Chamber fighting for answers on your behalf

March 19, 2020

At a time of disruption, we know that businesses need clear, actionable information in order to take critical decisions. The Chamber team is committed to getting answers for Chamber members, and to ensuring that we are representing the needs of our business communities at the heart of government.

Our priority is to ensure that businesses get clear, actionable information at speed in order to make critical decisions – and that government takes action on the pressing, real world needs of our business communities.

We are making this point relentlessly right at the very top. Over the past three days, in conjunction with senior British Chambers personnel we have been in constant contact with Downing Street, with senior Cabinet Ministers, with the Governor of the Bank of England, and with the banking industry. The Chamber is in the room, at the table, and are making it clear that businesses and their employees need immediate support.

We will do absolutely everything we can to ensure that your questions are answered, and above all, to get the UK Government to move faster to get cash to the front line to keep our businesses, communities and economy going.

Chambers are in business for business – and we will be there every step of the way as we navigate the days and weeks ahead. Count on us – and on each other. Together we can bring our businesses and communities together and lead the fight for the future.

We will ensure you are kept updated with the latest support from government together with how you are able to access this without delay.

Current support available from UK government

The 2020 Budget announced a plan to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses affected by Coronavirus. A number of these measures were supplemented with a further UK government response on 17 March: Additional measures announced on 17 March.

Latest key measures*

Time to Pay upscaled – a dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities to receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme– a new scheme delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable small and medium sized businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5m, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses and with no interest due for the first six months.

Increased Business Rates Relief – the UK government is temporarily increasing the Business Rates discount to all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England to 100% for 2020-21, irrespective of rateable value.

£25,000 cash grant – for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000.

Statutory Sick Pay – will be temporarily available to those who are advised to self-isolate and people caring for those within the same household who display Coronavirus symptoms and have been told to self-isolate. A new style Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit will be available to those that are not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the UK government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.

£10,000 cash grant to small businesses – there will be a £10,000 cash grant to small firms eligible for Small Business Rate Relief. This will be delivered by Local Authorities.

Government backed and guaranteed loans – there will be an initial £330billion to support companies in the form of government-backed loans for any business who needs access to cash, with more capacity as required, details through the British Business Bank.

* Further fiscal measures are expected in coming days.