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We have pulled together some FAQs relating to business and COVID-19. This page will be updated daily.

What is the Goverment doing to protect small businesses during the Covi-19 pandemic?
The UK Government have pledged more than £300bn to help secure the economy during this uncertain time, whether you are a one man band or large business, hopefully you can find some relief!

Schemes such as:
-Support for businesses through deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
The government are deferring Value Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.
If you are self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.
Am I eligible?
All UK businesses are eligible.
How do I access the scheme?
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 to 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.
Income Tax
Am I eligible?
If you are self-employed you are eligible.
How do I access the scheme?
This is an automatic offer with no applications required.
No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

-Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
Am I eligible?
All UK businesses are eligible.
How do I access the scheme?
You will need to:
• designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
• submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)
HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

-Statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
If your business has fewer than 250 employees you will be refunded the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee by the UK Government.

-12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
Government has announced the intention to increase the Business Rates retail discount in England to 100% for the 2020 to 2021 tax year for properties below £51,000 rateable value.
The government will also introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
Businesses that are eligible for the increased retail discount will receive a new bill from the Council as soon as possible. As this relief will mean that eligible businesses have no business rates to pay in 2020/21 the direct debit payments previously notified for 2020/21 will not be collected

-Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
Local authorities will be receiving an extra £2.2 billion to help support local businesses that pay little or no Business Rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR) . This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to around 700,000 businesses that are currently eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief.
Funding for the scheme will be provided to local authorities by government in early April. Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.
If your business is eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, you will be contacted by your local authority – you do not need to apply.
Find out more

-The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The scheme will temporarily replace the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG).

-The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme to help with tax
HMRC have scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities.
You can find out more about the Time to Pay arrangement by calling 0800 0159 559 or visiting the government web page

To find out more about the above and to see what else the government is offering, please go to: COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses

I am a self-employed, can i get support?
Providing you have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19 you can apply for Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.
Apply now

What is the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme?
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is government-backed and will be available week commencing 23 March 2020 .
Eligible businesses (UK based with no more than a turnover of £41m) will be able to apply*. The scheme will temporarily replace the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG).
The scheme will support a range of business finance including:
-Term facilities
-Invoice finance facilities
-Asset finance facilities
To keep updated please check back with us, or visit the British Business Bank
*Please note the British Business Bank are still defining and agreeing the scheme’s details, specifications and eligibility criteria and therefore is subject to change.

Will this have a big impact on the economy?
The Bank of England has reduced interest rates have from 0.75% to 0.25% and additional funding will be available for banks to increase lending, especially to SMEs to try and limit the damage and to help “bridge” businesses during this time.
For further information, please go to the Bank of England website

Will by supply chain be affected by COVID-19? Is there any support?
The Department for International Trade (DIT) have set up a dedicated team to help support and guide British businesses facing disruption due to the spread of the virus.
The DIT team are reaching out to businesses in the UK to understand the challenges they are facing and how DIT can best support.
Click here to read more about the support available from export, supply and UK Export Finance impacted by COVID-19

Where else can I get information about my business and COVID-19?
-North East Growth Hub COVID-19 Toolkit
The North East Growth Hub will be updating the online Toolkit with the latest news and guidance.
Click here to find out more

Northumberland County Council Business Hub
Northumberland County Council and Government are working together to support businesses through this challenging time. Our businesses are vitally important to our county.
Find Out More

Is there anything my company can do to help?
Request for UK Industry support
The UK Government has issued a call to action to companies who have the capabilities to repurpose their staff and facilities to making ventilators to assist in treating patients affected COVID-19.
If your business is able to support this request - please either call 0300 456 3565 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For more information, please click here.

Call for rapid sanitising technology for ambulances
The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is looking for rapid sanitising technology to speed up the time it takes to clean ambulances to help in the national effort against Coronavirus and save lives.
Find Out More

Supporting Each Other
If you have any advice you would like to share with businesses about how you are handling the situation and the positive/negative impact it is having on your business, get in touch we would love to share your stories/news/blogs!
We have such a big network of businesses and it’s important we support and come together at times like this!

Is there someone I can speak to?
Yes! You can speak to the Business Northumberland team, although we are not available through face to face we are available on our mobile phones and email!
You can find our contact details on the Meet The Team page
If you would like further support you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. where someone will get back to you within 24 hours.

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