The Government has issued guidance for businesses and employees in regards to the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

This published guidance:

  • assists employers and businesses in providing advice to staff on COVID-19
  • gives advice on how to prevent its spread
  • advises on what to do if someone with suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in a workplace setting
  • offers advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific areas
  • advises for the certification of absence from work resulting from COVID-19.

Package of support for businesses

The government has also set out a package of support for businesses through the period of disruption caused by COVID-19. Measures to support businesses include:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and income tax payments
  • statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
  • Business Rate Relief for small businesses. We will contact eligible businesses in the next 2 weeks. There is no need to contact us
  • small business grant funding for all business in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief. We are waiting more details from Government about this. As soon as we have it, we will share it here
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
  • Bank of England lending facility for larger firms
  • HMRC Time to Pay scheme
  • Commercial tenants unable to pay rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction

Information about all this support is available via the official GOV.UK website

Business support

A range of business support is available to businesses. This page helps businesses find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply. Find out more.

Help for self-employed

Government announced a new self-employed income support scheme. Self-employed people who have been adversely affected will be able to access taxable grants of 80% of average annual profits over the last 3 years, up to £2,500 per month.

It will be open for a period of at least 3 months, backdated to 1 March 2020.

The scheme is targeted to those who have a trading profit of up to £50,000 per year and that make the majority of their income from self-employment. It is for people who are already self-employed and who have a tax return for 2018/19. 

If anyone missed filing their tax return at the end of January 2020, they will have until 23 April to submit a tax return.

The scheme will be administered by HMRC and it is expected that businesses will be able to receive the grant in early June. HMRC will contact you directly. 

Self-employed people can also access business interruption loans and universal credit.

Income tax deferral

If you are self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to 31 January 2021.

Heart of the South West Growth Hub

The Heart of the South West Growth Hub provides information to help businesses in Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay during the COVID-19 crisis. The Hub also offers information about various business support programmes operating in the area.  

Business Continuity Helpline set up by East Devon-based social enterprise

Cosmic are offering free helpline and toolkit for local businesses and charities to help them set up remote working for staff in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This will help with business continuity and provide advice and guidance to businesses who need support to put effective homeworking arrangements in place.

The helpline phone number is 0330 088 4421 and the line will be open from 9am- 5pm, Monday-Friday.