Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice and support for local businesses
We’re doing everything we can to support our amazing local businesses in Hammersmith, Fulham, Shepherds Bush and West Kensington during these challenging times. It forms part of the work we’re doing as a council to protect all our residents, both young and old, in this crisis.
- Provided a three-month rent holiday to our commercial tenants and market traders in the borough.
- Helped keep our popular North End Road market open by providing stewards to support social distancing. We’ve also delivered PPE and handwashing facilities to the traders so we can keep this important source of healthy, cheap food available to residents.
- We’ve shared stay at homes and safe distancing posters with local businesses to help them keep their employees and customers safe.
- Our Business Helpdesk has remained open to help with any business advice or support you need. Contact our H&F Business Helpdesk via email or call 020 8753 5585.
- Our 1-2-1 business advice clinics are still on but these sessions will now be delivered online or by phone due to public health guidelines. If you are not on our mailing list for the advice clinics please email Michael Farquharson and he will add you to our database.
- We’re running all our scheduled Enterprise Club sessions through webinars.
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Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) which will give you all the information you need to help run your business during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
- Which businesses have the Government asked to remain closed to help stop the spread of the coronavirus?
You can find the list of businesses on the GOV.UK website.
- How can I protect my business, customers and employees?
All the public health guidelines to give your staff, including what to do if an employee suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been to work, can be found on the GOV.UK guidance for employers and businesses page.
- I don’t want any of my employees to lose their job. How do I access the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?
First you need to designate your affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.
Then you need to submit information to HMRC via a new online portal. HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
HMRC are currently setting up the new reimbursement system.
- Do I qualify for the new business rates holiday?
All retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England qualify for the business rates holiday for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Find out if you qualify.
This will not be reflected in your initial business rates bill which went out before the new measures were announced. Our business rates team will send all qualifying businesses an amended bill shortly.
Nurseries will now be eligible for a business rates holiday for one year. That means non-local authority providers of childcare will pay no business rates in 2020-21, from 1 April.
Our bills were produced before this announcement, so this change is not reflected in your initial bill. An amended bill will be issued shortly to any qualifying business.
For our direct debit customers, we are currently in the process of looking to suspend April payments while we await further guidance from the Government.
- Does my business qualify for the Business Support Grant Funding from the Government?
Under the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF), all businesses in England in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) in the business rates system will be eligible for a payment of £10,000.
Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG), businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for the following cash grants per property:
- eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000
- eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
Please note that businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme.
Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in this scheme.
We are working as quickly as we can on the Business Support Grant Funding and we hope to have the scheme in place very soon. We will pay the grant directly to the qualifying businesses FREE of charge. You may be contacted by companies offering to secure the grant for you. Approach this option with caution, you are likely to be charged an administration fee.
In order to ensure prompt payment to eligible businesses, we are asking that you ensure that your up-to-date bank account details and address is provided to our Business Rate department by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
This will help us to ensure that you receive your funding quickly.
- I run a pub, restaurant or cafe and would like to operate as a takeaway business. What do I need to do?
- How do I reclaim for the sick pay I give my employees off work due to COVID-19?
The Government will provide an update soon to employers. More information is available on the GOV.UK COVID-19 support for businesses page.
- I need money to pay my staff and overheads. How do I apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme?
A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is being delivered by the British Business Bank. More information on the scheme is available on the British Business Bank website. Contact your bank as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them.
- I’m worried I won’t be able to pay my taxes?
If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559.
Businesses will not need to make VAT payments for three months. The deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.
Self-employed people are eligible for the Income Tax Self-Assessment deferral. Payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.
- Will my insurance cover protect my business during the coronavirus outbreak?
Check the terms and conditions of your insurance policy and contact your insurance provider for more details.
- How do larger firms get help for short-term finance issues?
All UK businesses can apply for the Government’s COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility. We’re awaiting details from the Government on how businesses will be able to apply for the funding. Visit the Bank of England website for more information.
- Where can I find more information on the Government’s business support measures?
More information is available on GOV.UK's guidance page for employees, employers and businesses.
- I want to get some business resilience advice. What do I need to do?
If you’re an established business of 18 months plus or self-employed with an Unique Tax Reference (UTR) and are looking for some in-depth 1-2-1 business resilience advice, please contact our resident business advisor Raj Tandon via email for an online support session.
Business resilience is also available with Simon Rae-Scott. Email to book an online session.
- I need to close my business. How do I suspend my commercial waste collections?
Commercial waste collections continue to take place for businesses that remain open. If your businesses is unable to open, we will suspend collections and charges. Please contact email@example.com if you need to suspend your collections.
Businesses which have waste containers that cannot be securely stored during any period of suspension should let us know by email so we can remove the containers and return them when you reopen. Collection charges will remain at 2019/20 levels at this time to help businesses that remain open.
Additional support can be found here:
- Business support from London Mayor Sadiq Khan
- Facebook Small Business Grants Program
- Free crowdfunding support
- Met Police COVID-19 advice for businesses
Read more on the coronavirus outbreak: