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, or follow us on Twitter to receive updates.

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

Current Guidance for Businesses

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. This information can be found on the Government website.

In addition to the requirements that apply across both England and Wales, Welsh businesses that are permitted to remain open to the public are also now required to ‘take all reasonable measures to ensure that a distance of two metres is maintained between any persons on the business premises.’ This includes staff and customers. Further details and resources can be found on the Keeping your distance in shops now a legal requirement in Wales page.

To support Key Workers at this time Ceredigion County Council are providing emergency childcare for frontline service staff. It should be emphasised that this should be a last resort for childcare. Further information can be found on the Childcare Provision for Frontline Service Workers in Ceredigion page.

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

Several high street banks 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 - Providing finance without fees to SME’s. 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

Available Support

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

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 any of these issues, please email cynnalycardi@ceredigion.gov.uk.

Online Application Form  (Please check criteria below)

The Welsh Government has introduced two grants to support businesses in Wales through the Coronavirus pandemic. These grants are available to businesses that are registered to pay business rates on their premises on or before the 20th March 2020.

Grant 1: A grant of £25,000 is 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 grant of £10,000 is available to ALL businesses eligible for small business rates relief (SBRR) in Wales with a rateable value of £12,000 or less (This is available to all sectors and is not restricted to just the retail, leisure and hospitality businesses) AND a grant of £10,000 is available to Not for Profit organisations operating for charitable purposes (e.g. those eligible for Charitable relief and Community Amateur Sports Clubs relief) operating in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors occupying properties 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.

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.

Please note: Following the overwhelming feedback received from Ceredigion businesses regarding the updated Welsh Government Scheme documentation, Ceredigion County Council has consulted with Welsh Government on the additional criteria for all Self-Catering accommodation properties in order to try to ensure genuine businesses, that are being negatively impacted, are not being disadvantaged. Please see the FAQs highlighted in green below for further guidance.

The Council appreciate that this is a very difficult time and are processing applications as a very high priority. Once an application has been submitted and a confirmation email has been received, we ask for patience whilst we process applications.

It is requested that applicants do not make contact in regard to payment dates as we are unable to comment on individual time frames, the team will make contact if any further information is required.

Q: How long is the COVID19 Business grants scheme open for?

A: Applications should be made on or before 30 June 2020

Q. Is there a trading date I need to be aware of?

A. Your business must have been registered to pay business rates and have been on the Rating list as at 20th March 2020. Please note there are additional Scheme criteria for Properties used for Self Catering Accommodation.

Q. I’m a Retail, Leisure or Hospitality business – what grant can I apply for?

A. A grant of £25,000 is 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.

A grant of £10,000 is available for all businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) in Wales with a rateable value of £12,000 or less and also Not for Profit organisations operating for charitable purposes (including those that are entitled to Charitable relief or Community Amateur Sports Clubs  relief) with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.   This includes charity run shops, sports premises and community centres.

Q. I’ve not had to pay any business rates in recent years due to Small Business Rates relief – can I still claim a grant?

A. Yes - a grant of £10,000 is available to businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief in Wales with a rateable value of £12,000 or less. (This is available to all sectors and is not restricted to just the retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, however please note there are additional Scheme criteria for Properties used for Self Catering Accommodation). 

Q. My property is used as Self–catering accommodation which is registered for business rates, can I still apply for a grant?

A. Your property may be eligible if it meets certain criteria which apply only to Self Catering accommodation properties.   The WG Grants scheme has been updated and includes the following criteria:

  1. The Self-catering accommodation (defined as the Property or Properties covered by the Rateable Value assessment) must have actually been let for a period of 140 days or more in the period 01/04/2019 to 31/03/2020 and
  2. The Business can produce 2 years of the most recent years of trading accounts (whether certified or not) for the business activity relating to the Self-catering accommodation.
  3. The Self-catering accommodation must be the primary source of income for the Business owner (Primary defined as more than 50%).

Ceredigion County Council now intends to operate the Welsh Government scheme at a local level by only requiring any 2 out of the 3 criteria above to be met.   However where only 2 criteria are met, then applicants must also provide confirmation and a brief explanation that their business has been negatively impacted by COVID19 and that a grant would assist them to remain a viable business.

If you wish to apply please use the online application form. If you have already applied through the online application form you should have received an e-mail regarding the additional criteria (including the recent changes) and the action now required.

Q. I have a Self-Catering Accommodation Property and I am required to make a declaration about my Income levels, how is this defined?

A. Income from Self-Catering Accommodation Property would be your net income for tax purposes after expenses as declarable on an HMRC self-assessment tax return. If you have multiple applications for separately rated Self-Catering Accommodation Properties, then you may combine your Income from Self-Catering Accommodation Properties in determining whether you meet the 50% threshold.

Q. My business is still able to operate to a limited extent – am I able to claim a grant?

A. Yes providing you meet the eligibility criteria – there is no specific requirement that your business needs to have fully closed, however the support is targeted at businesses that are suffering financially and being negatively impacted. No business should be open unless it is operating strictly in accordance with Government advice and guidelines.

Q. I’m a childcare provider getting Small Business Rates Relief - can I still apply?

A. Yes - if you have a rateable value of less than £100,000 and are eligible for Small Business Rates Relief then you will be eligible for the £10,000 grant. This is a specific criteria only for Childcare providers.

Q. Do the grants need to be repaid?

A. No these are not loans they are outright grants. A grant would only be repayable in the event of a mistaken payment or a fraudulent claim

Q. Do I need to be concerned about State Aid?

A. These are unprecedented times, so the European Commission has approved a UK wide COVID19 Temporary Framework for UK Authorities which allows for a business to receive State aid in any and all forms up to a maximum support ceiling of €800,000. All Business grant payments made by Ceredigion County Council will be deemed to be State Aid under this framework and the Council will be writing to all grant recipients to confirm this.  You should not apply for a grant if you are concerned that your Business would exceed this State Aid limit due to being in receipt of other sources of State Aid relating to COVID19.

Q. Will I need to provide any business trading records at a future date?

A. No – provided the information on your application is complete, there should be no further information required by Ceredigion County Council in respect of these specific grants unless you are a Self-Catering Accommodation business. If you fall into this category, Ceredigion County Council reserves the right to request clear documentary evidence in a suitable form to support all aspects of your Self Catering Accommodation declarations.

Q. I am a Not for Profit organisation am I still eligible?

A. If you fall under the Retail, leisure and hospitality sector and occupy a property with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000 then you will be eligible for the £25,000 grant even if you currently get mandatory and/or discretionary rate relief.  

Following a change in the Welsh Government grants scheme on 26/05/20, if you fall under the Retail, leisure and hospitality sector and occupy a property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less then you will now be eligible for the £10,000 grant if you are a Not for Profit organisation operating for charitable purposes (including those that are entitled to Charitable relief or Community Amateur Sports Clubs  relief).   However you must declare any COVID-19 funding you have applied for and/or received from the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund or the Sport Wales Emergency Relief Fund, which will affect the level of funding you are eligible for.  You cannot apply for this grant if you have already been awarded COVID19 grant(s) amounting to £10k or more from these Funds.

Q. I’ve applied for a grant but not heard anything yet, when will I get paid?

A. You will receive an automatic acknowledgement when you submit your application. Staff are working extremely hard to process applications and get the grant funding paid out to successful applicants. This means applications that are complete and include a clear recent bank statement showing the Business Name and the bank sort code and account number are more likely to get processed quicker. Incomplete applications will be put on hold in order for queries to be dealt with. Once an application has been approved you will receive a remittance advice confirming your payment details.

Q. I have a Business with more than one premises – how many grants can I apply for?

A. If you have more than one business which qualifies for either Grant 1 or Grant 2 you will need to complete an on-line form for EACH premises.

Grant 1: a grant of £25,000 available for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses occupying properties with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000. There is NO limit to the number of applications for this grant.

Grant 2: a grant of £10,000 and available to all businesses eligible for Small Business Rates (SBRR) in Wales with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.  The multiple property restriction which applies to the SBRR also applies to this grant. Therefore, the same ratepayer may only receive Grant 2 for a maximum of two properties in each local authority area.

It is therefore possible (depending on the number of eligible properties) for a Business to have up to two £10,000 grants and more than one £25,000 grant.

Q. I don’t fall into either grant category, what other support is available?

A. Our ‘Business Support’ web page also provide useful information relating to a number of other WG and UK wide schemes including:

  • Business Rate relief and Business loans;
  • the ‘Employee job retention schemes’
  • the ‘Self-employment income support scheme’
  • ‘Support for Farmers and Agriculture’
  • Various Funds available to specific sectors.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The 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 Self Employment Income Support Scheme is now open for applications. Further details and instructions on how to apply can be found on the Government Claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme page.

A £500m Economic Resilience Fund is available to businesses in Wales who would not qualify from previously announced support packages. It consists of two elements:

Covid-19 Wales Business Loan Scheme (£100m)

(PLEASE NOTE: This fund is currently fully subscribed. We are awaiting to see what further support will be made available in due course).

Available for companies who are experiencing cash flow problems as a result of the pandemic.   The fund provides loans of between £5,000 and £250,000 at 2% interest fixed for 6 years (includes 12 month holiday).

The scheme is live now, with further information on the Covid-19 Wales Business Loan Scheme page of the Development Bank of Wales website.

£400m of Grant Funding Support

There is a £100m fund to support microbusinesses and a £300m fund to support SMEs and large businesses.

Further details and eligibility criteria can be found at the following website. Queries in regard to the grant should be directed to Business Wales on 03000 6 03000.

Business Wales - Financial Support and Grants

The application process for the Economic Resilience Fund will open on Friday 17 April via the Business Wales website. It is anticipated that there will be very high demand for this grant and encourage all business to collect all required information in preparation for when applications open.

Please go through the Business Wales Eligibility Checker to confirm that you are eligible to apply, and meet all the criteria. At the bottom of the eligibility criteria you will see the buttons to start the application process.

New guidance and support is published in light of recent changes to the restrictions and closure of holiday accommodation provisions, detailing some specific exceptions.

Coronavirus restrictions have required businesses operating holiday sites and accommodation in Ceredigion to close their premises, or cease providing the service during the emergency period, subject to certain exceptions. These types of holiday accommodation include camping sites, hotels, bed and breakfast, holiday apartments, hostels and boarding houses.

An exception to the requirement to close exists where persons already staying in the accommodation at the time when the requirements came into force were unable to return to their main residence, or were using the accommodation as their main residence. Businesses should be satisfied that the exceptions are appropriately applied and, if in doubt, seek advice from Ceredigion County Council’s Public Protection Team. This particular exemption does not apply to holiday and camping sites.

Since 24 March 2020, persons responsible for holiday and camping sites have been required to use their best endeavours to require any person staying on their site to vacate. Best endeavours would include taking positive steps to ask people to vacate the premises. If the business is not satisfied that there is a credible, compelling and evidenced reason for people remaining on the site, then they should ask them to leave, or contact the Public Protection Team in Ceredigion County Council for advice.

Ceredigion County Council may request that businesses provide accommodation for key workers and for other specified purposes. If a business is asked to provide accommodation beyond the exceptions above, then it must ensure that it receives an exemption certificate from Ceredigion County Council detailing the purpose for, and extent to, which it may remain open. Businesses may apply for an exemption certificate by sending an email request to the Public Protection team on publicprotection@ceredigion.gov.uk or through the Clic Ceredigion Customer Contact Centre on 01545 570881.

Any businesses that are currently accommodating key workers and have not yet been requested by the Authority to remain open for that purpose are urged to contact the Public Protection Team for further advice immediately.

For clarity, unless businesses in Ceredigion have been specifically requested by Welsh Ministers or by the Ceredigion Local Authority to stay open, they must remain CLOSED. Persons responsible for carrying on businesses (including owners, proprietors and managers) will be subject to enforcement action if they fail to comply with the restrictions. The options available include prosecution, which can result in unlimited fines on conviction.

The closure requirements only apply to businesses offering holiday accommodation and do not affect privately occupied homes and accommodation.

Further Welsh Government guidance is available on their Guidance for local authorities on holiday accommodation: coronavirus page.

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.

Non-Domestic Rates - Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rates Relief in Wales 2020-21

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.

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 on the British Business Bank’s website.

Development Back of Wales Loan

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.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Please note: It is hoped that the UK Government will have scheme in place by end of April 2020

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
  • Employers must confirm ‘furloughed’ every 3 weeks to ensure that they continue to receive funding

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.

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.

HMRC Time to Pay

HMRC have increased 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.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

UK Government will 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

The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund

 The £5 million Enterprise Relief Fund will offer grants to 18 to 30-year olds across the UK who are self-employed and/or running their own business. In conjunction with cash grants, the initiative will offer one-to-one support and guidance to anyone who needs it and who may be worried about their future.

Further details and how to apply can be found on the Prince's Trust website.

For businesses in the food and drink sector, specific support is being made available and will be updated accordingly:

Food Innovation Wales

In recognition of the challenges facing the sector as a result of coronavirus and during what is normally a busy time, the Minister has confirmed farmers will have an extra month to submit their Single Application Form (SAF), with the deadline now extended to 15th June 2020.

 You should notify the RPW Customer Contact Centre (0300 062 5004) immediately if you are unable to access broadband or an appropriate computer to submit the online SAF by the deadline.

More information can be found on the Welsh Government Emergency measures to support farmers during COVID-19 unveiled page.

Support has been announced by the Welsh Government for vessel owning fishing businesses, to ensure they are able to cover their costs during this difficult time.

The new grant will help cover fixed costs associated with owning a fishing vessel and will be based on the size of vessel owned. The grant will be calculated by vessel size, with a maximum payment of £10,000. The grant will be open to all active seafood businesses with Welsh-licenced vessels and recorded sales of £10,000 or more in 2019, and all eligible fishers will be provided with a one off payment.

Further information on the Fisheries Grant can be found in the guidance note on the Welsh Government website.

Completed applications must be submitted by 31 May 2020. If you have any queries get in touch with the team via the mailbox: MarineEvidenceandTech@gov.wales

Arts Resilience Fund

Working with the Arts Council, this fund will support artists and arts organisations most in need and least likely to benefit from other support programmes. Further announcements will be made about how the fund will be distributed.

Further details can be found on the Arts Council of Wales website.

Sport Resilience Fund

This will be used to support sports clubs and partner networks which play such a vital role in ensuring the nation is able to remain active and enjoy all the health and wellbeing benefits that sport brings. The fund will be led by Sport Wales.

Further details can be found on the Sports Wales website.

Creative Wales Fund

This fund will provide support for grassroots music venues to respond to immediate pressures (up to £25K per business), and additional support for TV and publishing sector to allow it to consider future opportunities.

Further details can be found on the Creative Wales website.

Cultural Resilience Fund

The fund will assist museums, collections, conservation services, archives and community and public libraries to respond to short-term pressures and recovery actions on a grant application basis.

Further details can be found on the Welsh Museums Federation website.

Digital Library Resources Fund

The funds will enable public libraries to provide additional digital resources to the public and gives people resources to read and engage with whilst self-isolating.

Further details can be found on the Welsh Museums Federation website.

Q: What about any guidance and practical support on what I should do?

A: Latest information about precautions and preparations you should make are on the Welsh Government's Guidance to employers and businesses on COVID-19 page.

Q: What about covering costs for Sick Pay?

A: Government is making support available, more information can be found on the their Financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

Q: What about childcare for my staff?

A: The Government has published a list of key workers that qualify for additional support on their Critical workers who can access schools or educational settings page. The information locally for Ceredigion is available on the Childcare Provision for Frontline Service Workers in Ceredigion page.

Q: What about the self-employed?

A: UK Government is expected to provide further announcements soon.

Q: What about the Voluntary Sector?

A: Information and support via emergency fast-track loans is available on the WcVA website.

Q: What if I can’t file my accounts on time with Companies House?

A: A support article is available from Business Wales Coronavirus: if your company cannot file accounts with Companies House on time page.

Q: Is there advice and guidance for employees (coming to work, sick pay, rent, recent redundancy or self-employed)?

A: Yes, on the Government Guidance and support for employees during coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

Q: What businesses should be closing?

A: The latest guidance is available from the Government Closing certain businesses and venues page.