Additional support for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

The Business and Investment team are collating information on all the support that has been made available to support businesses during the Coronavirus outbreak. If you have any questions, need any support or wish to receive further information / updates please don't hesitate to contact us on business@wrexham.gov.uk, 01978 667300 or complete our online enquiry form.

Transforming Towns Thematic Covid-19 Grant

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If you're self-employed

The Self Employed Income Support scheme has been extended. If you were eligible for the first grant and can confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020, you’ll now be able to make a claim for a second and final grant (your claim must be submitted on or before 19 October 2020 however). If you’re eligible the second and final grant will be a taxable grant worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering a further 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

If you employ people or are paid via PAYE (this can include company directors)

The scheme is open for new applications until June 30 2020 by all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme by or on March 19 2020. Until the end of July the Job Retention scheme will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Please see the following page for further information.

Please note, from July 1 employers will only be able to continue to furlough employees under the scheme that have been furloughed for a full 3 week period to June 30. This effectively means that an employer furloughing an employee for the first time must do so by June 10 (to ensure they will have been furloughed for 3 weeks when the scheme closes for new applications on June 30). Employers will have until  July 31 to make any claims in respect of the period to June 30. Details of how this scheme will change / operate in July, August, September and October can be found below. 

Guidance published by HMRC (external link) has confirmed that apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees and continue to train.

How will the Job Retention Scheme change in July, August, September and October

July

From July 1 the government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer national insurance and pension contributions for employees that have been furloughed for 3 weeks prior to June 30.

Employers will now however be able to bring employees back to work that have previously been furloughed (for any amount of time and any shift pattern), while still being able to claim the Job Retention Scheme grant for their normal hours which have not been worked. When claiming for furloughed hours; employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.

August

From August 1 the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will now begin paying employer national insurance and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.

September

From September 1 the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay employer national insurance and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 14% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.

October

During October the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay employers national insurance and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 23% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.

Support to businesses paying sick pay to employees

Support to businesses paying sick pay to employees   

The online service you’ll use to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) (external link) is now available. You will be able to check online if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus and what you will need in order to submit a claim.

Ban on evictions for commercial tenants

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction, the UK government (external link) has announced.

These measures will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next 3 months.

Protection for high street shops and other companies from aggressive rent collection

In an effort to protect the high street, the UK Government are temporarily banning the use of statutory demands and winding up orders (external link) where a company cannot pay their bills due to the Coronavirus.

Secondary legislation preventing landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) unless they are owed 90 days of unpaid rent, will also ease the pressure for tenants to pay rent by. 

Commercial tenants of Wrexham County Borough Council premises

A 3 month rent ‘holiday’ will be provided to commercial tenants and market holders.

Culture, Creative or Sports Sector

COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund (external link)

This fund, which provides one-off grants of between £500 and £2,500, aims to support active workers and freelancers working in production, distribution and exhibition - behind the scenes - in film, TV and cinema who are facing significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The programme is provided via the British Film Institute and the Film and TV charity. Applications close on April 22.

Arts Resilience Fund (external link)

Led by the Arts Council of Wales this fund will support artists and arts organisations most in need and least likely to benefit from other support programmes. 

Grassroots Music Relief Fund (GMRF) – applications currently paused however they may reopen:

Delivered by Creative Wales (external link) this open fund is available Grassroots Music Venues in Wales, with grant funding of up to £25,000 being available to help them deal with COVID-19 related challenges. 

Urgent Response Fund (external link)

Aimed at freelance artists and creative practitioners who are experiencing financial hardship/loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic this programme will provide short term emergency funding in the form of a grant of up to £2,500, to enable individuals to survive financially and artistically. The second round of funding will open for applications on April 28 and will close at midday on May 6. 

PRS Foundation’s Sustaining Creativity Fund (external link)

This fund will look to support outstanding artists, songwriters and composers to create and develop when they need it most via a grant of £750.

PRS Coronavirus Emergency Relief Fund (external link)

Open to Performing Right Society (PRS) members of at least two years, who have earned over £500 of PRS royalties in the last two years, this fund will provide successful applicants with a grant of £1000 to music creators (songwriters and composers) to help them during the coronavirus pandemic.

Authors' Emergency Fund (external link)

Open to writers, illustrators, literary translators, scriptwriters, poets, journalists and others this fund is likely to provide grants of up to £2,000 in an effort to help support authors who have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sport Wales – Emergency Relief Fund (external link)

Aimed at for not-for-profit community sport who are facing significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fund will provide grants of up to £5,000 to eligible clubs which aim to remain an important part of their communities in the future, with funding to be used to cover expenditure such as:

  • Rent
  • Utility costs
  • Insurances
  • Facility or equipment hire (where there is a fixed cost)
  • Activities or costs that cannot be covered by government funding sources
  • Clubs affected by recent flooding might also have capital costs or cleaning costs that they cannot pay for

If you are a club and believe you require financial support, but are not eligible for this fund, you should email your details to: emergencyrelief@sport.wales

Culture, Creative or Sports Sector

A number of funding schemes have been and are to be made available by the Welsh Government, the Arts Council for Wales and Sports Wales aimed at safeguarding businesses and jobs, some of which have been mentioned in more detail above. The schemes (external link) will look to support artists, arts organisations, sports clubs, music venues, the TV and publishing sector, museums, collections, conservation services, archives, community and public libraries and heritage organisations etc. Limited information has been provided for some of these at present.

Culture Resilience Fund

The Cultural Resilience Fund provides help for museums, libraries, archives, collections and self-employed conservation services, for example conservators and curators who as a result of the coronavirus face urgent short-term pressures to apply by email with an outline of your requirements (no more than 200 words).

AIM Crisis Fund for Independent Music Contractors

The AIM Crisis fund (external link) is open to any contractor or freelance worker due to work with new and developing artists currently signed to AIM member labels whose source of income has been cut due to lost work in April and May as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants of up to a maximum of £1,000 will be awarded to successful applicants, covering up to 80% of the applicant’s lost committed project income.

COVID-19 Film and TV Community Grants

Application deadline: June 1 2020, 6pm.

The Film and TV Community Grants scheme (external link) which is provided by the Film and TV charity provides grants to successful applicants who work in film, TV or cinema and have an idea for an activity that could help friends and colleagues in the industry during the coronavirus crisis. Funded activities could for example tackle isolation, connect people, involve professional development, skill sharing, mentoring or career development, or financial advice. Grants will usually be around £150 – £250 but can be up to a max of £1,000 for people organising a series of events or with additional costs to support access and inclusion. Initiatives not eligible consist of start-up costs for a new organisation, any service that requires a fee from the service user and clinical mental health services. 

MU Coronavirus Hardship Fund

Provided by the Musician Union the Coronavirus Hardship fund (external link) will support members with genuine and pressing hardship by providing immediate and urgent relief in the form of grants of £200.

Stabilisation Fund for Individuals

The Stabilisation Fund for Individuals (external link) provides grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 to eligible freelance artists and freelance creative practitioners working in the not-for-profit sector in Wales, who are trying to survive the threat to their livelihoods caused by the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Funds are intended to help build resilience and maintain creative practice. The fund opens for applications from Friday May 29 2020 and will close on Monday June 15 2020.

Community Interest Companies and Not-for-profit Organisations

The Voluntary Services Emergency Fund (external link) is to enable those groups and organisation’s that are providing vital support to groups such as: people in isolation, the elderly, carers, people struggling to access food etc to either continue or scale up that vital work at this time of crisis.

There is no VAT reg requirement and awards are based upon the ability to demonstrate a need and the funding being able to meet that need and create an impact.

The Third Sector Resilience Fund (external link) is to help organisations stay in business and provide cash flow support to help organisations through the current crisis. It is not to replace lost funding but it is to aid survival of organisations that would otherwise have to close because they don’t have access to other funds (such as reserves) to see them through the next 6 months.

There is no VAT registration requirement nor the need to evidence a percentage drop in income/turnover and it is based on need to survive.

This fund is focused on supporting those that have predominately lost donation/fundraising income or are not eligible for the Welsh Gov Resilience Fund because of eligibility reasons.

AVOW (external link) are co-ordinating the volunteer response to Covid-19. They are working tirelessly to help those most vulnerable within our communities, and are doing such a fabulous job.

Also, check out their website as there will be new funds (external link) appearing as part of Welsh Governments £24m pledge to Third Sector, Charities and some social enterprises.

Emergency Funds - CV-19 - Community Action Organisations Support 

The Local Action Groups in rural Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham have funds available to support community enterprises, charities, formal community groups and public sector organisations in rural areas of Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham to enable them to adjust their frontline community support in the context of the of current and ever-changing Corona Virus outbreak. These funds are available through Cadwyn Clwyd.

Organisations can apply for up to £3000 for eligible costs to develop new approaches in providing support for services. For further information please contact Donna Hughes – 01490 340500 or donna.hughes@cadwynclwyd.co.uk.

Charity regulators publish coronavirus guidance

Guidance aimed at Charity trustees (external link) regarding operating during the coronavirus outbreak has been made available by the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Guidance includes financial support which is available, holding meetings online or by telephone, reporting serious incidents and keeping people safe etc. 

Charities Aid Foundation coronavirus emergency grant for small charities

Launched by the Charities Aid Foundation the £5 million emergency grant (external link) for small charities which have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak provides grants of up to £10,000 for charities with an income of £1 million or less, to cover core costs, staffing, volunteer costs, supplies and equipment, communications or other critical charitable activities. 

Filing extension for charities that are due to submit annual return

The Charity Commission for England and Wales (external link) has announced that any charity that needs an extension to their annual return deadline can contact the Charity Commission to ask for one.  

Coronavirus guidance for community interest companies

The Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies (CICs) (external link) has published guidance about how CICs can manage the impact of the outbreak.

£26 million to help small charities in Wales

The Welsh Government have announced that thousands of small charities within the retail, leisure and hospitality sector can claim a £10,000 business support grant to help them respond to the financial challenges of Covid-19. 

All ratepayers eligible for charitable relief or Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASC) relief, operating in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors occupying properties with a rateable value of £12,000 or less can now apply. The scheme will be closing for new applications at 5pm on June 30 2020.

New loans launched to support businesses affected by COVID-19

Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Delivered by the British Business Bank, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (external link) looks to support small and medium sized businesses and provides access to a variety of different products such as loans, overdraft, invoice finance and asset finance. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims), no charge to businesses or banks will be applied for this guarantee. The first 12 months will be provided on an interest free basis, with the government covering these payments.

Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

Launching on May 4, the Bounce Back Loan (external link) will help small and medium sized businesses borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 over a period of up to 6 years. 100% of the loan will be guaranteed by the UK government with no fees, interest or repayments being applicable for the first 12 months. To qualify businesses must be based in the UK, have been negatively affected by Coronavirus and not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on December 31 2019. You won’t be able to apply if you’ve already had a loan under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, however you will be able to transfer this into the Bounce Back Loan scheme, until November 4 2020. 

Coronavirus Future Fund

The Coronavirus Future Fund (external link), which is to launch during May 2020, will provide loans ranging between £125,000 to £5 million to innovative companies (subject to at least equal match funding from private investors).

The loans may be a suitable option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Eligibility criteria also specifies that a business must have previously raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last 5 years.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Via the Large Business Interruption loan scheme (external link) businesses with a turnover of over £45 million per year can apply for up to £25 million of finance. Firms with a turnover of more than £250 million can apply for up to £200 million of finance. The government will provide lenders with an 80% guarantee on individual loans, for which commercial rates of interest will be applied. To be eligible the borrowing proposal must be considered viable by the lender if not for the coronavirus pandemic, with the lender also believing the loan will enable the company trade through this period of  short to medium term difficulty. 

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (large businesses)

The Corporate Financing Facility (external link) will operate for at least 12 months and will be delivered by commercial lenders and backed by the Bank of England. It will see the Bank of England buying short-term debt from large companies affected by COVID-19, offering support by allowing companies to finance their short-term liabilities.

Additional support

Small Business Advertising Support Fund

Made available through a partnership between Mail Metro Media and the National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses Limited Small businesses the small business advertising support fund (external link) will provide successful businesses with a tailored advertising package worth £3,000 each by Associated Newspapers, to use across the news group’s print and online titles. To be eligible businesses must have 150 employees or fewer and an annual turnover (revenue) that does not exceed £6 million. 

SME100 - Cynllun Cefnogaeth SME AdSmart

Provided by Sky Media 100 businesses will be provided with television advertising campaigns via AdSmart (external link), to support them during the difficult times brought about by COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses that have adapted and are demonstrating true resolve and ingenuity that need support during this time will be eligible, as long as they have been running for at least one year in the UK with between 2 and 50 full time employees. Businesses must also be a new to TV advertiser (or not on TV within the last 12 months). The maximum length of the TV advert is 30 seconds and the campaign duration will be one month. 

Salesforce small business grants

Salesforce is partnering with Enterprise Nation to offer eligible small companies the opportunity to receive a £5,000 grant (external link) to help them through the COVID-19 outbreak. Applications will open on a regional basis, with a total of 268 grants being awarded across the UK. Applications for companies based in Wales will open at 8am on July 13 2020 and close at 11:59pm on July 19 2020, with a total of 5 grants being awarded to companies in Wales. To be eligible companies must, for example:

  • Be registered at Companies House
  • Have been established for at least 12 months as of the programmes launch date (May 18 2020)
  • Not be a franchisee or a subsidiary of any other company
  • Not received any other cash grant during 2020 in relation to COVID-19 from any Government (not including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme)
  • Be based in the UK with a British bank account
  • Have between 2 to 50 full-time employees (including the founder/business owner) as of December 31 2019
  • Have no criminal or County Court Judgement (CCJ) in their name
  • Have a website or other online/digital presence

Changes to the Circular Economy Fund

As many organisations are facing significant challenges due to the COVID-19 outbreak WRAP Cymru have made changes to the Circular Economy Fund (external link), which aim to support a greater number of organisations and more quickly.

In addition to funding the use of recycled materials in products, financial support can now also be provided for the preparation for re-use, refurbishment and re-manufacturing activities in Wales, such as the production of sustainable goods to aid the global fight against coronavirus.

Organisations of any size operating in Wales may apply for a capital grant to invest in infrastructure and equipment for eligible circular activities. Small Scale grants are now available from £6,000 to €200,000 (the maximum de minimis threshold) and Large Scale grants are available from €200,000 to £750,000.

Eligible projects must:

  • increase the use of recycled plastic, paper / card or textiles in existing or new products (projects seeking to use other recycled materials will be considered on a case-by-case basis); or 
  • extend the life-time of products / materials through preparation for re-use, refurbishment or re-manufacturing activities

Are you due to renew money laundering supervision with HMRC?

If your business is due to pay an annual fee to renew money laundering supervision with HMRC between May 1 and September 30 2020 you can:

  • defer payment for up to 6 months
  • deregister if you stop trading due to coronavirus

Agriculture

NFU Mutual coronavirus support package

NFU Mutual have made a £32 million support package available to help farmers, who are either existing or new customers, through the coronavirus pandemic. Full details of the features of this package can be found online via the NFU Mutual website (external link).

Emergency measures to support farmers during COVID-19

The Welsh Government has announced a package of emergency measures to support Welsh farmers during the coronavirus outbreak. The measures include:

  • The deadline for farmers to submit their Single Application Form (SAF) has been extended until June 15 2020. 
  • An additional £5.5m has been allocated to the BPS and Glastir 2019 support scheme which have re-opened to support farmers who are yet to receive their 2019 BPS and/or Glastir payments. Farmers will be able to apply for support through the scheme to alleviate potential cash flow problems.

Further information can be found via the Welsh Government website (external link).

Emergency planning document templates

The Farm Advisory Service (FAS) (external link) have made a number of emergency planning documents available which aim to help farmers ensure their business is still able to function should any member of the workforce need to take time off due to illness. The documents will for example assist farmers record where stock is stored, record contact details for key suppliers, such as vets, feed representatives and accountants and highlight when lambing or calving is due to start etc.

Pubs and Bars

HMRC makes it easier to claim duty credit on unsold beer

HMRC have announced a temporary measure to help brewers and publicans avoid paying duty on out-of-date beer (external link) that remains unsold as a result of pub closures. While social distancing measures are in force, an authorised brewery representative from the brewery that supplied the beer no longer needs to be present whilst spoilt beer is destroyed, however in order to claim duty credit, publicans must have advance permission from the brewery to destroy the unsold beer, and they must keep evidence of the destruction, such as a video for example.

Road Haulage

Guidance for freight transport industry

Following the announcement that domestic and international freight transport is exempt non-essential travel advice, the Government have published detailed guidance aimed at international hauliers (external link), which provides information on health and safety, borders and travel restrictions, insurance, consular help and the latest health advice.

Validity of driver CPC cards extended

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department for Transport (DfT) have temporarily relaxed the rules relating to driver CPC cards (external link), which will allow drivers whose CPC card expire between March 1 and September 30 2020 to continue driving not be subject to enforcement action by the police or the DVSA. Military drivers will also be able to drive in civilian situations whilst the rules are relaxed.

Taxi and Private Hire Sector

The Business Wales website (external link) contains guidance aimed at taxi and private hire licensees

The UK Government have issued advice for the freight transport industry (external link).

Tourism

Fund launched to support heritage sector

Open until June 30 the National Lottery Heritage Fund have launched a £50 million fund (external link) which will look to support historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives, parks and gardens etc which have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Grants of between £3,000 and £50,000 will be provided, with a priority being given to organisations who have access to little or no access to other sources of support and are at risk of financial crisis. The provision of a £1.2 million Digital Skills for Heritage initiative will also be accelerated to support the sector through and beyond the coronavirus crisis.

The Welsh Government have published guidance for holiday accommodation owners (external link).

COVID-19 Innovation Projects

Covid-19 Resilience Innovation Project Support (external link)

Funded by the Welsh Government and delivered by Business Wales this programme aims to support innovative projects that can have a direct impact fighting the virus, such as the production of medical devices, personal protective equipment and the delivery of santising products for example. Funding can be used to cover costs such as:

  • The purchasing of specific equipment
  • Adjustments to existing processes
  • Implementation of new processes
  • Staff time and expenses

The deadline for applications if June 30 2020. 

Digital Innovation Hub Healthcare Robotics (DIH-HERO) - COVID-19 Call (external link)

This programme provides grant funding of up to £87,500 for robotic technologies and solutions in the later stages of development that can be deployed in the healthcare sector in the fight against COVID-19.

Industry Collaboration to fight Coronavirus

Welsh Government have appointed Life Sciences Hub Wales (external link) as the primary contact for any organisation that feels they are able to supply, manufacture and/or distribute products or collaborate with others to develop products or solutions.

£150,000 competition for Covid-19 digital solutions

Supported by Digital Health Ecosystem Wales, Welsh Government have announced a funding competition for digital solutions to help fight Covid-19 (external link), which must be developed and ready for testing during the application process. Between five and eight projects will receive funding to rapidly pilot products and solutions.

All solutions must tackle one of four themed areas:

  • Remote diagnosis and triage of patients
  • Optimising data collection and analysis
  • Tracking, managing, and reporting hospital personal protective equipment (PPE) inventory
  • Remote citizen support and treatment

The deadline for applications is Monday June 8 at 9am, with successful projects being notified by June 22 2020 and expected to start from June 29. 

Need to expand or are you worried about redundancies due to the COVID-19 pandemic

The Department for Work and Pensions have launched a new employer help website (external link) which aims to assist businesses that are either needing to expand rapidly as a result of COVID-19, or employers with worries about redundancies. A separate website has also been launched to help individuals find a critical job (external link) which may be good to apply for at the moment, which could help keep Britain running. 

Construction workers

Support is available during the pandemic for construction industry workers and their families (external link).

Right to work checks

Right to work checks (external link) have been temporarily adjusted.

Taxable expenses

Some expenses are taxable if your employees work from home due to coronavirus (external link).

Annual leave

Rules on carrying over annual leave (external link) have also been relaxed.

Bringing businesses together to help each other

Pay it Forward Campaign

Small businesses can set-up a Pay it Forward campaign (external link) to pre-sell their services and diversify trading now to ensure continuous cash flow.

Supply and Demand Resources platform

The South Wales Chamber of Commerce have launched an online platform (external link) allowing businesses to share supply and demand opportunities resulting from the current economic and trading situation.

Retail Sector

Guidance for Retailers on Home Delivery (external link) has been created by the Association of Convenience Stores.

Manufacturers

The Office for Product Safety and Standards have published four guides (external link) aimed at manufacturers of Personal Protective Equipment:

  • Placing hand cleaning and sanitising products on the UK market
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulations
  • New high-volume manufacturers of COVID-19 PPE
  • New small-scale manufacturers of COVID-19