Tuesday 24th update can be found here Coronavirus Business Support Update # 3 – from BfS. Today – Sole Traders and the Self Employed http://ow.ly/sYCZ50yU5e4
Business for Scotland is one of the Scottish Government’s account managed business organisations and we have been in touch with our Account Manager and with relevant Ministers to request clarity on the business support available.
Support package still a work in progress
Unfortunately, the relief package is still a work in progress. Given the latest set of measures was just announced on Friday evening, this is to be expected and that means that the information we can confirm is limited at the moment. So far, government helplines suggest going to local council websites but those websites are not ready.
The target date for having the information available with applications forms seems to be April 1st. We will keep you informed as things progress and have urged Ministers to offer more detail and a progress report. Note that I have not yet seen a single council website with the relevant details on how to claim Non-Domestic Rates (business rates) relief or the grants. When we see that change, we will add it to our updates.
- Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your 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
- Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC have yet to build this).
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 but that may be a month away or more. In other words, you have to pay them and then reclaim the 80%. You can only pay 80% or you can contribute the 20% to maintain full wages yourself but you will not be able to claim that back.
We can report that the Scottish Government has introduced extra rates reliefs (discounts) which will be automatically applied to your bill.
It has also introduced a one-off grant of £10,000 for businesses, in receipt of Small Business Bonus or Rural Relief and £25,000 for businesses with larger rates bills. I have asked for clarification and more details on the eligibility criteria. On the UK Government site it states at all businesses are eligible but that that also begs the question; do big supermarkets get it when their sales are doubling? Again, we will clarify when the information becomes available.
Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value between £18,000 and up to and including £51,000 will be able to apply for a one-off grant of £25,000, the building must be occupied though. We suspect this means the premises should have been operational until the Covid-19 impact on the economy and not that you are still open for business now.