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Protecting jobs and supporting business during the coronavirus pandemic

PUBLISHED: 11:49 22 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:22 22 May 2020

REBECCA UDALL: ‘'Government support is fantastic’'

REBECCA UDALL: ‘'Government support is fantastic’'

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The Government has announced an unprecedented package of support to protect jobs and support business across the UK during the coronavirus outbreak.

HELPING HAND: Scouts Scotland supports 12,000 volunteers and 40,000 young peopleHELPING HAND: Scouts Scotland supports 12,000 volunteers and 40,000 young people

There is a wide range of financial support available to firms of all sizes. Today we take a look at how some companies have benefited from the help available through the Government’s support packages.

£10,000 grant has made life less stressful

Rebecca Udall feared for her business selling luxury homeware when the coronavirus outbreak escalated.

The government's new slogan to run alongside 'Stay alert' is 'Keep our distance, wash our hands, think of others and play our part'The government's new slogan to run alongside 'Stay alert' is 'Keep our distance, wash our hands, think of others and play our part'

Rebecca, 26, from Malton, North Yorkshire, who specialises in European linen, had already heard from suppliers in Italy what the situation was like there.

As the country went into lockdown, sales were hit and it became difficult to get products from Europe.

But help was at hand from the Government in the form of the Small Business Grant.

Rebecca said: “I watched Rishi Sunak’s speech when he launched the grant and then I got in touch with my accountant to see when it would be available.

FINANCIAL HELP: Chancellor Rishi SunakFINANCIAL HELP: Chancellor Rishi Sunak

“My local council emailed me about a week later saying they were awaiting further details from the government. They didn’t confirm if I would be eligible, but I hoped I would.

“My experience has been very positive. I got a letter to complete an online form, which was very straightforward to do, and then I had £10,000 in my bank account about a week later. For me it was very quick and easy.

“The support from the Government has been fantastic. Because it’s a grant rather than a loan, you don’t have to pay it back. It just gives you confidence and makes life a bit less stressful. I’ve also done the VAT deferral – because I’m such a small business it’ll give me the ability to use the cash over the next year and hopefully grow my business.”

Critical to Scouts’ survival

Scouts Scotland chief executive Katie Docherty says the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been absolutely critical to the survival of Scouts Scotland as an organisation.

Almost 80pc of Scouts Scotland’s 62 staff have been furloughed as outdoor education centres and campsites have been closed and fundraising events postponed due to the coronavirus lockdown.

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The organisation, which supports 12,000 volunteers and 40,000 young people in Scotland, has suffered a £1.5 million shortfall as a result.

Ms Docherty said they had received some funding from the Scottish Government, but the furlough scheme is “the lifeline that’s keeping us going just now”.

She said: “It’s the furlough scheme that’s allowed us to keep paying our staff while we have no income coming in. It’s been absolutely critical. We would have had to make most of our staff redundant otherwise.”

The CJRS has been extended until the end of October by the UK Government in order to protect businesses and jobs across the country.

Chancellor’s measures to safeguard firms and their staff

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a range of measures* for businesses and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency. Here are some examples.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has enabled businesses to put employees on a period of temporary leave (furlough) and apply for a government grant to cover 80pc of those workers’ usual monthly wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 a month. The scheme available until the end of October has already protected 7.5 million workers and almost 1 million businesses.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will allow eligible self-employed individuals to claim a taxable grant of 80pc of their average monthly profits, up to £7,500.

UK VAT-registered firms have been given the option to defer VAT payments until the end of June. There will be no interest or penalties on any amount deferred.

The Government has introduced a business rates holiday for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors and nurseries in England. Other schemes are in place in the other nations within the UK.

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction.

The Government’s Bounce Back Loans Scheme provides loans of up to £50,000 to small businesses, with a 100pc government-backed guarantee for lenders.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is available for loans or finance of up to £5m. The Government will provide the lender with an 80pc guarantee to support the lending.

*Eligibility criteria applies.

Details of the support available to businesses across the UK can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support


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