Coronavirus

Please see our coronavirus pages for the latest guidance, how services are affected, and what help is available.

Coronavirus resources for businesses

This webpage will be updated regularly with information as it becomes available from Central Government and other organisations. Information correct as of 24 March 2020. Updated 15 May 2020

Your first port of call: Thames Valley Growth Hub

Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership are re-allocating resources to support additional advisors and support via the local Thames Valley Growth Hub.

Up to date business support information will be posted on their Berkshire Business Growth Hub website.

Support from Central Government

Government guidance for businesses:

  • In the Budget (11 March 2020) the Chancellor announced a package of measures to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses to ensure the impact of COVID-19 is minimised. He subsequently announced further support for businesses and individuals on 20 March 2020.
  • It is likely further announcements will be made and we recommend you regularly check this and other sources for updates and further support that may become available to you.
  • The GOV.UK guidance for employers and businesses website is being updated regularly with the latest announcements
  • 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

Business support finder

Government support for the self-employed

  • The Self-employment Income Support scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19). See the Government website for information on the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and their Self-Employed FAQs pages.

Bounce Back Loans Scheme

  • Launched 4 May 2020, Bounce Back Loans scheme will allow businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.
  • Bounce Back Loans target small and micro businesses in all sectors, providing loans from £2,000 up to 25% of the business’ turnover with a maximum loan of £50,000.
  • Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.
  • The Government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.
  • The length of the loan is for six years but early repayment is allowed, without early repayment fees.
  • The government has set the interest rate for this facility at 2.5% per annum, meaning businesses will all benefit from the same, low rate of interest.
  • Eligibility criteria: Businesses from all sectors can apply. A business must be:
    • UK-based in its business activity, and established by 1 March 2020
    • adversely impacted by the Coronavirus (Covid-19)
    • not currently using a government-backed Coronavirus loan scheme (unless using BBLS to refinance a whole facility)
    • not in bankruptcy, liquidation or undergoing debt restructuring
  • How to apply: Businesses should check the British Business Bank website to find out which lenders provide Bounce Back Loans. Businesses will be required to fill in a short online application form on their lender’s website, which self-certifies whether they are eligible for a Bounce Back Loan facility. You can find useful FAQs on the scheme.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

  • A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees.
  • Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as the Government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.
  • Find out more via the British Business Bank.
  • Many banks are offering this service on behalf of the British Business Bank and you may want to contact your business bank for information.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now open for applications.
  • 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 the crisis.
  • HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
  • Please note HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement.
  • Find out further details via the support for businesses pages on GOV.UK

Statutory 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.
  • A rebate scheme is being developed.
  • Further details will be available from the Government in due course.
  • Find out more about the government support for statutory sick pay on GOV.UK
  • It is likely that this will be returned via your normal payroll system. We will update you as soon as this information becomes clear.

HMRC Time to Pay and Helpline

  • A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs.
  • Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement.
  • If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559 or visit the HMRC website.
  • VAT Payments that would fall due end of March have been delayed until June 2020.
  • Self-Assessment payments on account (originally scheduled for 31 July 2020), have been moved to January 2021 now.
  • Find out more via the support for businesses pages on GOV.UK

Temporary Business Rates Discount:

  • The government is introducing a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality, nursery and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
  • Once the revised expanded retail discount scheme has been applied revised bills will be sent out to all affected direct debit payers.

Grants for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses:   

  • A £25,000 grant will also be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
  • For more information and how to apply, please go to coronavirus and business rates

Small business grant

  • There will be a £10,000 cash grant to small businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief or rural rate relief.
  • For more information and how to apply, please go to coronavirus and business rates

Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

  • Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.
  • This will support larger firms if they have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze and allow them to finance short term liabilities.
  • The scheme will be available in the week beginning 23 March 2020.
  • More information on the Corporate Financing Facility can be found via the Bank of England.

Insurance

  • The Government advised on 17 March 2020 that the insurance industry should be providing sufficient cover if businesses have cover for both pandemics and the government ordered closure should also be covered.
  • Our understanding is that in this case it should be sufficient to make a claim as long as all other terms and conditions are met.
  • Businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their insurance providers to see if they can make a claim.

Relaxation of ‘Change of Use’ Planning Rules to Enable Provision of Takeaway Services:

Planning rules have been relaxed so that pubs, restaurants, cafes and others can operate takeaway services during the coronavirus outbreak should they wish to do so.

  • Ordinarily planning permission is required for businesses to carry out a change of use to a hot food takeaway.
  • The government has confirmed regulations will be relaxed to enable businesses to deliver this service without a planning application.
  • The move to allow the temporary change of use of a pub (A4 - drinking establishment) and a restaurant (A3 – restaurants and cafes) to a hot-food take away is for a period of up to 12 months only.

Coronavirus Future Fund

  • A new Billion pound support package for innovative firms hit by Coronavirus. The package includes a £500 million investment fund for high-growth companies impacted by the crisis, made up of funding from the government and the private sector. SMEs focusing on research and development will also benefit from £750 million of grants and loans.
  • More details and how to apply on the coronavirus Future Fund website.

Discretionary Grant Fund Scheme

  • The new fund is aimed at businesses that were not eligible to claim the initial government COVID-19 grants linked to rates relief.
  • We are currently using the criteria provided by government to set up a user-friendly application system.
  • Eligibility criteria:
    • Small and micro businesses, as defined in Section 33 Part 2 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and the Companies Act 2006
    • Businesses with relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs
    • Businesses that can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis
    • Businesses which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.
  • The funding is limited, we will need to prioritise sectors and businesses who are most in need.
  • This grant funding will be for businesses that are not eligible for other support schemes.
  • Only businesses which were trading on 11 March 2020 will be eligible for this scheme.
  • Funds received will be subject to tax. Only businesses which make an overall profit once grant income is included will be subject to tax.
  • Businesses who have applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are eligible to apply for this scheme.

Further support from Slough Borough Council:

Rent / Property

Planning

  • If you have submitted a planning application for a commercial property and have concerns about potential delays for the decisions, please contact the Council by completing the online form here.

Other useful information:

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce have set up a central resource page.
You can keep up to date with their latest advice on @TValleyChamber

FSB information for small businesses

FSB has produced an advice and guidance note for small businesses and the self-employed. Find out more on the FSB website.

Learning to Work

Learning to Work is a not-for-profit organisation with charitable status that prepares young people for the world of work through Careers Guidance, Work Experience and employer led events and activities.

Find out more on the Learning to Work website or you  can contact them by email on info@learningtowork.org.uk, by telephone on 01753 376264 or make an online enquiry via their website form.

Slough Aspire

Is an innovative training and events venue with a social enterprise mission to enable the local talent pool to develop the skills relevant to local business.

In line with Government advice the Aspire Centre is temporarily closed. However the team is working behind the scenes to support the local business and resident communities and you can find out more useful information on their social media feeds (twitter, Facebook and Linked In) or subscribe to their mailing list. You can also visit the Slough Aspire website and visit their useful guide on the coronavirus.

Slough Business Community Partnership

Is a not-for-profit organisation that facilitates the creation of partnerships between the private, public and voluntary sectors for the benefit of the communities of Slough.

The organisation is continuing its work with and support for local groups/organisations during the coronavirus crisis to provide coordinated support to the community.

Whilst the team are working remotely you can still contact them by phone on 01753 536 155 or by email on info@sbcp.co.uk or visit their website for updates.

Windsor Forest Colleges Group

The Windsor Forest Colleges Group includes Langley College, Strode’s College and Windsor College. In line with Government advice the college buildings are now temporarily closed.

The colleges have set up home working systems as a response to the Coronavirus. You can read more here on the colleges website and keep up to date with their latest news on how they are responding to the coronavirus here.

ACAS information for employees and employers

  • ACAS has published information for employees and employers, including simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff during this time. Find out more on the ACAS website.

Companies House