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UPDATED INFORMATION Covid-19 Hitchin Business Support 27/3/2020
Business grants - North Herts District Council
North Herts District Council are about to launch the application form which should be available next week. The Council will be contacting those that qualify shortly, and I have sent them your email address to make this process more efficient. The grants are available for businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector. I will contact you all as soon as this process starts.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least three months starting from 1 March 2020. We expect the scheme to be up and running by the end of April. It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
Employers can use a portal to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage. Employers can use this scheme anytime during this period.
The scheme is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 28 February 2020.
Furloughed employees must have been on your PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020, and can be on any type of contract, including:
  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • employees on agency contracts
  • employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts

Any UK organisation with employees can apply, including:
  • businesses
  • charities
  • recruitment agencies (agency workers paid through PAYE)
  • public authorities

Please follow this link for more information 
A message from MP Bim Afolami - Support for the self-employed
"Earlier this week, in the House of Commons I urged the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to take a broad approach in its financial support for self-employed people in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. Yesterday, the Chancellor announced a new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme - helping many of the musicians, sound engineers, plumbers, electricians, taxi drivers, hairdressers, childminders, driving instructors and many other self-employed people in our constituency and across the country.

Through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, the Government will:

Pay self-employed people across the whole UK who have been adversely affected by Coronavirus a grant worth 80 per cent of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month, for three months – this will be extended for longer if necessary. 

Make it simpler for self-employed people to get the financial support they need. Self-employed people who are eligible will be contacted by HMRC directly, asked to fill out a simple online form, and HMRC will pay the grant directly into their bank account. They expect people to access the scheme by the beginning of June.

Will ensure support reaches those self-employed people who are most in need of it. The scheme will only be open to those with trading profits up to £50,000, leaving 95 per cent of people who are majority self-employed eligible for the scheme. HMRC will also ask people to demonstrate that the majority of their income comes from self-employment, and, to minimise fraud, only those who are already in self-employment, and who have a tax return for 2019, will be able to apply.

This builds on the support that is already available to self-employed people:

Many will be able to access loans through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme. This scheme provides loans of up to £5 million, which will be interest free for twelve months.

It will be quicker and easier to access benefits. Those on contributory ESA will be able to claim from day 1, instead of day 8. They are relaxing the requirement for anyone to physically attend a job centre – everything can be done by phone or online.   

The minimum income floor will be suspended for twelve months – meaning self-employed people can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate that is equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees.

Income tax self-assessment payments will be deferred for July until the end of January 2021. 

Support for Businesses
I know how tough it is for all businesses right now, large or small.  I am working very closely with the Government, and am committed to supporting you through this crisis. Last week the Chancellor and Prime Minister made it clear that the Government will stand behind every business and employee that is affected by Coronavirus. These are unprecedented measures: For the first time in our history, the British Government is going to step in and help pay people’s wages. 

The Government is stepping in and helping pay people’s wages

Deferring the next three months of VAT tax, a direct injection of over £30 billion of cash to employers. 
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will now be interest free for twelve months.

No business in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector will pay any Business Rates for 12 months. 

Supporting small and medium-sized businesses to cope with the extra costs of paying Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) "

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