - A rebate scheme is being developed. Further details will be provided in due course once the legalisation has passed.
  • Time to Pay service - All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC's 0800 0159 559.
  • GOV.UK - Tax helpline to support businesses affected by coronavirus - The Government’s Tax helpline set up to support businesses impacted by coronavirus has been updated. The phone helpline was set up to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus. The telephone number has been changed today (26 March) to 0800 024 1222.

    For more information visit HM Revenue and Customs – Tax helpline to support businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)

British Business Bank

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - The Government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to HMRC. The Government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.

Bank of England

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility - the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.

The New Anglia Growth Hub

The New Anglia Growth Hub’s team is also in place to offer free guidance to businesses at this challenging time 0300 333 6536.

Useful local links