Ceredigion County Council wants to ensure that businesses, employers and employees in Ceredigion have access to the latest advice and information in preparing and responding to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Council officers are working closely with civil servants in Government to ensure we have the latest available information, and do what we can to support.

This page will be updated regularly with any additional information we receive. Please bookmark it and check back regularly, or follow us on Twitter to receive updates.

For the latest advice and guidance from Government, please follow these links:

A number of support packages are being made available to support businesses. The latest advice, guidance and support can be found on the Business Wales website.

To delay the spread of Coronavirus, the government has instructed some businesses to close and for others to consider their role in slowing down the spread of the virus through closing or changing the way they work. Further information can be found here.

Helplines

A number of helplines have been set up to help (note some will be experiencing high call volumes):

  • Business Wales – 03000 6 03000
  • HMRC – 0800 015 9599
  • Universal Credit – 0800 328 5644

Support from high-street banks: some have announced measures such as payment holidays to help their customers. The below are general helplines or dedicated numbers for Coronavirus support:

  • Natwest – Speak to your Relationship Manager or contact 0345 711 4477
  • Barclays – Speak to your Relationship Manager or call 0800 1971 086. Open 8am-8pm
  • Lloyds – Promoting up to £2 billion of finance without fees to small businesses. Speak to Relationship Manager
  • HSBC – Helpline 08000 121 614. Open 9-5 Monday to Friday
  • RBS – Speak to your Relationship Manager or Call 0345 600 2230

For businesses in the food and drink sector, specific support is being made available:
http://foodinnovation.wales/food-innovation-wales-helpline/

SUPPORT AVAILABLE [updated 30/03/20]

1. Business Rate Relief

Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £500,000 or less will receive 100% business rates relief for the financial year 2020/21.

Guidance is available here.

HOW TO APPLY: You do not need to do anything to access this. Ceredigion County Council officers will automatically process this as soon as they can directly with eligible businesses.

2. Grants for Businesses

The Welsh Government has introduced two grants to support businesses in Wales through the Coronavirus pandemic. These grants will only be available to businesses that were on the Non-Domestic Rates rating list on 20th March 2020.

Grant 1: A grant of £25,000 is being made available for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses occupying properties with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000.

This means businesses that occupy properties such as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues, hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.

Grant 2: A £10,000 grant to all businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) in Wales with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.

Please note that a multiple property restriction which applies to the Small Business Rates Relief scheme also applies to this grant. Therefore, the same ratepayer may only receive the grant for a maximum of two properties in each local authority area.

Not sure of your rateable value? Click here to find out the rateable value of your property.

These grants will be administered by Ceredigion County Council, we will process them as soon as possible. Welsh Government will be advising on further financial support for those businesses not covered by these grants. 

HOW TO APPLY: Check your eligibility above and definitions here (paragraph 13 onwards), and complete the form below. Should you have more than one business which qualifies for either or both Grant 1 or 2 please complete a form for EACH premise. You will need copies of your bank statements to hand (the one you use to pay the Council for your business rates).

Please note: Once you’ve made your application, we’d appreciate your patience in not following-up by phone. We very much appreciate the major challenges being faced by businesses, and our staff will make every effort to get your payments to you as soon as possible.

3. £500m Resilience Fund - Welsh Government

Announced by Welsh Government on 30/03/20. A £500 million fund is being made available primarily aimed at supporting those firms in Wales who would not qualify from previously announced support packages. It consists of two elements:

  • £100m Covid-19 Wales Business Loan Scheme - available for companies who are experiencing cash flow problems as a result of the pandemic and will provide loans of between £5,000 and £250,000 at favourable interest rates. The scheme is live now, with further information on the Development Bank of Wales’ website.
  • £400m emergency fund – grants and direct support for businesses according to their size. The £400m emergency fund is expected to be live in April. Further information will be available on the Business Wales website
    • Grants of £10,000 for micro-businesses employing up to nine people.
    • Grants of up to £100,000 for small and medium sized firms with between 10 and 249 employees.
    • Support for larger Welsh companies, which are of critical social or economic importance to Wales

4. Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The UK government has announced a temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to provide finance to Welsh businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak (supporting businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts). The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.

The scheme will support loans of up to £1.2 million in value. This new guarantee will initially support up to £1 billion of lending on top of current support offered through the British Business Bank.

It will be available to businesses in Wales via the banks and will operate in much the same way as the current Enterprise Finance Guarantee but on more attractive terms for both businesses and lenders.

Further information on the scheme is now available the British Business Bank’s website here.

5. Development Bank of Wales

In addition to the £100m Covid-19 Wales Business Loan Scheme, the Development Bank of Wales has loan and equity funding available immediately to Welsh businesses. The Welsh Government is working closely with the Development Bank of Wales to consider additional support to help businesses through the Covid-19 impact.

For further information please visit the Development Bank of Wales website or call 0800 587 4140.

6.  Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. Employers will need to:

  • Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify employees of this change. Changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation; and
  • Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal. HMRC will set out further details on the information required.
  • HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
  • HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers. If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

7.  Deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) and Income Tax payments.

Value Added Tax (VAT) payments will be deferred for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

The deferral will apply from 20th March until the end of June. 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 2020-21 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.

Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

Income Tax Self-Assessment payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

8.  HMRC Time to Pay

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. You can contact HMRC’s dedicated Covid-19 helpline to get practical help and advice. This can be reached by calling 0800 0159 559

9.  Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

UK Government will shortly bring forward legislation to allow all UK small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

  • this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
  • employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  • employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
  • eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force
  • the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible
  • A rebate scheme is being developed. Further details will be provided in due course once the legalisation has passed.

10. Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The UK Government announced on 26th March 2020 that a Self-employment Income Support Scheme that will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000. The scheme will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.

In the meantime to support the self-employed over the next 2 months, they will be able to apply for Universal Credit with many of the usual rules being relaxed.

Further details can be found upon the UK Governments website, and updates will be published upon this page as soon as they are available.

FURTHER SUPPORT: Ceredigion County Council are currently working with Welsh Government to ascertain what additional support will be made available to businesses that do not qualify for the support available currently.

Should you wish to contact Ceredigion County Council regarding the issues above, please email cynnalycardi@ceredigion.gov.uk.

FAQs

  1. Q: What about any guidance and practical support on what I should do?
    A: Latest information about precautions and preparations you should make here.

 

  1. Q: What about covering costs for Sick Pay?
    A: Government is making support available, more information here.

 

  1. Q: What about childcare for my staff?
    A: The Government has published a list of key workers that qualify for additional support here. The information locally for Ceredigion is available here.

 

  1. Q: What about the self-employed?
    A: UK Government is expected to provide further announcements soon.

 

  1. Q: What about the Voluntary Sector?
    A: Information and support via emergency fast-track loans available here.

 

  1. Q: What if I can’t file my accounts on time with Companies House?
    A: A support article is available from Business Wales here.

 

  1. Q: Is there advice and guidance for employees (coming to work, sick pay, rent, recent redundancy or self-employed)?
    A: Yes, on the HMRC website here.

  2. Q: What businesses should be closing?
    A: The latest guidance is available here.