Covid-19 Industry Updates

The coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on everyone in our industry. While the pandemic is ongoing, the BBSA will update this webpage with guidance from our partners and reliable third-party sources so everyone in the industry has all of the information they need in one place. This government hub helps businesses find the support which is most relevant to them and how to apply.

Updated: October 6, 2020

Business Support

  • Business rates relief

A business rates holiday has been introduced to ease the pressure on employers. If your business is classified as being in the retail sector from a rates point of view, this holiday will be arranged by your local authority.

These links contain further information on how the relief on offer differs in England, ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland. You can check the rates for your business and see whether you are eligible here.

  • Grant funding

A one-off grant up £10,000 is available for small businesses with small business rate relief or rural rate relief. There is also grant funding of up to £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property which has a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000, in England.

Please refer to the links contained in the ‘Business rates relief’ section for more information on how this differs in Scotland and Wales. There is a different scheme in Northern Ireland, the details of which can be seen here.

In England, businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of £15,000 and under can receive a grant of £10,000.

For more information please visit your local authority website.

  • VAT deferral

The VAT payment deferral period ended on June 30, 2020. This means you’ll need to:

  • Set-up cancelled direct debits in enough time for HMRC to take payment
  • Submit VAT returns as normal, and on time
  • Pay the VAT in full on payments due after June 30

On September 24, it was announced that businesses which deferred VAT payments due from March 20 to June 30 will have the option to pay in smaller payments over a longer period.

Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, smaller payments can be made up to the end of March 2022, interest free.

It is necessary to opt-in to the scheme. Click here for more information.

  • 'Bounce back' loan scheme

Small and medium-sized businesses can apply for a loan of up to £50,000 from the government.

You can apply if your business is based in the UK, has been impacted negatively by coronavirus and has not been an 'undertaking in difficulty' since December 31, 2019.

The loans are 100% guaranteed by the government and there are no fees or interest for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year.

Loan terms will be up to six years and no repayments will be due in the first 12 months.

Read more here.

  • Business interruption loan scheme

Loans of up to £5 million for small and medium enterprises are available to UK businesses which have an annual turnover of less than £45 million. The scheme is open via major banks now. The BBSA's partner Citation has more information on this scheme here.

Self-employed

Taxable grants worth up to 80% of profits, capped at £2,500 for three months are available. It is open to those who receive more than half of their income from self-employment.

More information on eligibility is here

Employment Support

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The furlough scheme is available to all employers and will run until the end of October with the governement contributing to 60% of an employee's wages. Employers must top this up to at least 80% and pay NI and pension contributions.

To claim, employers must send information to HMRC about employees that have been furloughed, and their earnings, through a portal which you can access here

The government contribution is capped at £2,500 per employee per month and can include anyone laid off after February 28, 2020.  Full-time and part-time employees qualify, as well as those on zero-hour and agency contracts.

Companies will need to designate employees as furloughed and notify them of that in writing. Members of the BBSA are able to request a copy of a draft furlough letter produced by the association's lawyers, Chadwick Lawrence, by emailing info@bbsa.org.uk.

You can see the latest information on the scheme from Chadwick Lawrence here.

Annual leave can be taken while furloughed without bringing the furlough period to an end. Employers can claim the usual 80% of wages on days of annual leave, but they must top up the employee's pay to 100% in line with the Working Time Regulations. More information is available here.

  • SSP payments

Emergency legislation introduced on March 13, 2020 states anyone who is self-isolating to avoid spreading coronavirus and cannot work as a result, must be paid statutory sick pay (SSP). This will apply for a period of eight months.

Further legislation means SSP will need to be paid from the first day of sickness absence. If homeworking during self-isolation, full pay will need to be maintained. 

Two weeks of SSP per sick employee will be able to be recovered by businesses which have fewer than 250 employees (as of February 28).

A new package announced to enforce self-isolation means people who are having to self-isolate and are on lower incomes and cannot work from home will receive a £500 payment. Read more here.

Industry specific guidance

  • Deposits

The BBSA has received some guidance from Trading Standards regarding customer deposits in the current situation. This advice is only available to members and is available from eshots which have been previously sent out or by emailing info@bbsa.org.uk.

Please be aware that this is not assured advice so it is not legally binding. The guidance is based on existing legislation and is in a question and answer format.

  • Lead times assured advice

The BBSA has received assured advice from Trading Standards regarding the impact of COVID-19 on lead times.

Again, this advice is only available to members and is available from eshots which have been previously sent out or by emailing info@bbsa.org.uk.

Remember, even though the situation is changing all the time, try to keep your customers informed as best you can.

  • Guidance on manufacturing, construction, retail and working in other people's home across the UK and Eire.

The BBSA is regularly updating its Covid-19 regulations document which contains all of the latest guidelines for working in our industry. Members are advised to check our eshots, visit the member-only Facebook page or email info@bbsa.org.uk to view this.

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