CrowdRiff Blog - one point that has come up a lot in conversations with DMOs large and small is that they’d like to see more examples and ideas of how others are operating during this time.
In this post, CrowdRiff put together some best practices from the past week. These examples have surfaced internally at CrowdRiff, whether from customers or through their own research into what others are doing. Read the blog here.
14 Financial Opportunities and Support Available
To assist business owners the government has announced that it will provide support to ensure the impact of COVID-19 is minimised.
Tax helpline to support businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)
If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 0159 559.
HMRC will extend “time to pay” arrangements for companies affected by acts of God such as flooding to Coronavirus. These arrangements are negotiated on an individual basis between SMEs and Treasury, which means debt collection is suspended if they cannot afford to pay their tax bill. And HMRC said that during the Coronavirus pandemic, the usual 3.5 per cent annual interest on deferred tax payments will be scrapped.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Businesses with a turnover of less than £41 million can apply for a loan of up to £1.2 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) temporarily replaces the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme and will be provided by the British Business Bank through accredited lenders.
The government will extend the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme from up to £1.2m per business to £5m with no interest payable for six months. This new loan scheme will be up-and-running by the end of next week. “Any business that needs access to cash will be able to get a government-backed credit on attractive terms,” said Sunak.
Business Interruption Insurance Policies
The Treasury will stand behind those businesses that do have business interruption insurance policies that do include pandemics but will have excluded COVID-19 because it is such a new virus. However, most small businesses will still not be insured through business interruption policies because most just apply to fire and flood.
Covering Sick Pay
For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave. Coronavirus statutory sick pay is expected to be in the form of a refund. The Treasury says that it is “working with employers over the coming months to set up a repayment mechanism as soon as possible for employers reclaiming statutory sick pay”.
Coronavirus help for self-employed, employers & employees
For the self-employed not eligible for SSP, contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be payable, at a rate of £73.10 a week if you are over 25, for eligible people affected by coronavirus or self-isolating in line with advice from day one of sickness, rather than day eight.
For more information about coronavirus government statutory sick pay, go to the Department for Work & Pensions website here.
For further advice regarding sick pay and how best to support your employee’s should they self-isolate, the ACAS website has issued the following information – www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus
The Treasury will work with business groups to develop an Employment Support Package that will help to mitigate employment costs for small firms, thereby preventing lay-offs.
Do you get Small Business Rates Relief?
There is a £10,000 cash grant being made available to 700,000 of the smallest businesses, which will be delivered by Local Authorities, and worth a total of £20 billion. Your local council will have further information on this as the scheme is rolled out, use the link above, bookmark the page and refer back to it for further updates.
East Suffolk Council will contact businesses with more information by mid April regarding the above grant
Businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure with a rateable value of between £15,000 to £51,000 will be able to access a bigger grant of £25,000.
East Suffolk Council will contact your business by the end of March 2020 regarding the above grant
The government is also temporarily increasing the business rates retail discount in England to 100% for 2020-21 for properties below £51,000 rateable value. *Nearly half of all business properties will not pay a penny of business rates. This will be implemented through your local council. If you already receive the current business rates retail discount, you will receive notification of the changes in due course. If you currently don’t receive any relief, you can check with your Local Authority for your eligibility.
*All retail, leisure and hospitality companies will be exempt from business rates for a whole year.
East Suffolk Council will automatically apply this exemption from business rates - no further action is needed by the business.
Advice from Anglia Revenues Partnership as of 18th March 2020
- If businesses are already in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief ARP will automatically be updating their accounts as soon as they have confirmation from Government and the software suppliers provide them with the facility to do so.
- For Pubs already getting pub relief, ARP will automatically be updating their accounts as soon as they have confirmation from Government and the software to amend the accounts.
- In relation to the rates holiday encompassing hospitality and leisure ARP will be awaiting guidance from Government as to the definition of properties in these sectors. They will then identify the businesses in their database and contact them regarding this scheme.
- In relation to the Grants – ARP do not have enough information to give clear advice at present.
- Please note that all of these ‘reliefs’ are subject to state aid rules.
Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility
To support larger firms, the Bank of England has announced a new lending facility to provide a quick and cost effective way to raise working capital via the purchase of short-term debt. This will support companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, enabling them to continue financing their short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms. Further details, including on how to access this funding will follow in the coming days, and the scheme will be available from the week commencing 23 March.
Banks and Loans
Banks are also increasing credit lines and overdrafts and, in some cases, they may even offer repayment holidays. Contact your credit suppliers to ask about relaxing payments.
15 What The Suffolk Coast DMO can offer you;
We will use our website and social media channels to promote your businesses to the best of our ability, it is vital that we continue to profile the destination and everything you offer visitors throughout this unprecedented time.
We want to ensure that all tourism and hospitality businesses on the Suffolk Coast can promote their businesses right now free of charge through our website, content and social media channels.
4 months free membership for existing and new members
For our existing members with a subscription due to automatically renew we will not collect payment. Four months free membership will be automatically added to your subscription. There is nothing further you need to do. This will be reviewed as the situation develops and we will extend free membership if necessary.
For businesses who have just joined us recently we will give you an additional four months free membership which will be automatically applied to your existing membership period.
For businesses who have yet to join us - we will automatically give you the first four months of membership free of charge. Again, this will be reviewed as the situation develops and we will extend free membership if necessary.
Use our members Facebook Group to stay in touch
We have opened up our Members Facebook Group to ALL TOURISM & HOSPITALITY BUSINESSES on The Suffolk Coast. We will use the group to keep you up to date with news and developments that affect the tourism industry, but it's also a great place for businesses to share experiences, advice and support.
Please join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheSuffolkCoastMembers/ - you will be asked to state your business, this is to ensure that only tourism / retail / hospitality businesses join.
Please tell us what this is doing to you and your business
Through our close relationship with the National Coastal Tourism Academy we want to make sure your voices are heard - please tell us what your current situation is. We need to feedback real examples of what you are facing to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and VisitBritain so that there is commitment to a significant recovery plan.
Do you face your business going under in the near future? If so, how long before this happens? Are you able to close your business for a period of time and then reopen? What measures are you having to take with your staff? What messages do you want us to pass on? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make sure you are heard.