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COVID-19 Advice for Small Business

Corona Virus Distruption Advice

Over the past weeks, all of our lives have changed dramatically. We’re hearing from many of you that you’ve had to postpone events, temporarily close up businesses, innovate to serve customers in different ways, and move offices into your homes.

Team Baltic have compiled some information on the latest help and advice and will attempt to keep this page updated:

Financial Advice

On Tuesday 17 March 2020, the Chancellor announced a £330bn package to help small businesses. The Federation of Small Businesses has provided a summary of the package which includes advice on cash grants, business rates discounts and backed loans.

https://www.fsb.org.uk/campaign/covid19.html

Government Support

Arts Council Grants for Artists and Creative Freelancers

The Arts Council are making £20 million available to individuals working in the cultural sector, including artists, creative practitioners and freelancers.

Artists and creative practitioners will be able to apply for grants of up to £2,500 if they have a track record in publicly funded culture.

We understand the impact the Covid-19 crisis is having on all parts of the cultural workforce, so we’re looking to provide £4 million from this £20 million budget for grants to benevolent funds targeted at other cultural workers. More information on this will be shared soon.

Who is eligible to apply for this fund?
Creative practitioners whose main work is focused on these art forms and disciplines:

Music
Theatre
Dance
Visual Arts
Literature
Combined Arts
Museums practice

This work includes: choreographers, writers, translators, producers, editors, freelance educators in the disciplines and artforms we support, composers, directors, designers, artists, craft makers and curators.

Magicians and comedians can apply to this fund, as long as they have a track record of receiving public funding for their work.

We are also exploring reasonable adjustments that will ensure applicants with access requirements have an equal chance of benefiting from this fund. This would include anyone ill due to Covid-19

Full application details here

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered releif. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Eligibility

You are eligible if:

  • your business is based in England
  • you are a small business and already receive SBBR and/or RRR
  • you are a business that occupies the property

How to access the scheme

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.

Find your local authority.

Support for businesses through the 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.

Eligibility

All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access the scheme

You will need to:

  • 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 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.

Support for businesses through deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

We will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments 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.

VAT

For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

Eligibility

All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access the scheme

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 to 2021 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

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.

Eligibility

If you are self-employed you are eligible.

How to access the scheme

This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

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

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.

Eligibility

You are eligible for the grant if:

  • your business is based in England
  • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

How to access the scheme

You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.

Find your local authority.

Fake Phishing Scams regarding Government Tax Break

Recently the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) reported a new trend in fraud related to Coronavirus, or COVID-19. If you get emails as illustrated below, please be very wary, they’re probably a scam.

Updated figures show there have been 105 reports to Action Fraud since 1 February 2020, with total losses reaching nearly £970,000.

The first report relating to Coronavirus, or COVID-19, was received on 9 February. There were 20 more reports that month. Since then, there have been 46 reports between the 1 March and 13 March, and 38 reports in just four days (14 March – 18 March).

More Info

Fake Phising Examples

Fake Corona Outbreak Map

A malicious website pretending to be the live map for Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins University is circulating on the internet waiting for unwitting internet users to visit the website. Visiting the website infects the user with the AZORult trojan, an information-stealing program which can exfiltrate a variety of sensitive data. It is likely being spread via infected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, and social engineering. Furthermore, anyone searching the internet for a Coronavirus map could unwittingly navigate to this malicious website.

End users should be warned about this cybersecurity risk and security teams should blacklist any indicators associated with this specific threat. IOCs and Analysis may be found

Corona Fake Map

 

Written by

Communications Director for Baltic Triangle CIC and Managing Director of Liverpool Digital Marketing company Easytech / Keep up to date with all Baltic related news on twitter

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