I thought it may be helpful for me to refresh the list of key websites that I am advising businesses to go to for information or help regarding the coronavirus pandemic. I remain fully available should anyone need my help, with both myself and my team operating remotely. I can be best contacted at email@example.com and for those without internet access, the postal address is House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.
1: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
If a business cannot maintain its workforce because of the impact of COVID-19 it can furlough employees and apply for a grant that covers 80% of their usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions on that subsidised furlough pay. To date, one million businesses have successfully applied for this scheme, with £11.1billion being provided to cover 80% of the wages of 8 million employees. The scheme was recently extended until the end of October although the basis on which it operates will change from 1st August onwards with further details from the Chancellor to follow.
Workers on zero-hours contracts are eligible for this scheme – if the employee has been employed (or engaged by an employment business) for a full 12 months prior to the claim, employers can claim for the higher of either: the same month’s earnings from the previous year or average monthly earnings from the 2019-20 tax year. If the employee has been employed for less than a year, they can claim for an average of their monthly earnings since they started work.
2: Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
This provides loans of up to £5 million, interest free for 12 months, to small businesses. The Chancellor has extended the scheme so that all small businesses affected by Coronavirus, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible. The Government has also banned lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000. To date, loans worth £7.25 billion have been provided to 40,000 businesses.
3: Small Business Grant Fund & Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund
The Small Business Grants fund provides £10,000 grants, which do not need to be repaid, to businesses which are eligible for the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme (including those with a rateable value between £12,000 and £15,000 which receive tapered relief) or the Rural Rate Relief Scheme. To date, £9.5 billion has been paid out in grants to 778,00 firms.
4: Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
Through this scheme, the Government will pay self-employed people a taxable grant worth 80 per cent of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month. To date, £6.1 billion has been paid to 2 million self-employed workers.
5: Bounce Back Loans
This is a 100% government-backed loan scheme that enables small businesses to borrow up to £50,000 and access the cash within days. The scheme has been designed to ensure that small firms who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get finance very quickly. It will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. To date 460,000 claims worth £14.1 billion have been made.
If there is a business in your community that is not getting the support it needs and you feel I may be able to assist, please do not hesitate to contact me, or encourage them to do so. If you feel that I can assist you in any way at all please do get in touch.
With best wishes,
Rt Hon. Mel Stride MP
Member of Parliament for Central Devon