New Covid-19 business support grants announced for local firms

Trevor Cook from Tees chartered accountancy practice Baines Jewitt is urging local firms to check steps needed to access the latest Covid-19 business support grants…

Further guidance on the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) was issued on May 4.

This is a temporary scheme to enable those eligible to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits (up to maximum of £2,500 per month) for a three-month period.

SEISS will benefit self-employed people or those in a partnership, whose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.

In particular, it covers those who receive at least half their income from self employment and have annual taxable trading profits of less than £50,000.

The crucial part is that qualifying self-employed individuals will need to arrange their own government gateway account and cannot ask their accountant to make an SEISS claim on their behalf.

They need to take action now regarding this as claims can start to be submitted from May 13.

To find out more and check eligibility: gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme#claim

In addition, the Government has introduced a top-up to local business grants. This is a new discretionary fund, announced on May 2, to support certain small businesses which have not been eligible for other Covid-19 grant schemes.

This funding is aimed primarily at small businesses (under 50 employees), with ongoing fixed property-related costs, that can demonstrate a significant drop of income due to coronavirus restriction measures.

Payments will be made at each local authority’s discretion based on economic need.

There will be three levels of Government payments, with maximum grants being £25,000. It will be up to councils to adapt their approach to local circumstances.

Further guidance for local authorities regarding the top-up to local business grants scheme will be set out shortly, but the Government has asked local authorities to prioritise:

• Businesses in shared spaces

• Regular market traders

• Small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief

• Bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.

For the latest news on the impact of Covid-19 and support for business, visit Baines Jewitt’s coronavirus hub, bainesjewitt.co.uk/covid19-news.htm, or gov.uk.

Trevor Cook
Baines Jewitt