If a property under your responsibility / ownership will be unoccupied for a period of time due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic they should consult their property insurers with respect to the un-occupancy policy conditions contained within their insurance policy.
If you have successfully submitted an application form for a Business Support Grant, please refrain from further submissions as multiple application forms for the same business property is affecting our ability to administer and process grants to eligible customers in a timely manner.
Businesses that were not eligible for Welsh Government’s business rates or self-employment grants will now be able to apply for support from the new Economic Resilience Fund.
This new grant scheme will see an initial £100m set aside for microbusinesses and a further £300m for SMEs and larger businesses.
£100m support for Microbusinesses
A grant of up to £10,000 is available to assist microbusinesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and meet all of the below criteria:
• Business wasn’t eligible for Welsh Government’s Business Rate Grant or self-employment grant
• Employs between one and nine employees (in addition to the business owner) and paying one or more employees via PAYE
• Operating address in Wales and have employees in Wales
• Is VAT-registered or exempt from VAT
• Has experienced a drop in turnover greater than 40% as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak (since 1 March 2020)
If you meet all the above criteria, you will be asked - as part of the online application process - to have the following information ready before applying:
• VAT registration number
• Company registration number (if applicable)
• Sector in which the business works
• Number of employees
• Annual turnover
• Bank account details (bank account and sort code numbers, and name on account)
• Whether you have received any other COVID-19 support funds
Please note: The scheme will be open for 12 months and supported businesses must aim to maintain employment for 12 months, with only one application per businesses being accepted.
£300m support for SMEs
A grant of up to £100,000 is available to small and medium sized businesses with staffing levels of between 10 and 249 employees that meet the following eligibility criteria:
• Confirmation is provided that funding from any other Welsh Government non-repayable grant funding source is not being pursued
• In excess of a 60% reduction in turnover since 1 March 2020 has been experienced
• Not eligible for business rate relief. If it is, the amount will be deducted from the allocation from this fund
• Operating address in Wales and has employees in Wales
• A sustainable plan exists to trade beyond the pandemic
• Inability to access funding needed from a bank (including DBW and the British Business Bank) is demonstrated
• Confirmation that no future compulsory redundancies will be made as long as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is in place
• Applicant businesses and organisations will align with the ethos and principles of the Economic Contract (please see Business Wales website for more information)
For further information on any of the above funds or other Welsh Government COVID-19 support schemes, please visit the Business Wales website: https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/support/financial-support-and-grants.
The fund is expected to be open for applications from Friday April 17.
We would ask all our local businesses to continue to follow our social media pages for further information over the coming weeks.
Current grant support already being processed by the Council
The Council has already processed more than 600 grant applications. But we know that there are more out there that haven’t yet applied.
If you believe your business is eligible the please complete our online form at: https://www.merthyr.gov.uk/business/business-rates/business-rates-relief-coronavirus-covid-19/
The Welsh Government’s £1.4bn support package for all businesses listed on the business rates register has two different components:
Grant 1: for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in Wales. A grant of £25,000 will be offered for businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000.
Grant 2: for all other sectors. A £10,000 grant is available to all businesses eligible for Small Business Rates Relief with a rateable value of £12,000 or less.
The Council has already started paying out those eligible businesses that we currently have bank account details for. Earlier this week, we issued 88 grants for £10,000 and 99 for £25,000.
The Council is also working with relevant businesses to assist them in obtaining a 12-month business rates holiday period. If you require further information surrounding any of the above funds, then please email email@example.com
Other business support available includes:
Development Bank of Wales
The Welsh Government and the Development Bank of Wales’s £100m Covid-19 Wales Business Loan Scheme will be available from the Development Bank of Wales for a limited period. It is intended to provide support to businesses who are experiencing cashflow difficulties as a result of the pandemic.
Loans of between £5,000 and £250,000 are available to businesses that have been trading longer than two years and can demonstrate that they were able to service that level of debt before the outbreak. It also offers:
• 12-month capital and interest repayment holiday
• no arrangement or monitoring fees
• 2% interest fixed for 6 years (includes the 12 month holiday)
Further details can be found on the Development Bank of Wales’s website:
Economic Resilience Fund
Businesses can also benefit from a £400 million emergency pot providing:
• grants of £10,000 for micro-businesses employing up to nine people. This includes sole traders employing staff. Qualifying businesses will be able to apply by mid-April.
• grants of up to £100,000 for small and medium sized firms with between 10 and 249 employees. Qualifying businesses will be able to apply by mid-April.
• support for larger Welsh companies, which are of critical social or economic importance to Wales. This element will be open to qualifying businesses within the next two weeks.
Details of the application process and eligibility are being finalised and will be published shortly, so please keep checking the Council’s media platforms for more information.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during the crisis. All UK businesses are eligible.
To access the scheme businesses will need to:
• designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’ – those staff whose employers cannot cover staff costs due to coronavirus and have been asked to stop working but not been made redundant. Changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
• submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal. This portal is not yet in place, but we’ll publish details as soon as they are available.
HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers and HMRC is working urgently to set one up.
Business Interruption Loan Scheme
A temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, covering a range of different products such as loans, overdraft, invoice finance and asset finance and delivered by the British Business Bank, is supporting primarily small and medium sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.
The Government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.
The Government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. Businesses can access the first 12 months of that finance interest free.
Further details can be found at: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/
Protection for businesses that miss rent payments
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. These measures will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next three months. Please visit the GOV.UK website for further information
Statutory Sick Pay Support
The UK Government is bringing forward legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to coronavirus. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
• the refund will cover up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
• employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
• employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP note.
The eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home comes into force. The Government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.
The situation is changing daily and we’ll bring you news of any extra support available as soon as we get it.