At this time of crisis there is a need for the community to come together and to face the coming months with determination and resolve. The next few months will be very difficult not just for those in the medically vulnerable groups but also for the self employed, business owners and those now laid off. To aid the process of solidarity and real community support I have asked both our MP, The Rt Hon Suella Braverman QC and the Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Seán D T Woodward, to provide statements to members providing much needed guidance, support and practical help in these unprecedented times:
The Rt Hon Suella Braverman QC MP
The scale and the nature of the challenge ahead of our nation is unprecedented in a generation. Understandably people are anxious about their jobs, incomes and livelihoods. The Government has set up a series of schemes to support businesses and employees as this situation evolves- with more to come if the circumstances dictate. I have set out some information but for more detail follow: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/. My website is regularly updated too to include useful information on Coronavirus: www.suellabraverman.co.uk
1. Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme: This scheme will help businesses affected by coronavirus to access bank lending and overdrafts if they need to. For loans up to £5 million, the Government is providing a guarantee of 80% for each loan. This will give lenders the confidence to continue to provide finance to businesses. The Government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee.
2. Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure: Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year. Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019-20 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.
3. Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure: If your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector, you will receive a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property. Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. Businesses with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
4. Small Business Grant Funding: The Government is providing additional funding for Local Authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.
5. Statutory Sick Pay Rebate: The Government will bring forward legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for staff sickness absence due to coronavirus. This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of coronavirus.
6. HMRC Time to Pay: All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
7. Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility: The new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) means that the Bank of England will buy short-term debt from larger companies. This will support companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms. The scheme will be funded by central bank reserves – in line with other Bank of England market operations. It will operate for at least 12 months, and for as long as steps are needed to relieve cash flow pressures on firms that make a material contribution to the UK economy.
8. Business Rates Holiday for Nurseries: Nurseries in England do not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year.
9. VAT Deferral: We will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months.
10. Income Tax Deferral for Self-Employed: If you are self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.
11. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Under the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary.
We are keeping our promise to protect you and will do whatever it takes to get through this together. By supporting eachother, adapting to this new situation- knowing that it will come to an end- we will beat Coronavirus and emerge stronger as a nation.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions
Councillor Seán D T Woodward
We live in times that for most of us are absolutely unprecedented. People are rightly looking to government, both national and local, for leadership and that means taking some difficult decisions in terms of what is possible in terms of service delivery. Our residents which include you, our members, are concerned about their health and that of their loved ones. Also their finances and whether they will have jobs next week let alone next month.
This is a time for people to join together in looking out for friends and neighbours and as local leaders we will do everything within our power to provide a safe environment for our people. While we are taking some services temporarily offline such as libraries, garden waste collection and museums we are focussing our resources on keeping everyone safe by delivering critical services.
There are many community groups active in Fareham and we engage One Community to help in their co-ordination. One group which is working closely with the Borough Council in a very active fashion is Acts of Kindness (Solent) led by Kerry Snuggs
I hope that you will be sure to follow government advice as the science behind the pandemic becomes clearer whether that advice emanates from Westminster or local councils. The most important thing is to stay safe, not bulk buy and hoard essential commodities as there really is enough to go round, and to avoid public places whenever possible.
I have no doubt with the amazing British resolve we will emerge safely at some point and hopefully stronger and more resilient. Take care.
Suella and Seán are providing the valuable leadership necessary at these very uncertain times. The Association also wants to help and is in the process of drawing up a plan of how it and its members may help, particularly Association members in the most vulnerable groups and those in self isolation. Once the areas where help can be offered are identified a further email/letter will be issued to all members.
Chairman - Fareham Conservative Association