The North East Growth Hub: Helping you access government support
By Colin Bell, Business Growth Director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
Over the last week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced an unprecedented raft of rescue measures to help businesses affected by Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
Here at the North East Growth Hub, we welcome these measures and are now focused on understanding the fuller details as they become available, in order to connect North East businesses with the financial and other packages that can help them at this challenging time.
We know that many of our local companies are experiencing lost income, reduced productivity and are worried about closing. We are doing everything in our power to work with central and local government, and our partners, to stop that from happening. We also recognise that many of the measures announced are limited for those with small limited businesses.
As a start, we know from the Chancellor that smaller businesses will shortly be able to apply to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. This will offer attractive terms and be available from a range of 40 accredited lenders this coming week to support SMEs to access bank lending and overdrafts.
Launching alongside this will be the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility, through which the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies. The intention is that this will also ease the supply of credit to all firms.
The self-employed will be able to access a Self-employment Income Support Scheme which will come into operation in June. HMRC will proactively contact all those who are eligible.
The Government’s COVID-19: Support for businesses website sets out further measures that can help business owners now. These include:
- A Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (offering a reimbursement of 80% of furloughed workers’ wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month)
- Support for businesses through deferring VAT and income tax payments (applicable from 20 March 2020 to 30 June 2020)
- A statutory sick pay relief for SMEs (for businesses employing fewer than 250 employees)
- Support for businesses that pay business rates (a business rates holiday for those in retail, hospitality and leisure)
- Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates (a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs)
- Support for businesses and self-employed people in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities through HMRC’s Time to Pay service
- Insurance. Businesses that have cover for pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered.
We will continue to collate at much advice and support as we can via the North East Growth Hub Coronavirus toolkit so you have access to the very latest information. We will also continue to provide direct one to one support to businesses.
Please continue to complete and share our short survey so we can understand how you’re being impacted and share this with government.
This is helping us inform the measures put in place to build business resilience and sustainability.
In it together
The North East is known for its collaborative spirit and resilience. Please be assured the North East LEP will continue to lead from the front and share valuable information so you can do what you can to keep your business moving forward and protect employees.
Please do use the North East Growth Hub toolkit, fill in the survey, sign up to our newsletter to receive regular updates and if needed, make a one to one virtual appointment with one of our Connectors. We are here to help.