For members in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland it is advisable to keep updated on the latest government advice from your devolved government websites.
- For Scottish Government updates click here.
- For Welsh Government updates click here.
- For Northern Irish Executive updates click here.
The latest comments from the Scottish Government +
The Government is continuing to provide guidance to businesses in Scotland and as measurements currently in place can change quickly it’s best practice to check with the governments guidance which can be found online here.
The Scottish Government will continue to work closely with the UK, Wales and Northern Ireland as part of a coordinated response.
Retail support - updated 26.05.2020
Guidance for the Scottish retail sector including procedures for staff and customer safety and an operations checklist.
Following representations from SRC, Scottish Ministers have modified their proposed approach and will allow all retailers, not just small stores, to open up to 800m squared of sales area from ‘Phase 2’ of their lockdown exit plan.
Key points from the guidance:
Devolved governments – Scotland
The emergency package for retail businesses in Scotland include:
For more details visit www.gov.scot
Coronavirus (COVID-19): coordinating offers of help from businesses - 24.03.2020
Businesses, third sector or voluntary organisations who wish to offer support should email firstname.lastname@example.org with details such as:
1 billion Business Support Fund Opens - 24.03.2020
"Small businesses in receipt of the small business bonus scheme or rural relief, as well as hospitality, leisure and retail business can benefit.
Two types of grant are now available to ratepayers:
• a one-off £10,000 grant to ratepayers of small businesses
• a one-off grant of £25,000 available to retail, hospitality and leisure business ratepayers with a rateable value between £18,001 and £50,999
The list is not exhaustive and if businesses think they may be eligible for one of these grants, they should contact their local authority, which are administering the scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government."
Call for action to help self-employed - 24.03.2020
Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop and Finance Secretary Kate Forbes have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak calling for the Jobs Retention Scheme he announced last week to be expanded to include the self-employed.
They also appealed for a change in the rules to enable more people to access statutory sick pay.
Effective ‘lockdown’ to be introduced 23/03/2020
"The First Minister reiterated guidance of the Scottish Government for people to stay home and only venture outside when absolutely necessary. In line with existing advice, non-essential retail units are now required to close and shopping for basic necessities kept to a minimum."
First Minister COVID-19 update 22/03/2020
“Don’t go shopping except for essentials like food and medicine – and when you do please keep a safe distance of 2 meters from others.
Shops that have to remain open should be ensuring responsible social distancing.”
“To businesses, please follow the rules and support your employees to do so too.
Unprecedented support is rightly being made available to you to ensure that wages can still be paid even if your employees are not at work.
You should not be asking people to come to work if they have symptoms or if they’re in a household with someone with symptoms.
And you should be supporting people to work at home wherever possible.”
First Minister COVID-19 update 20/03/2020
“There is disruption for businesses right now across the economy. This is an unimaginably difficult time for businesses and for employers and for those that work across our economy.
My message to businesses large and small is that we know this is difficult, we know times are hard, are we will do everything we can to help you.
Earlier this morning I chaired a Cabinet Sub-Committee of my Economy Ministers to discuss the Government’s economic response.
We have already made £2.2 billion available through business rates support and grants.
In the coming days and weeks we will be expanding what is called our PACE system which helps those who become unemployed into alternative jobs. We know that there are sectors right now, the supermarket sector, that are expanding and seeking to employ more workers.
We will also use our procurement systems and government contracts to keep financial support flowing to companies, and we will be asking local government to do the same…
More help is also needed for those who are self-employed or on temporary or zero hours contracts who might not get the full benefit of other UK measures if support is provided through tax or national insurance systems alone.
And as we do everything we can to help business, and we are determined to do that, business also has a role to play in helping us to take on the challenge of this virus.
So I asking businesses to treat your workers fairly and to respect the health advice.
Do not make your employees come to work when the health advice says they should be in isolation, and don’t make them come to work when they can work safely at home.
Everyone, of course, thinks their staff should be defined as key workers – I understand that and some, of course, will be right. But if your staff can work from home then you should let them do that.
Finally, I want to thank the vast majority of people who have been sensible in their shopping habits this week – and also to the supermarkets who have taken steps to ensure that supplies get to those who need them, particularly the more vulnerable members of our communities.
I know that some people have felt the need to stockpile certain items – but my clear advice is do not do that. There is no need to do that.
If everyone remains sensible in their shopping, then there is more than enough to go round. Supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open and supplies will continue to get them.
And while it is tempting to get everything from the supermarket – your support for local businesses at this time can also be a lifeline to them.”
18.03.2020 – £2.2 billion for business
Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has addressed the Scottish Parliament on the economic impact of COVID-19 in Scotland.
In her statement she warned that as a result of coronavirus, the Scottish economy is facing an immediate collapse in demand.
She outlined the actions being taken by the Scottish Government to support businesses including a package of measures worth £2.2 billion from 1 April:
- a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism
- £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief
- £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000
- 1.6% relief for all properties, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year
- First Minister to convene an emergency meeting of the Financial Services Advisory Board
- urging local authorities to relax planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate temporarily as takeaways
- extending the go live date for the deposit return scheme to July 2022
- halting the introduction of the Visitor Levy Bill
The £2.2 billion package of support for business supersedes the £320 million package announced on 14 March and includes an additional £1.9 billion of increased support following the Chancellor’s announcement on 17 March.
The latest comments from the Welsh Government +
The Welsh government is providing advice and guidance for businesses which can be found here. As the situation continues to change, we recommend continuing to check government guidelines either in this area on the government’s website.
19.05.2020 - Unlocking our society and economy: Wales’ roadmap published
Government guidance on how lockdown restrictions will be lifted
24.03.202 - Coronavirus (COVID 19): closure of businesses and premises
Government guidance regarding the closure of businesses and premises.
20.03.2020 – Coronavirus (COVID-19): Support for businesses
Retail businesses can get support to help during the disturbance caused by coronavirus.
Business rate relief
Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses
You will get one year business rates relief in 2020 to 2021. This means that you will not have to pay any business rates during this time.
This will be administered through the business rates system. You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will contact you.
Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £12,001 and £51,000 will get a grant of £25,000
Businesses with a rateable value of £12,000 or less
All businesses that are eligible for Small Business Rates Relief will get a grant of £10,000.
How to apply
You do not need to do anything to apply for the grant. This will be administered through the business rates system. You do not need to contact your local authority. They will contact you.
New Small Business grant
Business will be able to apply for a new business grant. Details about how to apply will be available shortly.
Business Interruption loan scheme
The UK government has set up a new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Small and medium sized (SMEs) businesses will be able to apply for bank loans and overdrafts.
The UK government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SME’s. The UK government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.
Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as UK government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.
How to apply
Further details, including on the lenders providing access to this scheme will be announced I the coming days, and the scheme will be available from early week commencing 23 March 2020.
For additional support for your business on Business Wales, or phone 03000 6 03000.
Get grants, loans and investment for your business on Development Bank of Wales, or phone 0800 587 4140.
The latest comments from the Northern Ireland Government+
For guidance from the Northern Irish Executive visit https://www.northernireland.gov.uk/ which will continue to work closely with the UK government, Scottish and Welsh government on their response to the coronavirus.
19.05.2020 - Murphy announces further £213m business rates support
Finance Minister Conor Murphy announces further £213m business rates support
22.03.2020 – Finance Minister, Conor Murphy has written to the chancellor Rishi Sunak urging him to support all workers impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.
“I very much welcome the announcement of a scheme to subsidise the payroll costs of businesses. This has reassured many people that their jobs and livelihoods will be sustained during this unprecedented health crisis.
“However many workers, including sole traders, the self-employed, people on zero hour contracts, and agency workers fall outside the scope of the scheme. This is causing huge anxiety and I urge you to take urgent action to support them also.”
Continue to check the Northern Irish Executive for the latest information here. https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/campaign/coronavirus-updates-support-your-business
Chambers of Commerce
The British Chambers of Commerce are also providing support to businesses. You can access the British Chambers of Commerce website here.
You can also contact your local chamber of commerce here.
Business Support groups and organisations
Independent retailers have access to various business support groups, both regionally and on a national scale.
Bira have put together a business support package which can be found here.
You can also join your own community groups and by looking online and on social media.
Another suggestion would be looking at your local Chamber of Commerce for support which can be found here. https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/