Updated on 5 June 2020
The Government has announced a package of financial measures to support businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Businesses will be able to access some of this support through the council. Please read the information below to find out how to access support.
Cash grants support
More than £46million worth of business grants have been approved by Wirral Council so far, to keep local companies going through this crisis. If you have not applied, you still can.
There are three Covid-19 Business Grant Funding Schemes being administered by Wirral Council.
Discretionary Business Grants Fund
The application process for this fund, for certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme, opened on 5 June 2020. It is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs that can demonstrate they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the Covid-19 crisis.
The Government has prioritised certain groups for this fund, including B&Bs who pay council tax, those in shared workspaces, certain charity properties and regular market traders.
Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund
Business rates support
A 12-month business rates holiday has been confirmed for nurseries occupied by providers on Ofsted's Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage. Properties that have closed temporarily due to the government’s advice on COVID19 should be treated as occupied for the purposes of this relief. Government guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website.
A 12-month business rates holiday has been confirmed for retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England during the 2020-2021 tax year. Government guidance on the business uses in properties that will and will not benefit from the business rates relief can be found on GOV.uk
Wirral Council has issued revised bills to qualified ratepayers, confirming that they will not need to pay any rates for the year.
Bounce Back small business loans
This Government-backed loan scheme allows businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.
The loans are easy to apply for through a short, standardised online application. Loans should reach businesses within days – providing immediate support to those that need it as easily as possible.
Firms will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders. The government will work with lenders to ensure loans delivered through this scheme are advanced as quickly as possible and agree a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan. The application process is now open.
Job retention scheme
On 12 May the Chancellor announced that the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October. Furloughed workers across UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500.
The government’s step-by-step guide explains the information that employers need to provide to HMRC to make a claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. It also describes the processes involved.
Combined Authority Business support
Steve Rotheram, the Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region, has recently announced a £15m support package from existing Combined Authority projects to support businesses and the community and voluntary sector, including:
- £5m to support businesses to access national government funds and improve the survival rate of LCR businesses
- The launch of Sustain, a six-week programme of intensive support for 240 SMEs across all sectors
- The launch today of Gather, a programme offering free online support to Liverpool City Region SMEs working in the digital, creative and tech sector
- Mettle – an online business resilience programme, which will support 120 SMEs in the digital, creative and tech sector
- £400,000 to support micro-businesses and SMEs in the cultural sector
Support for self-employed workers
Self-employed workers can apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits, up to £2,500 a month, to help them cope with the financial impact of coronavirus.
People will be eligible if at least half their income has come from self-employment, as registered on the 2018-19 tax return filed in January. The scheme is open to self-employed people earning under £50,000 a year and payments will start in June.
HMRC will contact those that are eligible directly.
The coronavirus Future Fund
This scheme will issue convertible loans between £125,000 to £5 million to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak. Businesses will be eligible if they:
• are based in the UK
• can attract the equivalent match funding from third-party private investors and institutions
• have previously raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last 5 years
Government business support finder tool
This new ‘support finder’ tool will help businesses and self-employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic.
The finder tool on GOV.UK asks business owners to fill out a simple online questionnaire, and they will then be directed to a list of all the financial support they may be eligible for.
Restarting your business after coronavirus
It is vital to Wirral that our businesses get back to doing what they do best, working hard and building up our local economy.
We have developed a new toolkit to help you to reopen your business after coronavirus and get back on your feet after the lockdown.
You will be able to find the latest government guidance and what it means to your business, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and a back-to-work checklist of things to consider before re-opening your business. You will also find a selection of posters you can print and display to help your staff and customers visit safely.
Helpline for Wirral businesses
Further information is available from Wirral Chamber of Commerce which has opened a Business Support Helpline on 0151 650 6982 or by email to email@example.com.
For the latest Government updates on these measures, visit the COVID-19 support for businesses site.