The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures have caused an economic shock unlike any on record. Throughout the pandemic, the GBCC has worked hard to lobby stakeholders in our members’ interests.
Unprecedented Times: How COVID-19 has impacted Greater Birmingham’s businesses & what we can do about it combines in-depth analysis of data on local business performance with recommendations on:
1. Addressing the Immediate Gaps in Coronavirus Business Support & Government Policy
2. Stimulating Economic Recovery & Rebuilding Business Confidence
This publication was launched on the 30th June 2020.
DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT HERE
Unprecedented Times replaces the GBCC’s previous lobbying document Mind the Gap. Between the 23rd April and 29th June the GBCC released 6 versions of Mind the Gap
DOWNLOAD THE LATEST REPORT HERE
Government Support For Businesses
The GBCC have been lobbying for additional support for businesses. To date, the following measures have been announced:
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: to cover up to 80% (up to £2500 per month) of employees’ salaries who would otherwise be made redundant, backdated to 1st March 2020.
- Coronavirus Job Retention Bonus: The Government will introduce a one-off payment of £1,000 to UK employers for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021.
- Self-Employed Income Support Scheme: The Government will pay self-employed individuals a taxable grant worth 80% of average monthly profits over the last 2 years (up to £2500 a month) for those with a trading profit of up to £50,000, who make the majority of their income from self-employment and have submitted their 2019 tax return (or do so in the next 4 weeks)
- VAT Payment Deferral: VAT payments due between the 20 March - 30 June will be deferred with businesses given until the end of the financial year to repay.
- Temporary Vat Reductions: A reduced VAT rate of 5% will apply until January to food & non-alcoholic drinks, hotel & holiday accommodation and admissions to attractions
- Support for the Self-Employed: self-assessment payments will be deferred until January 2021 and individuals will be able to access the equivalent of Statutory Sick Pay through Universal Credit
- Statutory Sick Pay Refunds: up to 14 days per employee affected in relation to COVID-19 for businesses with under 250 employees.
- Business Interruption Loan Scheme: offering British Business Bank-backed loans with Government guarantees of up to 80%, with no interest payments for 12 months (up to £5m for firms with a turnover of £45m or under). Contact your bank for more information.
- Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme: offering British Business Bank-backed loans with Government guarantees of up to 80% (up to £200m for firms with a turnover above £45m).
- Bounce Back Loans: 100% Government-backed loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 for SMEs
- 100% Business Rates Relief: for 12 months for businesses in the retail, leisure & hospitality sectors. Businesses do not need to apply for this support, it should be implemented automatically by your local authority.
- Up to £25,000 grant: for businesses with a rateable value of under £51,000 in the retail, leisure & hospitality sectors.
- Up to £10,000 grant: for businesses already receiving Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rates Relief.
- Top-up grants: Of up to £25,000 for small businesses with fixed property costs
- A total of £730m in grants for charities: for small, midsized and large charities delivering essential community services.
- Extension of Time to Pay: HMRC to consider Time to Pay arrangements for businesses experiencing cash-flow issues arising from Coronavirus (COVID-19) via a dedicated HMRC COVID-19 helpline: 0800 0159 559.
- Protection from Eviction for Commercial Tenants: no business unable to pay their rent should be automatically evicted if they miss a payment up to the 30th September (but will continue to be liable for rent due)
- The temporary relaxation of wrongful trading rules: retrospectively from 1 March 2020 until the 30 September for company directors.
- The Future Fund: A total of £800m government funding for R&D focused start-ups that have raised at least £250,000 in private investment in the last five years.
- The Sustainable Innovation Fund: Grants of up to £175,000 for businesses to help fund single and collaborative research and development projects
- Eat Out to Help Out Scheme: Government scheme offering a 50% discount to diners of up to £10 per head on their meal out in August at any participating restaurant or food service establishments. (Valid Monday to Wednesday with participating businesses being fully reimbursed for the discount)
While the support has been announced, much has yet to be made available for businesses. We are currently campaigning for this support to reach businesses immediately.
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How is Coronavirus (COVID:19) Impacting Businesses?
The situation continues to be fast-paced and changeable. We are currently polling businesses weekly on their experience of COVID-19 as part of the British Chambers of Commerce COVID-19 Business Impacts Tracker.
Key findings from the 5th May – 7th May tranche included:
- 76% of respondents had furloughed at least 1% of staff, 36% had furloughed between 75% and 100% of their workforce. 13% had not yet received payment from HMRC for a claim submitted more than 6 working days ago.
- 18% of respondents are waiting to gain clarity on the length of lockdown before applying for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan. 23% have concerns about being able to pay back a loan.
- 41% of respondents reported that it would take them less than one week to prepare their business for ending lockdown measures. 24% reported needing one to three weeks and 9% reported needing three to six weeks.
As a result, the GBCC are recommending that the Government takes a number of measures to support businesses in managing Coronavirus (COVID-19) related disruption
Download The Latest Summary Here