HELP YOUR BUSINESS PREPARE FOR THE IMPACTS OF COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)

As COVID-19 continues to impact the operations of businesses, learn more about the steps your business can implement to minimise the impact on local communities and support the UK government's strategy.

We recognise that businesses will have concerns about COVID-19 and have set up this page to provide a central resource for official support and guidance. This page will be updated on a regular basis as new information is available.

Please find below useful links to a range of resources and organisations offering guidance with managing the impacts of COVID-19 (coronavirus). To get in touch, please call us on 01902 912 322 or email policy@blackcountrychamber.co.uk.

Business Support Package

The Government made a firm commitment to “stand by businesses” through the coming weeks and that by the nations collective will, the country has the ability to tackle the coronavirus now. The Chancellor has now set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

The package includes the following support for businesses:

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme: offering British Business Bank-backed loans (up to £5 million) through high street banks and other lenders. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to pre-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. Contact your bank for more information.

100% Business Rates Relief: for 12 months for businesses in the retail, leisure & hospitality sectors. Businesses do not need to apply for this support, it should be implemented automatically by your local authority.

Sector Grant of £25,000: for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 in the retail, leisure & hospitality sectors. Applicable businesses will be contacted by your local authority.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: to cover up to 80% (up to £2500 per month) of employees’ salaries who would otherwise be made redundant, backdated to 1st March 2020.

VAT and Income Tax Payment Deferral: next quarter’s VAT payment will be deferred with businesses given until the end of the financial year to repay.

Support for the Self-Employed: self-assessment payments will be deferred until January 2021 and individuals will be able to access the equivalent of Statutory Sick Pay through Universal Credit. Self-employed individuals will also be able to access up to 80% of their monthly wage (up to £2,500 a month) which will be paid by the Government. HMRC will contact self-employed individuals directly and invite them to complete a form to pay, which will be live by June.

Statutory Sick Pay Relief Package: up to 14 days per employee affected in relation to COVID-19 for businesses with under 250 employees.

Small Business Grant Funding of £10,000: for businesses already receiving Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief. Applicable businesses will be contacted by your local authority.

HMRC Time to Pay Scheme: HMRC to consider Time to Pay arrangements for businesses experiencing cash-flow issues arising from Coronavirus (COVID-19) via a dedicated HMRC COVID-19 helpline (0800 0159 559).

Large Business Support: a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans.

For full detail about these schemes, including eligibility criteria and how to access, please visit the following government website here.

Further Business and Premises Closures

The government has announced all cafes, pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas nightclubs, gyms and leisure centres are to close and remain closed indefinitely. Some premises may be able to continue operating for takeaway services, find a list of further business and premises to close here.

For live updates and announcements, view our news page here.

Briefing Papers

We have produced a range of briefing papers in our ‘Managing the Impact of Coronavirus’ series. These papers provide practical and updated advice for business owners or employees on prevention measures.

Black Country Coronavirus Helpline

A dedicated support helpline for businesses to ask questions, discuss the spread of COVID-19 and the implications to their business. Questions can also be submitted to policy@blackcountrychamber.co.uk

Black Country Business E-Clinics

The Chamber will be running daily (Mon-Fri) business e-clinics from 10am which will work as a Q&A session with a panel of business experts. Businesses can book via the events page.

Public Health England

Stay updated with all the latest information from the UK government in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak.

British Chambers of Commerce

Visit the British Chambers’ resource page which is regularly updated with useful content for businesses.

International Trade Advice

The Department of International Trade and UK Export Finance have set up a page to provide support for businesses or exporters disrupted by COVID-19.