Coronavirus (COVID-19) : advice to businesses and the self-employed

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As of 19 July, we have moved to Step 4 of the government roadmap out of lockdown.

All remaining closed businesses and venues such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues will be able to reopen.

All capacity limits at sporting, entertainment, or business events will be lifted.

Hospitality venues such as pubs, restaurants and bars will no longer be required to provide table service or follow other social distancing rules.

All businesses should follow the principles set out in the working safely guidance. Whilst the Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, the Government would expect and recommend a gradual return over the summer.

Employers will still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business. The way to do this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify

Support finder tool Click to get info

  • The government has launched a search tool for businesses and the self-employed to understand what support is available to them, based on their circumstances.
  • The tool asks a series of straight forward questions to provide a summary of coronavirus financial support for your business.

Business rate relief Click to get info

  • A 66% exemption is now being applied until the end of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022) - up to a total value of £2 million.
  • Eligible businesses have had these new reliefs automatically applied and new bills sent.
  • If you have not been notified and think you are eligible please apply online.

Business loans Click to get info

  • The Recovery Loan Scheme supports access to finance for UK businesses as they grow and recover from the pandemic, with loans and other products of between £1,000 and £10m.
  • Alternative funds that small businesses and social enterprises may apply for, in order to mitigate their financial losses during the Covid-19.

Help paying staff Click to get info

  • With the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employers can claim for some of their employee’s wages if they have put them on furlough or flexible furlough because of coronavirus (COVID-19). 
  • The Kickstart Scheme provides 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions, for new 6 month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit.
  • Help from our Apprenticeship Team: We offer a free consultation to levy paying employers on how they can benefit from apprenticeships, financial incentives available and advise on the best type of apprenticeship training for their company. Our Apprenticeships Team may be contacted on apprenticeships.als@walthamforest.gov.uk and we will respond within 24 hrs.

Commercial property Click to get info

  • The government has announced an extension of the protection from eviction for commercial firms, due to end 30 June, to March 2022, as well as legislation to ring fence outstanding unpaid rent built up when mandated to be closed.
  • If you are a commercial tenant of the council, please contact us to discuss your situation if you are facing difficulties: propertyenquiries@walthamforest.gov.uk

Sick pay Click to get info

  • UK employers can access Statutory Sick Pay for employees advised to self-isolate or are caring for someone else who has.
  • The Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has advice for businesses on dealing with a range of employment issues including staff absence, homeworking, staff presenting symptoms, closing premises and staff lay-offs.

Remaining safe when open Click to get info

  • Online resources from a range of other organisations.
  • The government has launched a search tool for businesses and the self-employed to understand what support is available to them, based on their circumstances.
  • Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations are providing coronavirus related support for specific sectors.
  • The Help to Grow scheme will provide access management training, technology advice and discounted software to improve productivity. The scheme will launch later this year and businesses can register their interest.
  • The Save the High Street – Waltham Forest programme has finished but you can still watch a catalogue of free webinars.

Stay in touch Click to get info