Covid-19 guidance
Covid-19 guidance

Small Business Support

The Welsh Government has announced a package of support worth more than £200m for small businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.

Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less will receive 100% business rate relief and pubs with a rateable value of between £51,000 and £100,000 will receive a £5,000 reduction on their bill.

If this applies to you please contact Business Wales

Telephone helpline: 03000 603000

Small Business Grants

A further £100m will be available for a new grant scheme for small businesses Further details on this new grant scheme will be confirmed as soon as possible.

Development Bank of Wales

The bank has equity and loan funding that can be made available immediately to otherwise healthy small businesses to help them through the challenges they may face in the next few months. The Welsh Government has announced that all businesses supported by the Development bank of Wales will have a three-month capital repayment holiday.

If this may be of help please call 08005874140

Business Loans

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch next week to support primarily small and medium sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. In Wales this will be available to businesses through high street banks and the Development bank of Wales.

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 SMEs. The 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 government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments. Further details, including on the lenders providing access to this scheme will be announced in the coming days, and the scheme will be available from early week commencing 23 March 2020.

Government Supported Wages / Coronavirus job retention scheme

The UK Government will pay 80% of employees wages up to £2,500 a month backdated to March 1st and will be initially open for 3 months, to be extended if necessary. This will allow staff to be furloughed rather than laid off. Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of their workforce who remain on payroll but are temporarily not working during the coronavirus outbreak. Any employer in the country- small or large, charitable or non-profit will be eligible for the scheme.

VAT Relief

VAT payments due between now and the end of June will be deferred. No VAT registered business will have to make a VAT payment normally due with their VAT return to HMRC in that period. Income tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021, benefitting up to 5.7m self-employed businesses.

Mortgage Holidays

Mortgage lenders have agreed they will support customers that are experiencing issues with their finances as a result of Covid-19, including through payment holidays of up to 3 months. This will give people the necessary time to recover and ensure they do not have to pay a penny towards their mortgage in the interim.

More details of how this will be applied by banks and lenders can be found here.

Statutory Sick Pay

You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks and is subject to certain criteria.

If you’re self-isolating because of coronavirus you can get SSP if you’re eligible. You should tell your employer as soon as possible. If you’re self-isolating because of coronavirus you may claim SSP from the first full day you are in self isolation and cannot work. To claim please inform your employer.

SSP is paid by your employer in the same way as your normal wages, for example weekly or monthly.

If you have more than one job you may get SSP from each employer.

Tax and National Insurance will be deducted.

If you think you are not getting the right amount of SSP, talk to your employer. If you’re still not happy, contact the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) enquiry line.

If you are self-employed or not eligible to SSP

Anyone not eligible to receive sick pay, including those earning less than an average of £118 per week, some of those working in the gig economy is able to claim Universal Credit and or contributory Employment and Support Allowance.

To make a claim for universal credit click here

The minimum income floor for Universal credit has been temporarily relaxed for those affected by COVID 19

Self-employed workers will be able to apply for taxable grants to combat loss of income due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The grants will be worth up to 80% of your profits, capped at £2,500 per month. This will be calculated based on your tax returns for 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 if you were self-employed over that period.

If you became self-employed since April 2018, your 2018/19 tax return will be used instead. However, it’s worth noting that if you only have a few months’ self-employment on your 2018/19 tax return, this will be counted as your total profit for the year – the Government won’t pro-rata it based on your monthly profits.

This Self-employment Income Support Scheme’s expected to launch in June, with payments likely backdated to cover March, April and May. The scheme will operate across the UK and is set to last for at least three months, though this could be extended.

In order to apply for this help, the following must apply:

You must earn more than half of your total income from self-employment. This must have been the case for either your 2018/19 tax return or the average of your 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 tax returns (or both).

Your average annual trading profit must be less than £50,000. This is effectively a ‘cliff-edge’ requirement – so those whose average annual trading profit is £50,000 or more won’t be able to get any support from this scheme.

You must have filed a tax return for 2018/19. This means you must have been self-employed prior to 6 April 2019. If you were due to file a 2018-9 tax return but missed the deadline this year, you’ll have until 26 April to submit your tax return and then you can still access the scheme.

If you’re a director of a company and pay yourself a salary or dividends you won’t be covered by this scheme, but you could get support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for employees if you operate PAYE schemes.

Those who are eligible for the self-employment support scheme will be contacted by HMRC directly – the Government hasn’t said when this’ll be, only that it will happen “once the scheme is operational”. At that point you’ll be asked to fill in an online form, and the grant will then be paid directly into your bank account.

There’s no need to contact HMRC now as there’s nothing you can do to apply at this stage.

If you are eligible for help from this scheme, it’s unlikely you’ll see any cash in your bank account until June at the earliest, which for many will be a struggle.

In the meantime, you can try applying for a business interruption loan if eligible, or universal credit (for universal credit, the grant will be treated as earnings – but check if you can apply for support before it comes through). See more on other help for the self-employed below.

In addition, it may also be worth using money you have set aside for tax to cover immediate expenses until your grant comes through in June. This especially applies given the July self-assessment tax payment can be deferred until January 2021.

The UK Government has delayed the tax reform known as IR35 for a year which will be a boost for freelancers.

The standard rate in Universal credit and Tax Credits will be increased by £20 a week for one year from April 6th, meaning claimants will be up to £1040 better off than they would have otherwise been.

Nearly £1bn of additional support for renters, through increases in the generosity of housing benefit and Universal Credit. From April, Local Housing Allowance rates will pay for at least 30% of market rents in each area.

If you are an employer:

You may be able to reclaim SSP paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:


  • this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
  • employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of a business will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  • employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
  • the eligibility period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home comes into force.
  • the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.
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