Corona_Virus_Covid19_Update

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

As concerns about the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 increase for small businesses I wanted to update you on what we are doing at Valued to care for both our employees and clients during this time. 

Our plan is as follows: 

Health comes first: We are encouraging everyone to wash their hands, socially distance, and follow best practices to protect the health and wellbeing of themselves, their family, and our customer community at large. Additionally, we believe in supporting all members of our team should they become ill and we are asking anyone who feels sick to take as much time off as they need to fully recover. 

We’re open for business Our intention is to remain open and in a position to help our clients through this difficult time. Our team is continuing to work normal business hours and have the resources and tools they need to support you – including remotely should it become necessary.  

Working remotely, connecting digitally: We encourage clients that may be at risk (or for those that prefer) to meet with us virtually using tools such as Google Hangouts, Zoom or Skype.  We are happy to advise you or help you with the setup of any of these software tools.

In addition to these steps, we will be monitoring the latest information including recommendations from the Government, NHS and the World Health Organization and doing our part to stop the spread of this disease. 

“I run a small business and I am concerned how Coronavirus will affect me?”

Government Support

The Chancellor has set out a £12 billion package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, individuals and businesses through the economic disruption caused by COVID-19 including:

Statutory Sick Pay

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave. Please note that Statutory Sick Pay is now payable from Day 1 instead of Day 4. We will help you through this process as part of us preparing wages. 

Sick Pay for the Self Employed

Those who are not eligible for SSP, for example, the self-employed or people earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week, can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance:

For the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for those who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating according to government advice, ensuring self-employed claimants will receive support.

People will be able to claim Universal Credit and access advance payments upfront without the current requirement to attend a jobcentre if they are advised to self- isolate.

Contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be payable, at a rate of £73.10 a week if you are over 25, for eligible people affected by COVID-19 or self- isolating in line with advice from Day 1 of sickness, rather than Day 8

Funding Support via Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses with a turnover of no more than £41 million to apply for a loan of up to £1.2 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. This will unlock up to £1 billion pounds to protect and support small businesses. We are able to help you to apply for this and have worked with the British Business Bank for a number of years

£3,000 Grant for small business

The government will provide an additional £2.2 billion in funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no Business Rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR). This will provide a one-off grant of £3,000 to around 700,000 business currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs. For a property with a rateable value of £12,000, this is one-quarter of their rateable value, or comparable to 3 months of rent. There is no need to repay this money and we will be posting separately about how to apply for this 

Hardship fund for local authorities

The government has announced a new £500 million Hardship Fund so Local Authorities can support economically vulnerable people and households. The government expects most of this funding to be used to provide more council tax relief, either through existing Local Council Tax Support schemes or through similar measures. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will set out more detail on this funding, including allocations, shortly. 

Reduction in Interest Rates by The Bank of England

The Bank of England has also announced a package of measures to help UK businesses and households bridge across the economic disruption that is likely to be associated with COVID-19. Interest rates have been reduced from 0.75% to 0.25% and additional funding will be available for banks to increase lending, especially to SMEs.

Dedicated helpline and Time To Pay 

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 Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. These businesses can contact HMRC’s new dedicated COVID-19 helpline from 11 March 2020 for advice and support. To ensure ongoing support, HMRC have made a further 2,000 experienced call handlers available to support firms and individuals when needed. 

For Time to Pay support if you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

We have already seen a number of clients have time to pay support agreed by HMRC and can provide guidance and advice about this, please remember this includes all taxes that are due already and those that will become due.  It’s always better to agree to a plan now rather than wait.  

Valued are here to help and support you if you are worried about the effects of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on your Small Business.

It’s naturally a worrying time for many small business owners.  So, to help you we are here to answer any questions that you may have simply give us a call on 01207 502145 or drop us an email at wecare@yourvalued.co.uk or if you prefer you can contact us via Facebook Messenger.

Every business will have its own challenges and issues, which is why we will running a series of ‘Live’ AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions via Facebook week commencing 16th March 2020.  If you are interested in joining us for these sessions get in touch or call the office on 01207 502145. We will be posting regular updates on all of our social media platforms and obtaining useful advice and guides from our key partners.

“What more can Valued do for me and my business at this time?”

Get on top of your Cashflow

Never before has it been so important for you to fully understand your businesses cashflow position. Having a cashflow forecast can really help you get peace of mind knowing that you have sufficient cash around you to meet your obligations including paying yourself, your staff, your suppliers and of course, your tax and VAT.

During this difficult time, we can help you prepare a cashflow forecast so that you get a real-time position of where you’re at right now and help you make the right decisions with confidence.  If you want help or guidance please get in touch

Help you find the right funding for your business

If cash is tight or if you have concerns, then there are some options for you for both short and long term business finance.  This could be an option if your bank is unable to support you. There are a variety of options here and we can help you with your application via our partners at IWOCA or you can start a funding search yourselves via our partner Capitalise.

Insurance

Check that your policy includes business interruption for public health closures and infectious diseases. If not, then speak to your insurance provider as soon as possible.

Check that your policy covers you for loss of income. Again, if not, speak to your insurance provider as soon as possible.

Make sure that you have health insurance in place for both you as the business owner and also for your employees.

Keep yourself up to date on the latest developments

It’s vital, in a media-rich world where so much can be blown out of proportion via social media that we keep things in perspective and take our information from the right sources.  Below are some links you can use to keep up to date on the latest news, current developments and advice and guidance.

World Health Organisation

Her Majesty’s Government

NHS

What are Valued’s next steps?

We will continue to keep an eye on the situation and make further adjustments to our action plan if, and when necessary. The health and well-being of our clients, team, families and community are of utmost importance to us and will continue to be our north star as we navigate the road ahead.

Let’s hope that the disruption doesn’t last any longer than is necessary and that you, your families and staff remain safe.

Thank you for your steadfast support of our business — we are truly grateful.

On behalf of the team at Valued.

Best wishes

Stephen

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