The Coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced in decades–and this country is not alone. During this difficult time for the country, we recognise the extreme disruption the necessary actions are having on people’s lives, their businesses, their jobs and the nation’s economy. And that’s why we have produced a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for business and for workers. The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to protect small businesses through these difficult times as part of the national effort in response to coronavirus.
Local businesses lie at the heart of Old Bexley and Sidcup and are the kind of businesses we need to support in order to ensure the UK’s future prosperity. I recognise this is an incredibly challenging time with many business owners being deeply worried about the impact Coronavirus will have on their incomes and the long-term future of their businesses. I want to ensure that local businesses are supported as much as possible.
This is a fast-moving situation and I would strongly advise businesses to check the relevant websites, at www.gov.uk/coronavirus, www.businesssupport.gov.uk, and www.bexleyforbusiness.co.uk for the very latest guidance and support, as well as calling the Business Support Helpline for free advice on 0300 456 3565 Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm.
We have a world-leading economic response to coronavirus to protect small businesses through these difficult times including:
·a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme–extended until the end of October - to pay employers 80% of the salary of any retained worker up to a total of £2,500 a month until the end of July. From August, the scheme will be more flexible, and furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to contribute towards some of the costs of their salaries
·small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief and grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
·deferring VAT and Income Tax self-assessment payments for the self-employed
·a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
·a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
·an expanded business grants fund scheme, which is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. The Government has asked local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.
·the Bounce Back Loans Scheme – a 100% government-backed loan scheme that enables small businesses to borrow up to £50,000 and access the cash within days, interest-free for 12 months.
·the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank, with no interest for 12 months