Support for businesses and employers

This is an unprecedented and extremely challenging time for our businesses and employers as the impact of COVID-19 Coronavirus continues to have an effect on our communities.

The Government has announced a series of measures for businesses and workers during coronavirus. These include unlimited loans and guarantees to support firms and help them manage staff wages and cashflow through this period. If you would like to know which of the coronavirus support schemes you are eligible for, you can use the business support finder tool. For more information about the Government coronavirus measures available visit the business support website.
 

The chancellor has announced grant funding for certain businesses in areas under local COVID alert level: high ( Tier 2).

Full details about the scheme are expected to be published by the government and will be updated on this website once issued to local authorities, including information on eligibility for the scheme and on how to claim.

The grants will be provided to businesses in the hospitality, hotel, B&B and leisure sectors which have been severely impacted by the restrictions on socialising. For businesses within these sectors, the following will apply:

  • for properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under, grants of £934 per month
  • for properties with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000, grants of £1,400 per month
  • for properties with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 and over, grants of £2,100 per month.

Visit the GOV.UK website for further information on the financial support available to businesses and employees.

The Government is continuing its support for millions of self-employed individuals by extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme Grant (SEISS). An initial taxable grant will be provided to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and are continuing to actively trade but face reduced demand due to coronavirus. The initial lump sum will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January next year. This is worth 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875. An additional second grant, which may be adjusted to respond to changing circumstances, will be available for self-employed individuals to cover the period from February 2021 to the end of April.

  • Increased tax credits to help with hardship.
     
  • Employment Support Allowance at the rate of statutory sick pay.
     
  • Self assessment payments for the self-employed deferred until 2021.
     
  • All self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support through HMRC’s Time To Pay service, please phone 0800 0159 559.

Visit the GOV.UK website to view the latest press release for the self employed, also visit the Business Support website to view the latest FAQ's for business support

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will close on 31 October 2020

30 November 2020 is the last day you can submit claims for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020. After this date you will not be able to submit any further claims or add to existing claims.

Check if you can claim the Job Retention Bonus from February 2021.

From 1 August 2020, you will be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages. Find out more information on how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing and how much you can claim to cover wages for employees on temporary leave ('furlough') due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

From 1 July 2020, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the grant for furloughed hours employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.

The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June 2020. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3 week period prior to 30 June 2020.

This means that the final date by which an employer needs to agree with their employee and ensure they place them on furlough is 10 June 2020. Employers will have until 31 July 2020 to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June 2020.

For more information visit the National Business Support website

  • Business rates retail, hospitality and leisure discount
    A 100% discount for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. 12 month business rates free period for occupied retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery/childcare provider businesses.
     
  • Business rates relief for pubs of £5,000 where the pub does not qualify for the 12 month rate free period above

For more information view the business rates relief section

  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
    Offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs managed by the British Business Bank and delivered through 40 accredited finance providers.
     
  • The Coronavirus Future Fund
    This scheme will issue convertible loans between £125,000 to £5 million to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months.

The company will continue to pay its employee for time worked, but the cost of hours not worked will be split between the employer, the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), and the employee will keep their job.

The Government will pay a third of hours not worked up to a cap, with the employer also contributing a third. This will ensure employees earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages, where the Government contribution has not been capped.

Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.

  • Small and medium sized businesses can reclaim up to 2 weeks Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for staff sickness absence due to Coronavirus.
     
  • All businesses in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support through HMRC’s Time To Pay service, please phone 0800 0159559.
     
  • Commercial tenants unable to pay rent will be protected from eviction, visit the GOV.UK website for the latest information.
     
  • Tax cuts and deferrals - The temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors will be extended to the end of March next year. In addition, business who deferred their VAT bills will be given more breathing space through the New Payment Scheme, which gives them the option to pay back in smaller instalments. Self-assessment taxpayers will be able to benefit from a separate additional 12 month extension from HMRC on the “Time to Pay” self-service facility, meaning payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.
     
  • The existing new style Jobseeker's Allowance may provide additional support depending on your national insurance record.

At these unprecedented times it is our priority to continue to deliver our Environmental Health, Licensing and Trading Standards services as best as we can with Government guidelines in mind. Your health is a priority for us, so at this time there will be amended ways of working, please view more information.

  • Advice to businesses on redundancy support, distance learning, upskilling and reskilling, recruitment and promotion of job vacancies and an alternative employment matching service. Call 01952 567589 or email enterprisetelford@telford.gov.uk
  • Advice to individuals on redundancy, jobsearch support, distance learning, promotion of job vacancies. Call 01952 382888 or for more information visit the Council’s Job Box website.
  • We are also offering SMEs (not entitled to the 12 month rate free period), a two month business rate holiday in April 2020 and May 2020; so you can spread your instalments over June 2020 - March 2021. If business owners want to take up this opportunity they can access the business rates delayed payments form.
     
  • In recognition of these challenging circumstances, we are also suspending most legal and enforcement action to help our businesses deal with the consequences of the Coronavirus. Until further notice, except for matters related to the protection of the public, no new legal summonses will be issued and there will be no new action or contact by enforcement agents relating to business rates and all other debts to the local authority. Where court action has already commenced, we will try and seek agreement from the court to suspend matters where it is appropriate to do so.
     
  • If you are a business tenant that pays rent to the Council you can contact us to discuss any implications of the Coronavirus for your business and we will tailor a package of support. We will be encouraging other landlords to follow suit.

Telford & Wrekin Council is most appreciative of the ongoing commitment and support from our contracted suppliers to maintain services and supplies to the Council during the Covid-19 outbreak.

We also appreciate that some suppliers may struggle to fully meet their full contractual obligations and that we may need to alter our requirements, temporarily suspend some services, or provide support where it is possible in order that we can resume normal contract service delivery as soon as possible once the Covid-19 outbreak is over.

The Government has published two Procurement Policy Notes to assist with this:

  1. PPN 01/20 Responding to Covid-19 which provides information and guidance on public procurement regulations and responding to the coronavirus
  2. PPN 02/20 Supplier Relief Due to Covid-19 which sets out information and guidance for public bodies on payment of their suppliers to ensure service continuity during and after the current coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak.

In addition the government has issued related guidance:

  1. Procurement Policy Note 02/20: FAQs
  2. Guidance notes on model interim payment terms.

Supplier Relief

The Council may be able to offer some supplier relief (support) on a case by case basis according to the nature of the services, goods or works being provided, the challenges being faced, the contracted terms and the constraints of any statutory requirements.

Every contract will have its own unique characteristics and therefore the relief available will vary case by case, but some examples could be as follows:

  • accelerated invoice payment
  • increased frequency of invoicing
  • some payment in advance or on order (not receipt)
  • change to delivery locations, frequency and timing of delivery
  • extension of time for contract performance
  • revised milestones or delivery dates
  • additional payments.

Supplier relief is currently available up to the end of June 2020, and this may be extended further at a later date if we are advised of this by Government.

There may be other forms of relief that may be helpful in the short-term so please feel free to suggest those if it ensures we can maintain business continuity.

As an immediate step the Council has implemented measures which will ensure that all validated invoices will be paid immediately rather than on the usual 30 day terms.

Requesting Relief

If you need some flexibility or support up to the end of June 2020 and would like to request some contractual relief you should make contact with your normal Council contract manager or day to day contact to discuss the options that might be available.  If you are unsure of the email address of the contract manager or your day to day contact you can send your relief request to the following email address: procurement@telford.gov.uk and the request will shared with the correct person and you will be advised of the correct email address for future communication.

Supplier Obligations during the Relief period

The Council needs all suppliers to ensure that business continuity is maintained wherever possible, and that you enact your business continuity plans to do your utmost to support the Council’s requirements.

In some cases the Council may need to make quick decisions with imperfect information, and any supplier relief offered is conditional on suppliers agreeing to act and work on a total open book basis with appropriate cost transparency in order that the Council can continue to meet its value for money obligations.

Other conditions for any supplier relief are as follows:

  • suppliers must commit to ensuring that any required cost data is made available to the Council where requested or agree to provide it at a later date for audit and reconciliation
  • where relief is offered suppliers must agree to continue to pay their own employees and subcontractors to ensure business continuity
  • suppliers should retain records during the relief period in order to support future reconciliation
  • suppliers should strictly adhere to the agreed invoicing protocols in order that the Council can pay you quickly
  • suppliers should identify in their invoices which elements relate to normal business as usual matters, and which elements are related to the impact of Covid-19 where relief has been agreed
  • if it is found that any supplier is found to be taking undue fair advantage, or failing in their duty to act transparently and with integrity, then the Council has a right to take action to recover payments made.

Finally, we feel sure that everybody will work together to deliver the best outcomes for our community and that any agreed relief up to the end of June 2020 is offered on this basis.

Your best efforts to support the Council and our community are genuinely appreciated.