COVID-19 Business Information

We understand how stressful a time this is for our members and we want to keep you updated with
the latest information sent to us from the Scottish and UK Governments, and the Moray Council.

The most recent information will be posted at the top of the page.

30th March 2020

Updated Information for Employers on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

In a move that could save businesses up to an extra £300 a month for each employee under the scheme, the Government will now cover the employer’s National Insurance and minimum auto-enrolment pension scheme contributions that employers pay on wages they must pay their furloughed staff – on top of the wages covered under the scheme.

Those furloughed can volunteer for the NHS without risking their pay.

Full information can be found via link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Please note- The online service you’ll use to claim is not available yet. The Government expect it to be available by the end of April 2020. We will update you as soon as it is available.

Covid 19 Business Support Fund

If you are eligible for the Covid 19 Business Support Fund and haven’t applied yet, we recommend that you apply as soon as possible.

Please remember that you need to send a copy of your bank statement along with your application form. We know that a number of businesses weren’t aware that they needed to send a copy of their bank statement and we wanted to remind you so your application is not delayed.

Here is the link to the form on the Moray Council’s website-
http://www.moray.gov.uk/moray_standard/page_132568.html?fbclid=IwAR1tDWCd53akqpIUGtCeQri5uECmuGbxZBhx3MV-2LZlLwBcMRByQM4alSE

27th March 2020

Job Rentention Scheme

Information has now been released about the Job Retention Scheme – the link below will provide you with that information.  

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

We will continue to send you information and updates as we receive them.

26th March 2020

Support for businesses through deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
Digital Development Loan
Covid 19 Business Support Fund

Support for businesses through deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

Please see the below information from the UK Government.

We will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months.

Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system may be deferred until January 2021.

VAT

For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

Eligibility

All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access the scheme

This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Customers who normally pay by direct debit should cancel their direct debit with their bank if they are unable to pay. Please do so in sufficient time so that HMRC do not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of your VAT return.

Income Tax

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 may be deferred until 31 January 2021.

Eligibility

You are eligible if you are due to pay your second self-assessment payment on account on 31 July. You do not need to be self-employed to be eligible for the deferment.

The deferment is optional. If you are still able to pay your second payment on account on 31 July you should do so.

How to access the scheme

This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged if you defer payment until January 2021.

HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of COVID-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities.

More information on support can be found here

Digital Development Loan

The Digital Development Loan was created by the Scottish Government to provide loans to companies who wish to improve their digital capabilities and capacity. The loan also covers staff digital skills development as part of the Scottish Government’s drive to improve economic productivity.

To find out more about the Digital Development Loan or to apply head to their website- https://digitaldevelopmentloan.org/

Covid 19 Business Support Fund

Please don’t forget to send in your application forms for the Covid 19 Business Support Fund.

The form has been updated so it can easily be completed electronically. Here is the link to the form on the Moray Council’s website.

Remember to read the application form thoroughly and send in a copy of a bank statement along with your application form.

24th March 2020

Urgent- Business Support Fund Application Form

We have just been advised by the Moray Council they now have the guidelines and have the application form available online for businesses. The form has been updated so it can easily be filled in electronically on a desktop/laptop and mobile devices (smartphones/tablets).

Remember to read the application form thoroughly and send in a copy of a bank statement along with your application form. 

You can find the links below. 
Download the PDF here – 
Download the Word Format here

We have been working in the background with the UK and Scottish Governments to feed in your concerns and push for a speedy, simple and easy way to operate the system. 

The Moray Council is aiming to process applications within 10 working days.

The information below is taken from the form, please read in full;

The Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Fund is being administered by Local Authorities.

SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT GRANT
Application for a one-off £10,000 grant available for the ratepayers of properties which had a rateable value of £18,000 or less and were, on 17 March 2020, 1) in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS), 2) in receipt of Rural Relief, or 3) eligible for SBBS but in receipt of Nursery Relief or Disabled Relief. If you are eligible for the £10,000 grant, please complete Section 1 over the page.

RETAIL, HOSPITALITY, LEISURE SUPPORT GRANT
Application for a £25,000 grant available for relief recipients with a rateable value between £18,001 and £50,999 in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors. If you are eligible for the £25,000 grant, please complete Section 2 over the page.

Eligible ratepayers can apply for a one-off grant payment as detailed below up to 31 March 2021.

Only one grant is allowed per ratepayer regardless of the number of premises held.
These grants are aimed at helping keep companies in business and keep productive capacity so that they can recover. Their intention is to:
• Protect jobs
• Prevent business closure
• Promote economic recovery
Please complete all of the parts of this application that apply to you in full, and email a copy to your local authority at [email protected]
Moray Council will review your application and assess if you are eligible for the grant.

Councils will aim to make payment within 10 working days from receipt of a fully completed application. The deadline for applications to the Business Support Fund is 31 March 2021.

24th March 2020

Advice from UK Government on businesses to close.

On the 24th March the UK Government released information on which businesses have to close following the country’s lockdown.

You can download the information here.

21st March 2020

Update on Instruction to Close and Job Retention Scheme

We will continue to keep you updated during this incredibly difficult time.  We have spoken directly to both the UK and Scottish Governments to ask for help/clarity on a number of topics including – Guidelines and processes for accessing financial support for both businesses and staff members, VAT, Insurance, Regulations for self-employed people (who may be operating within your supply chain) and the Data sources that will be used to help implement processes.

In Moray we are also working closely with other business support organisations to share information, knowledge and to add pressure to get the best package of support and action taken quickly.

We are pleased that some of the issues raised to date have been fed into the government’s plans, but we know that clear, concise, simple processes for accessing support are critical and we are and will continue to push for answers on your behalf.

General information is available on https://www.gov.scot/news/?topics=Coronavirus+in+Scotland, below you will find details of some of the most recent updates.

If you have a specific concern that you think the Government may have overlooked, then please let us know so that we can make sure it is directly fed into the policy makers.

Supporting Each Other

All business members are being negatively impacted by this situation, at this stage some more directly than others.  Information about the instruction to close is below, some of these businesses are still operating carry out services, please don’t forget this option, if you can use it to safely treat yourself, they will be grateful.

If you are offering or have developed services and ways to engage your customers, please let Tina know (E mail above) and she will be happy to promote this for you.

Pubs, cafes and more told to close

Published: 20 Mar 2020 19:37

Closure to apply immediately.

The Scottish Government is telling businesses including cafes, pubs, and restaurants to close, along with nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres.

The measures follow a meeting of the UK Government’s COBR committee, attended by the First Minister, and will be implemented across the UK with immediate effect.

Cafes and restaurants may continue to operate takeaway services but customers cannot sit-in.

The changes come as a result of updated scientific advice and will be reviewed on a monthly basis.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said:

“COVID-19 is the biggest challenge of our lifetimes, and with the number of cases set to rise sharply we must do all we can to slow it down and save lives.

“As well as continuing to wash hands more regularly and self-isolating if you or anyone in your house has any symptoms, we must also limit the number of people we come into contact with.

“That is why, in light of updated advice, we are now asking restaurants, cafes, pubs, gyms and cinemas to close. I know how difficult this is, but it is vital in reducing the spread of the virus.

“Most people have been following advice and guidance and we thank them for that. But these measures are being introduced to ensure that everyone follows the guidance which will, ultimately, save lives.”

Background

Businesses being instructed to close include:

  • Food and drink premises (other than those providing takeaway services)
  • Pubs, clubs and other drinking establishments
  • Cinemas, theatres and bingo halls and concert halls
  • Spas, wellness centres and massage parlours
  • Casinos and betting shops
  • Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools

The UK Coronavirus Bill, introduced at Westminster this week, includes measures enabling Ministers to give directions relating to events, gatherings and premises if they have declared a specific threat to public health in Scotland due to coronavirus.

This starts a “public health response period” during which the powers can be used.

Subject to the legislation being passed, the directions could include imposing restrictions or closure where this is considered necessary to protect the public against the virus or to help ensure medical or emergency services are best deployed to do so. MSPs will be debating the details of the Bill next week, before voting on the legislative consent motion.

Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (summary of information released)

  • Government grants will cover 80% of the salary for retained workers
  • This will be up to a total of £2,500 per worker per month
  • The scheme will be open before the end of April, will run for at least three months, and will cover cost of wages backdated to March 1
  • There’s no limit on the funding available
  • Any employer in the country – large or small, charitable or non-profit – will be eligible for the scheme

Treasury wage support welcome

Published: 20 Mar 2020 20:01

Coronavirus in Scotland, Business, industry and innovation, Work and skills, Economy

More support for sick and unemployed needed.

The Scottish Government has welcomed the significant steps by the UK Government to support workers through the economic crisis sparked by coronavirus and has urged further support for self-employed, unemployed and sick.

The Economy Secretary has also called on big businesses who have laid off staff because of the crisis to reconsider their decisions in light of the new wage support package.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“We have made repeated calls this week to the UK Government to provide direct support to businesses to pay people’s wages to keep them in employment, so I welcome the action that they have taken today.

“This will provide the certainty that many businesses need – they will have money to pay people’s wages. As a result they now need to provide that reassurance to their employees that they will still have a job and they will still be paid.

“Those companies who have taken decisions to lay off staff this week must now reconsider their approach and where they can they should halt or reverse their decisions to make people redundant.

“The scale of these measures is unprecedented, but more action will be required to support the self-employed and unemployed who will not see the benefit of these actions. We also need to see action on sick pay to ensure that where people follow the essential health advice, they know they will be supported in doing so.” 

19th March 2020

Here is information that we received on new support being made available from the Scottish Government.

Kate Forbes MSP has now announced the following changes to rates relief: 

  • £10K grant to all small properties in receipt of small businesses in receipt of Small Business Bonus Scheme;
  • £25K grant to hospitality businesses with RVs for £18K to £51K;
  • 100% rates relief for all businesses in hospitality, leisure and retail sectors.

We are still seeking clarity on how the process will work. We will keep you updated as we find out.

We understand the worry and concern that many of our members are facing in light of the developments with Covid 19.  We also know that people are offering services and support that could help people unable to get out and about and are introducing new services to try and combat some of the issues faced.  If you are offering for example home delivery and would like us to promote that please contact Tina on [email protected]. If you are offering support or services to people who are, or may be affected and you need help to promote these, then again please contact Tina and we will be glad to help.

16th March 2020

Support for Business from Scottish Government

Please see the below information on support being made available from the Scottish Government to limit the impact of COVID-19 on the business community. The situation is very fluid and changing on a daily basis, as we find out more we will keep you updated. 

We are still awaiting clarity on how the process for claiming the rates relief and applying for grants will work. We will send out an update as soon as we receive more information.

We understand the worry and concern that many of our members are facing in light of the developments with COVID- 19.  We also know that people are offering services and support that could help people unable to get out and about and are introducing new services to try and combat some of the issues faced.  If you are offering for example home delivery and would like us to promote that please contact Tina on [email protected]. If you are offering support or services to people who are, or may be affected and you need help to promote these, then again please contact Tina and we will be glad to help.

Immediate action in response to COVID-19.

Support below for businesses being made available by the Scottish Government. See https://www.gov.scot/news/gbp-320-million-package-of-support-for-businesses/

New measures to limit the impact of COVID-19 on the business community in Scotland have been announced by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes.

The following steps will be put in place to support businesses during the 2020-21 financial year:

• a 75% rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 from 1 April 2020
• an £80 million fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of COVID-19
• 1.6% rates relief for all properties across Scotland, effectively reversing the planned below inflation uplift in the poundage from 1 April 2020
• a fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from 1 April 2020

The Finance Secretary will also write to all local authorities urging them to respond positively to requests from rate payers for payment deferrals for a fixed period.

Ms Forbes said:

“COVID-19 will have challenging implications for businesses and the economy over the coming weeks and months.

“As well as following the latest health and travel advice, it’s also crucial we consider the latest economic analysis and listen carefully to what the business community is telling us. We know that the tourism and hospitality sectors are facing immediate pressure, which is why we have directed support to them in particular.

“All rate-payers will benefit from a relief that effectively reverses the planned inflationary uplift in the poundage that was due to come into effect in April.

“The measures I’m announcing today will provide £320 million of assistance to Scottish business and ensures that all Non Domestic Rate consequentials we expect to receive from the UK Government associated with the COVID-19 outbreak will be used to provide Scottish business with support through what is likely to be a difficult time. We will also be making the case to the UK Government that, because of the larger number of small businesses in Scotland, we need additional resources to be able to provide further support.

“Businesses receiving support are being encouraged to operate with fair work principles including supporting staff to self-isolate when they need to and if they have caring responsibilities and to consider keeping staff in employment where at all possible.

“We continue to work closely with our partners to identify what further support is needed and I’d encourage any businesses with questions relating to the impact of COVID-19 to contact the helpline we launched this week.”

Action to support the economy
A helpline providing businesses across Scotland with advice and guidance on COVID-19 has been announced by Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop.

The helpline, which is now live, will be open Monday to Friday, between 8.30am to 5.30pm.

Based at Scottish Enterprise’s existing call centre in Clydebank, advisers across Scotland will answer questions from businesses related to COVID-19. The helpline will also help the Scottish Government identify the current challenges facing businesses.

On Thursday the First Minister confirmed that the Scottish and UK Governments are moving from the containment phase to delay, and that large gatherings of over 500 people will be cancelled to support the resilience of emergency services.

The Chief Medical Officer has advised people with mild symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 including continuing coughing, or a fever or a temperature of above 37.8 should self-isolate for seven days. Those who have been in contact with someone who is experiencing symptoms should only self-isolate if they begin to experience symptoms.

During a meeting with representatives from Scotland’s business support organisations including the STUC this week, Ms Hyslop stressed the importance of everyone following the latest COVID-19 advice.

Ms Hyslop said:

“Scotland is well-prepared for a significant outbreak of coronavirus but people have a vital role to play in helping us contain any outbreak by following the latest health and travel advice.

“This situation presents a significant risk to global and domestic economic activity. That is why today we are launching a business helpline which will provide companies in Scotland with the support and guidance they need to respond appropriately.

“We continue to work closely with our partners to identify what further support businesses need. For example, the Minister for Local Government and Planning and the Chief Planner wrote to all planning authorities this week encouraging them to relax their approach to the enforcement of planning restrictions on shop delivery times and opening hours.

“I also chaired a meeting with representatives from Scotland’s business support organisations including the STUC to hear their concerns and provide reassurance that the Scottish Government will do everything in our power to protect the workforce, businesses and our economy.

“I’d also encourage everyone to refer to the new guidance on COVID-19 that includes workplace advice on reducing the spread of infection.

“Following the UK Government’s budget we also require urgent clarification on what funding Scotland will receive from the announcements made by the UK Government, at a time when prospects for the economy and public finances remain very uncertain as the short term impacts of COVID-19 unfold.”

Background:
The business helpline number is 0300 303 0660. The helpline will be open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm.

Callers should select option one to speak to the COVID-19 team.

People with symptoms told to stay at home.

First Minister announces large events to be cancelled.

Last week new guidance on Covid-19 that includes workplace advice was published.

Further additional guidance and information, including links to guidance for travellers and the general public, can also be found on HPS’ COVID-19 page.

The latest numbers of test results are published at 2pm each day on the Scottish Government website.

tina.mainland(at)elginbid.co.uk

13 Harrow Inn Close, Elgin IV30 1BP