Coronavirus: a guide to business support for the tech ecosystem- Updated 27/03
In the face of coronavirus, many of us are looking at ways to safeguard our future. We’ve tried to collate all the information available into one space for you. Things will be changing all the time and we’ll be updating this page regularly as the Government provides more information and support.
Support for our community
The team at TechSPARK is here to offer any support and advice that we can, you can contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org. TechSPARK, as part of the TCGUK (Tech Cluster Group UK) is in contact with the government and feeding in ways in which they can support us.
Below we have detailed some of the packages announced by Government and how they could impact you
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Government has announced it will provide support to businesses around wages:
- All employers are eligible for the scheme.
- It’s only wages of people who aren’t working but are furloughed and kept on the payroll. We don’t know how you’ll show people are furloughed
- The grant will cover 80% of their salary and offer retained workers up to £2,500 a month
- It can be backdated to 1 March.
- Employers can top-up salaries if they wish
- There is no limit on funding and it’s open for at least three months.
- IT will be paid to businesses by the end of April
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
This scheme will offer access to lending and overdrafts for businesses affected by the current crisis. The government will provide the banks with a guarantee for 80% of funds loans so lenders have the confidence to still provide finance.
- Rates are 0% for the first 12 months
- This is still a commercial loan so needs repaying, will be assessed on your business and may require security for the remaining 20%
- The maximum amount to borrow is £5m
- Loans will be available from Monday 23rd March
- More info via the British Business Bank here
Business rates – £10,000 grants.
The Government has announced that many companies will not pay Business Rates in 2020-21. Most relevant to our sector is the £10,000 grants which will be given to up to 700,000 businesses in the UK.
- Grants of £10,000 will be awarded to businesses who are eligible for Small Business Rates Relief.
- This scheme is being run by local authorities and awards should happen without you having to apply if you have SBRR eligibility. Funding will come to councils in early April to do this.
- If you are in managed space you likely haven’t done this so you won’t be eligible.
- It’s possible your managed space provider has so worth checking in.
- More info here
Statutory Sick Pay
All SMEs will be able to reclaim statutory sick pay for employees affected by Corona however no system is yet in place for this so it may take weeks to months for money to come back.
- It’s for SMEs only (fewer than 250 employees)
- It’s for 2 weeks SSP per employee who are off because of Corona
- No sick note is needed just employer records
Self employed / Contractors / Freelancers
If you are self-employed Government offers support similar for employees
- You will receive a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly profit up to £2,500. You can still work through this time, unlike furloughed employees.
- it will initially be for 3 months but payment won’t be until June
- You need at least self-assessment return for 2019 & payment will be calculated using average monthly profits over the last three financial years
- The cut off is for self-employed profits of £50,000 p.a.
- If you are eligible HMRC will be in touch.
Some people won’t be eligible for the above. If so Government has said it will make it easier for you to claim Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credit at the rate of Statutory Sick Pay
- During the crisis, the Universal Credit minimum income floor will be relaxed if you are sick with Corona or self-isolating
- People can claim Universal Credit and access upfront payments without going to the jobcentre if they are self-isolating
- Employment & Support Allowance can be paid you’re sick with Corona or self-isolating from day 1 (instead of the usual day 8)
- Universal Credit has been increased by £1,000 a year for the next 12 months.
- All self-assessment payments for businesses will be deferred to 2021.
- Info on Employment and Support Allowance is here and Universal Credit here
Tax & VAT
Both business and self-employed can receive support from the HMRC time to pay scheme which means you can defer payments
- The Chancellor announced that he is deferring the next quarter of VAT payments. You now have until the end of the year to pay them
- HMRC will discuss instalments, suspensions of debt collection or cancelling interest
- They have a Corona hotline 0800 0159 559.
How you can help
To combat the coronavirus outbreak, the Government is looking to collaborate with startups who might be able to lend support and expertise in the following:
- If you can help with vaccines: Nervtag@phe.gov.uk
- If you are able to support in the manufacture of ventilators: email@example.com
- For any broader support or ideas to help with the response on innovation or tech: DNHSX@nhsx.nhs.uk
- There’s also the European Commission’s funding scheme for startups that could help in treating, testing, monitoring or other aspects of the Coronavirus outbreak. The deadline for which is today Friday 20 March at 5 pm.
As of 16.30 on 26/03/20, there have been 41 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Bristol. Please note, the Government has decided not to test people with mild symptoms. Local authority numbers of confirmed cases are reported on this dashboard and updated each afternoon.
The Quartet Foundation is also directing money to the communities in more need locally, you can donate here
Other Helpful links
- Business West have a new site called Trading through Corona with advice
- Our partners at Tech South West have released a Podcast on how businesses are reacting to the coronavirus outbreak, and the crucial role technology is playing to support them through the ongoing crisis. Listen here
- Enterprise Nation’s coronavirus support hub.
- Tech Nation has collated information on the government response alongside useful resources