Firstly, may I say a personal thank you to those members who have taken the trouble to email in to say how much they appreciate these daily updates. It’s good to know! Nothing to report from DVSA so far today.
However, we have received the following useful financial information from the Business Support Helpline
Help with your mortgage repayments
Mortgage lenders will offer a three-month payment holiday for those customers that are experiencing issues with their finances as a result of Coronavirus. Lenders across the industry have agreed to introduce a simpler notification process for residential customers to apply for this relief.
Please contact your mortgage provider to discuss how this will affect your repayment term.
If you rent your property
Government have announced new protective measures for those renting their properties:
• Emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation while this national emergency is taking place
• No new possession proceedings through applications to the court to start during the crisis
• Landlords will also be protected as 3-month mortgage payment holiday is extended to Buy to Let mortgages
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/complete-ban-on-evictions-and-additional-protection-for-renters
In terms of other bills including utilities and council tax, it is highly recommended that you contact your provider to advise them of the situation so that you can put an adequate plan in place to offer you the best possible support.
Universal Credit and Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly into your bank. It is available to those who are not eligible for SSP. The government has made sure for the duration of the outbreak, the process to apply has been relaxed to make is easier for people who have coronavirus or are staying at home according to government advice, ensuring self-employed claimants will receive support. People will be able to claim Universal Credit and access advance payments upfront without the current requirement to attend a jobcentre.
You can find more information here: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/
You may be able to access the Hardship fund
The government expects most of this funding to be used to provide more council tax relief.
For more information about this fund, you should contact the local authority (council).
Support with energy bills for vulnerable people
Agreed emergency measures with energy suppliers to support any customers in financial distress. Help for customers with pre-payment meters who may not be able to add credit, the disconnection of credit meters will be completely suspended.
If you are unable to top up your pre-payment meter you advised to contact your supplier immediately to discuss how you can be kept on supply.
If you’re unable to pay your tax bill (corporation tax, VAT, PAYE)
All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.
These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
For those who are unable to pay due to Coronavirus, HMRC will discuss your specific circumstances to explore:
• suspending debt collection proceedings
• agreeing instalment arrangements
• cancelling penalties and interest where businesses have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately
Contact HMRC for support – 0300 0159 559
Accessing Small Business Rate Relief
Businesses who have commercial premises and are in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Business Rate Relief are eligible for the small business grant funding.
The grant was initially announced as £3,000 but this has been increased to £10,000.
You do not need to apply. The local authorities are aware of those who are in receipt of the rate relief and will write to all eligible businesses with information on how to claim this grant. Businesses are expected to be contacted from the beginning of April.
If you need to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay
All businesses with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible. The refund will cover up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee and is to be paid from day 1. It will be best practice for employers to maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
You do not need to apply. The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the method of repayment and details will be announced.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
A package of government-backed loans of up £5m has also been announced, with no interest due for the first six months. This scheme will be provided by British Business Bank via high street banks. Full details on the eligibility criteria will be announced shortly and it is thought the first loans will be available week commencing 23 March. Businesses remain responsible for repaying any facility they take out.
If you are worried about accessing finance now, you should speak to your usual lender.
Please see here the information provided about this scheme by The British Business Bank:
To receive regular updates or new announcements that could help we advise you to sign up to the Government alerts on GOV.UK about: Coronavirus (COVID-19):
There are expert advisors to answer your business questions to help you and your business, whether you are starting up or already a small business. Contact them by phone, chat or online:
Facebook https://www.facebo ok.com/BusinessSupportGov
Or visit GOV.UK (www.GOV.uk ) Government’s online resource for businesses.
You can sign up to receive Government updates on Coronavirus relating to driving tests here.
ADINJC’s helpline is 0800 8202 444
The Secretary’s number is 07855 453414
You can find the latest NASP guidelines on Coronavirus here.