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COVID-19 business support 


Monday, March 30, 2020

Business Secretary Alok Sharma has announced a relaxation of insolvency rules to allow companies more flexibility, particularly those which are restructuring, to give them continued access to supplies and raw materials. There will also be a temporary suspension of wrongful trading provisions for company directors to remove the threat of personal liability during the pandemic, which will apply retrospectively from March 1.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is continuing to hold a series of webinars focusing on business support during the Coronavirus lockdown. Last week’s Q&A with BCC Director General, Dr Adam Marshall, is available to view online. The next webinar takes place tomorrow (Tuesday) and will focus on international trade. Full details available here.

Friday, March 27, 2020

The Government has provided more information about how employers will claim money back through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, although the scheme is not yet live. Further details are available here.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Chancellor has announced a Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, whereby self-employed workers will be able to apply for a grant of 80% of their average monthly profit over the last three financial years, up to a maximum of £2,500.

To be eligible, self-employed workers must have a trading profit of up to a maximum of £50,000, already be in self-employment and have a tax return for 2019. They must also receive the majority of their income from self-employment.

The scheme will initially be available for three months but will be extended if necessary.

First payments are expected in June.

HMRC will automatically contact self-employed workers who are eligible for grants and the money will be paid directly into their bank accounts.

The Chancellor also announced he would extend the deadline for filing tax returns, which were due in January, for another four weeks.

More information is available online here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

A one-stop Government website is now available detailing all the available Coronavirus business support: click here for more information.

Businesses dealing with the impacts of Coronavirus can now get a three months extension to file their accounts with Companies House with no late penalty to pay: more details here.

Today it has been announced that some of the exclusions for the Business Rates Retail Discount will now be eligible for the relief, including estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls: full information here.

An updated ‘essential businesses’ list has been issued by Government and now also includes off-licences: details here.

Monday, March 23, 2020

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme has gone live today. All the latest updates and full information is available from the British Business Bank online here.

Somerset Chamber of Commerce will be supporting local business throughout the Coronavirus crisis.   

Businesses across the UK are suffering as a direct result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Somerset Chamber is here to offer help and support – signposting key official guidance from Government for employees, employers and businesses.

We will update this page regularly as soon as information becomes available on how and where to apply for financial support, whether that is business rates relief and grants, or advice on tax, cashflow and employee welfare

We are working with our members to run remote, online workshops to provide professional and expert advice for businesses on topics such as HR, remote-working and financial support. Please see our Chamber events page for more information.

Our Chief Executive, Stephen Henagulph, is also holding a daily web conference at 10am every morning to discuss the latest developments and support packages available to businesses across Somerset. To join the call, please email Alistair Tudor at for dial-in details.

Your guide to Government-led business and employee support, advice and grants

The Government has set out a package of temporary and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses. This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:

  • A Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • A Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank

More information, including grant eligibility criteria and how to apply, as well as additional key business advice and support from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Public Health England, is available online here.  It also includes:

  • Support for businesses which are paying sick pay to employees
  • Support for businesses that pay business rates
  • Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates
  • Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
  • Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility
  • Support for businesses paying tax
  • Insurance information
  • The dedicated Government Coronavirus help pages can be found here. The site includes guidance for both employers and businesses, including symptoms, travel advice, sick pay, how to certify absence from work, employees having to take time off to care for relatives, limiting the spread in the workplace and handling post.
  • The Government has set up a dedicated Business Support Helpline – 0300 456 3565 – to enable businesses to find the right help and support across a wide range of topics, from business rates relief, grants and employee advice.
  • HMRC COVID-19 Helpline 0800 0159 559 is available to support businesses and self-employed people who are worried about paying their tax bills due to Coronavirus.
  • Information about automatic, three months VAT referral is available here.
  • Specific Government advice for employees can be found here and includes information about staying at home, working from home and sick pay.
  • The Government list of ‘key workers’ – those who can keep their children at school or college – can be found online here.
  • Apprenticeships guidance for apprentices, employers and assessment organisations is available here.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The scheme will temporarily replace the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG). All the latest updates and full information is available from the British Business Bank online here.

British Chambers of Commerce Coronavirus Hub

The BCC has a dedicated site with the latest COVID-19 advice for business. It can be found here.

Additional information

Our members specialise in a wide range of  industries and disciplines and many are offering free support and advice on a range of Coronavirus-related topics. More information can be found on our members’ Coronavirus news pages by clicking here.

Chamber Contact

For more info please contact:

Alistair Tudor

Operations Manager

Tel: 01823 444924

Email Alistair >


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