Businesses face an uncertain time over the next few months due to the Coronavirus crisis but the government has announced a range of measures to help employers.

We will be working with the government, the TDA and local businesses to ensure that grants, loans and other support available are accessed quickly and effectively to help businesses operating in Torbay.

This will be updated on a rolling basis as we receive information from central government.

Details of the schemes available (correct as of 27 March 2020)
Scheme Who can access it? What can you access? How can you access it?
£10,000 grants for small businesses

Small businesses that are eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR).

There will be a £10,000 cash grant to our smallest businesses, delivered by local authorities.

For information on this grant please see Business grants during the Coronavirus pandemic page.

£25,000 grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

A £25,000 grant with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

For information on this grant please see Business grants during the Coronavirus pandemic page

Business rates holiday

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectior as well as nurseries.

A business rates holiday for qualifying businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Qualifying businesses will not pay any Business rates for the financial year.

This will automatically apply to businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector as well as nurseries.

If you are unsure if you qualify please check GOV.UK: Business rates: expanded retail discount - guidance​

COVID-19 Business Interruption Loan

Small-or medium-sized business in England facing cash flow issues as a result of COIVD-19

Apply for a loan of up to £5 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees.

For more information and lenders see the British Business Bank.

Sick pay

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees

Government refunds to cover the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee

The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Any employer in the country will be eligible for the scheme.

Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month – that’s above the median income.

Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant. The scheme is expected to be live in April.

Read the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance

Self-employed Income Support Scheme

The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19, or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.

To qualify, more than half of their income in these periods must come from self-employment.

Those who pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company are not covered by the scheme but will be covered for their salary by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they are operating PAYE schemes.

This scheme also applies to members of partnerships.

A direct cash grant for those in self-employment of 80% of their profits, up to £2,500 per month for at least three months. Those eligible receiving a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years. This covers 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment.

Self -employed individuals should not contact HMRC now. The HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational using an online application form.

Further information and details of the scheme will be shared shortly by HMRC.

HMRC will use the average trading profits from previous tax returns  to determine the size of the grant.

Before grant payments are made, the self-employed will still be able to access other available government support for those affected by coronavirus including more generous universal credit and business continuity loans where they have a business bank account.

For more information visit the coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for employees, employers and businesses​ page.

There is also information on the support available for individuals.

Letter of support

Our Councillors have written to business leaders to show their support during the Coronavirus crisis and to encourage local firms to take up the financial support that will be available to them during these difficult and unprecedented times.

Read the letter sent to Torbay business leaders

Outstanding debts

If you currently have outstanding debts with us that have already been referred to enforcement agents for recovery, these debts are still recoverable and will remain with the enforcement agents. However, as the communities that we serve are our primary consideration, we have requested that all enforcement agent visits stop for the next 3 months.

During this time there will still be communications from the enforcement agents, but they will be delivered by other methods. All enforcement agency staff will be able to revise your circumstances to effectively assess your ability to pay, particularly with the restrictions on working and social distancing. This will enable an affordable payment plan, which could, in turn, offer breathing space and payment plans over longer terms.

With Government advice varying daily we will provide updates when situations change. But would like to advise customers to explore all financial support options that are available to them, ensuring that their financial circumstances does not worsen more than necessary if affected by issues related to COVID-19.

Debts with enforcement agents

We have been advised by our contracted Enforcement Agents that as of today 25 March 2020 they will closing their contact centres. Customers will still be able to make payments through 24/7 self-serve options, including online payments via the web, automated payment telephony lines and online bank transfers. They will continue to maintain a reduced telephony service customer care team and welfare support team to ensure that customers have some level of contact over the phone or via email and letters.

Additional resources and information

  • HMRC Tax hotline for businesses and self-employed individuals 0800 0159 559. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline to receive support with tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement.
  • The government’s coronavirus action plan provides detailed information about the government’s response
  • The government has put a range of support in place for those who do not receive Statutory Sick Pay, including Universal Credit and contributory Employment and Support Allowance
  • ACAS has published information for employees and employers, including simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff
  • A number of private lenders are also making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including £2 billion from Lloyds Banking Group, £5 billion from NatWest and £7 billion from Barclays 
  • Insurance claims: If the only barrier to your business making an insurance claim was a lack of clarity on whether the government advising people to stay away from businesses, rather than ordering businesses to shut down, was sufficient to make a claim on business interruption insurance the government’s medical advice of 16 March is sufficient to enable those businesses which have an insurance policy that covers both pandemics and government ordered closure to make a claim - provided all other terms and conditions in their policy are met. Businesses should check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers if in doubt.

Other support and networks