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We appreciate this is a very unsettling time for businesses right now, please be reassured your Harborne Village BID team are still here to support you. We are monitoring the situation daily and will keep you updated with the latest news from the Government and Birmingham City Council as and when it becomes available.

Please see below the most recent action taken by the Harborne Village BID in response to COVID-19:

  • The BID board have taken the decision to increase the hours of the BID Street Warden from 30 to 40 hrs per week. This is to help offer some reassurance to both businesses and customers (but particularly those who are more vulnerable) during this uncertain time.
  • In addition, our local Police Inspector has tasked his team with an increased presence in the Harborne retail area in order to support the businesses that remain open during this time.
  • We have extended the 100% subsidy for business retail radios until September to maintain safety at no additional cost to the businesses concerned.
  • We have set up an emergency WhatsApp number to aid communication with businesses. If you are not already on the system please TEXT: 07538 067 379 with your name and business name to receive our updates and broadcasts.
  • We will be updating you via our newsletter regularly with the latest advice and information for businesses regarding access to grants and other financial support from the government.
  • We are lobbying Birmingham City Council to delay action on unpaid BID levy bills and asking the Council to allow businesses to pay levies in instalments this year to avoid a lump sum.
  • We have contacted our MP to ask her to lobby the Government to support BIDs to give levy payers a payment holiday whilst not impacting on the BIDs ability to operate and support the businesses.
  • We have altered the direction of our marketing towards showcasing the adaptability of Harborne’s wonderful and resilient businesses that are finding new ways to deliver services, goods and products to our community. We are also sharing practical advice about volunteering opportunities and ways that our community can help support those that need us, including local businesses, at this difficult time. To help us with this, please email us ( with any information about your business that you’d like us to share as soon as possible.
  • Please be sure to follow our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to help support our local business network and to receive the latest advice from the government and Birmingham City Council.

We understand that these are difficult times and we will do everything in our power to help our businesses get through this.

Please see below the latest advice and financial support packages that have recently been announced by the government that may be of use to you. We will update you when any new advice becomes available.

—- Updated 26.03.20 —-

Self Employed Income Support Scheme

The Self Employed Income Support Scheme will be availabe to those who have been effected by the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. The scheme will provide a taxable grant to cover 80% of a person’s average monthly profits, based on the profits made over the last three years, up to £2500 per month. Where a person has less than three years of accounts, the average will be based on whatever is available. The scheme will, in line with the others recently announced, run for 3 months initially. Those who are self employed will be able to claim and continue to trade. HMRC will contact eligible individuals directly. For more information, please click here.

Claim for wage costs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least three months starting from 1 March 2020. We expect the scheme to be up and running by the end of April. It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Employers can use a portal to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage. Employers can use this scheme anytime during this period.

The scheme is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 28 February 2020.

Who can claim

Any UK organisation with employees can apply, including:

  • businesses
  • charities
  • recruitment agencies (agency workers paid through PAYE)
  • public authorities

You must have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 28 February 2020 and have a UK bank account.

Where a company is being taken under the management of an administrator, the administrator will be able to access the Job Retention Scheme. For more information about these scheme please click here.

Small Business Grants

The Governement have now released more information about the Small Business Grants of up to £10,000 being offered to businesses who are entitled to Small Business Rates Relief. More info about the grant can be found below. The latest document outlines who can apply, when and how – for more info please click here.

—- Updated 23.03.20 —-

Corona Virus Job Retention Scheme

The Scheme, open to all employers, will provide a grant, via HMRC, to employers to pay the wages of those employees that they have furloughed (grant leave of absence to), rather than laid off. The grant will cover 80% of the wage cost, up to £2,500 per employee per month. Employers are free to then top up the grant, if possible. The grant will cover some individuals on zero-hours contracts, paid via PAYE. The grants will be available to cover wages backdated to 1 March 2020. The Scheme will run for a minimum of 3 months, and will be extended as required. The system to deliver this is due to be ready by the end of April 2020. We will keep you informed when we hear more about this scheme.

Corona Virus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Corona Virus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be available to businesses from today (23rd March 2020) and will now be interest-free for 12 months, instead of 6. Businesses can apply for a loan for up to £5m. The British Business Bank has published more information about the scheme. The scheme will be delivered via a number of delivery partners. The full list can be found here. In order to be eligible, businesses must:

  • Be UK based with turnover of no more than £41m p.a.
    Operate within an eligible sector
  • Have received no more than €200,000 of de minimis State Aid in the last 2 financial years
  • Have a sound borrowing proposal

Further requirements may be announced in the coming days. A list of industries and their eligibility for the scheme can be found here.

The full details from the British Business Bank can be found here.

A Corporate Financing Facility has been announced by the Bank of England for larger organisations. More details can be found here.

Business Rates Holiday

The Government has announced a 100% discount on Business Rates for the coming financial year for all businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors. For those occupying a property with a Rateable Value of £51,000 or less, they will also be able to access grants of up to £25,000. More information on this is due to be announced by Local Authorities and the Government.

VAT Payments Deferred

The Chancellor has announced a deferment of next quarter’s VAT payments, with businesses having until the end of the financial year to pay this back.

Small Business Grants

A grant scheme for the 700,000 smallest businesses was announced, offering grants of up to £10,000. Eligible businesses will be those entitled to Small Business Rate Relief, and they will be contacted by Birmingham City Council directly. This is likely to happen in April.

Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit Allowance Increased

For individuals, Mr Sunak announced that the standard allowance for Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits will be increased by £1,000 for the next 12 months. The minimum income floor for those Self Employed has also been removed. Self Assessment payments have also been deferred until January 2021.

Support with Tax liabilities

HMRC have set up a dedicated helpline for businesses to discuss payments against their tax liabilities through the Time to Pay Scheme. Call 0800 0159559 for case by case advice on the support that is available.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Support

SSP can be claimed by those Self-Isolating, or caring for someone Self-Isolating as a result of COVID-19 Coronavirus. SSP will be available from day 1, rather than day 4 of your absence from work. From next week, individuals can obtain an Isolation Note from the NHS website or by calling 111.

SMEs are being supported with an ability to claim a 2 week refund on SSP for each employee. Details of the mechanism for this will be announced in the coming months.

Specific Support from the banking sector

A number of individual banks have also announced their own measures to support businesses. Barclays have set up a dedicated helpline for customers, open Monday to Friday from 0800 – 2000 for business banking customers. Support includes 12 month capital repayment holidays on existing loans over £25,000 and increased and new overdraft and working capital facilities. Barclays customers can call 0800 1971 086 for more details.

Lloyds have introduced a £2bn package of arrangement fee finance to help minimise disruption to businesses. Click here to find out more. Natwest has also announced a range of measures, including a £5bn package to assist with working capital, loan repayment holidays and temporary emergency loans with no fees. Santander are encouraging businesses to speak to their Relationship Managers by calling 0800 731 6666. Businesses are encouraged to speak to their banks to explore what bespoke support they might be able to offer in the coming weeks.

Further assistance

Birmingham City Council has written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to request flexibility to divert £7m from the EU funded Business Growth Programme to support SMEs and jobs. The Bank of England has also cut interest rates to 0.1%.

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