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GOVERNMENT SUPPORT PACKAGE

The government has set out a package of temporary financial measures to support businesses through this period of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Measures including grants, business rates relief, salary support, sick pay relief, deferral of tax payments and loan schemes.

Watford Borough Council is leading on the delivery of business grants and business rates relief set out by government.  To date the council has paid out in excess of £38 million in grants to small businesses and more than £36 million in business rates credits to businesses primarily in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector, helping them to survive the pandemic and continue to operate.

To help navigate through the government support on offer you can use this business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business.

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BUSINESS SUPPORT GRANTS

 

Additional ​Restrictions Support Grant (ARG)

 

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes or where additional funding is needed.

Local councils can determine which businesses to support and determine the amount of funding provided from the ARG scheme.

The current business advice and grant programmes available from Watford Borough Council under the ARG scheme include:

BUSINESS RATES RELIEF

Support for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

 

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors may receive the following business rates relief.

 

If you’re eligible, you:

  • may not need to pay any business rate for the 2020 to 2021 tax year (1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021)

  • may not need to pay any business rate for the first 3 months of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021)

  • may get 66% off your business rates bills for the rest of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022) - up to a total value of £2 million

 

You will receive:

  • up to £2m if your business was required to close on 5 January 2021

  • up to £105,000 if your business was permitted to open on 5 January 2021

 

You’re eligible if your property is a:

  • shop

  • restaurant, café, bar or pub

  • cinema or live music venue

  • leisure or assembly property - for example, a sports club, a gym or a spa

  • hospitality property - for example, a hotel, a guest house or self-catering accommodation

If you are eligible you do not need to apply for business rates relief we will automatically update your business rates account and you will be sent a new business rates bill.

Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

Nurseries in England do not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. You’ll also get a partial business rate relief for 2021 to 2022 tax year. Your council will do this automatically.

If you’re eligible, you:

  • may not need to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year (1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021)

  • may not need to pay business rates bills for the first 3 months of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021)

  • may get 66% off your business rates bills for the rest of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022) - up to a total value of £105,000

 

You’re eligible if your business is on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and provides care and education for children up to 5 years old (early years foundation stage).

Local authority-run nurseries are not eligible.

If you are eligible you do not need to apply for business rates relief we will automatically update your business rates account and you will be sent a new business rates bill.

PAYING YOUR EMPLOYEES

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ended on 30 September 2021. Claims for September must have been submitted on or before 14 October 2021. Up until 28 October 2021 you can still make amendments to your September claim.

PAYING SICK PAY

Claim back Statutory Sick Pay

 

You can claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) you’ve paid for employees who are off sick, self isolating or shielding because of coronavirus on or before 30 September 2021. You can claim up to 2 weeks of SSP for every eligible employee.

 

You’re eligible to claim if your business is both:

  • based in the UK

  • has had fewer than 250 employees since 28 February 2020

 

You must submit or amend claims on or before 31 December 2021.

 

PAYING TAX

Deferral of VAT payments

 

Temporary changes to the VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 were made to help businesses manage their cash flow.

 

You may be charged a 5% penalty or interest if you did not pay in full or make an arrangement to pay by 30 June 2021.

Time To Pay Arrangement

 

If you cannot pay your tax bill on time because of coronavirus, you may be able to set up a Time to Pay Arrangement with HMRC. This lets you spread the cost of your tax bill by paying everything you owe in affordable instalments.

You might be eligible if your UK business:

  • pays tax to the UK government

  • has outstanding tax liabilities

SUPPORT FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

 

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is now closed and the last date for making a claim was 30 September 2021.

Self-employment and Universal Credit

 

Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, out of work or you cannot work.

BUSINESS LOANS

Recovery Loan Scheme

The Recovery Loan Scheme is to help businesses of any size access loans and other kinds of finance so they can recover after the pandemic and transition period.

You can get up to £10 million, but the actual amount offered will be at the discretion of participating lenders. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender, but you will still be responsible for your debt.

The scheme is open until 31 December 2021, subject to review.

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is trading in the UK

 

You need to show that your business:

  • would be viable were it not for the pandemic

  • has been adversely impacted by the pandemic

  • is not in collective insolvency proceedings (unless your business is in scope of the Northern Ireland Protocol in which case different eligibility rules may apply)

 

Businesses from any sector can apply, except:

  • banks, building societies, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)

  • public-sector bodies

  • state-funded primary and secondary schools

PROTECTION FROM EVICTION FOR COMMERCIAL TENANTS

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction for a set period of time.


For further information please read Eviction protection extended for businesses most in need - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).