Antoinette Sandbach - Eddisbury Liberal Democrats

COVID-19: Update on support measures for businesses and individuals affected by coronavirus

This posting provides an update on the continued roll-out of previously announced schemes for businesses and individuals and new support measures for those affected by COVID-19.

You can find information on the measures previously announced and links to the relevant guidance via the following links:

Information given is correct as at 4.00 p.m. on 2 April 2020.

 

Local Support and Assistance

Cheshire West and Chester Council

  • CWaC has set up a dedicated helpline 0300 123 7031 which is open 7 days a week between 00 a.m. and 7.00 p.m.
  • The helpline can provide advice and support and, where necessary, make arrangements for the delivery of food, medicines and social contact to support those vulnerable groups at higher risk from serious complications as a result of COVID 19 infection.
  • You can also contact the helpline by e-mail on enquiries@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.
  • More local information on coping at home during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found at livewell.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

Cheshire East Council

  • If you need help and support, you can either complete an online form or call the Customer Service Team on 0300 123 5034.
  • The helpline can provide advice and guidance, assistance with shopping or collecting medication/medical supplies, meal delivery, a friendly phone call or other support services.
  • If you have urgent concerns about a vulnerable adult or a child, you can call the adults safeguarding team on 0300 123 5010 or children's safeguarding team on 0300 123 5012 (option 3) during office hours. Out of hours, please call 0300 123 5022.
  • More information on self-isolation, activity ideas and exercises you can do at home, and  ways  in which you can help your community if you are not experiencing any symptoms or if you have recovered from the virus can be found in the Coronavirus Advice Booklet.

Thank You

It has been fantastic to see local businesses rising to the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and going above and beyond to help the local communities that they serve, whether it is our local farm shops and food producers working to fulfil orders and providing a delivery service for those self-isolating, or companies such as Weetwood Ales producing hand sanitiser from their stocks of alcohol to be distributed free of charge to those most in need in the local community. 

 

Businesses

Farming and Rural Businesses

 

Updated/detailed guidance

Further sources of information

  • The British Business Bank and The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) have expanded their offerings, creating a new Business Finance Guide website to help businesses which are facing financial and operational challenges, with a specific focus on improving the availability of cash to meet obligations within the business.
  • The British Chambers of Commerce website has a comprehensive COVID-19 hub collating information on the support available, frequently asked questions, resources and online events.
  • For those businesses that have yet to furlough staff, The Manufacturers’ Organisation (MakeUK) has published two template letters for employees (a Furlough Letter and Work Authorisation Letter) prepared by their HR and Legal Team which are free to use.

 

Individuals

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Company Directors

  • The Treasury have confirmed that Directors of Limited Companies, even if they are the only employee, are entitled to furlough their PAYE income but, as previously confirmed, there is no assistance available in respect of dividends.
  • You are not entitled to work for the Limited Company whilst you are furloughed; however, you can continue to perform your statutory obligations/duties as a Company Director.
  • You are entitled to claim Universal Credit, if eligible, whilst you are furloughed.

Annual Leave Carry Over

  • Under the amendments introduced by The Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 where it is not reasonably practicable for a worker to take some, or all, of the holiday to which they are entitled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, they have a right to carry forward up to 4 weeks unused leave into the next 2 leave years. This applies to all workers, not just key/critical workers
  • For further information, please see here.

Personal Finances

  • The Financial Conduct Authority has proposed a further package of temporary measures to complement measures already announced by the Government, including:
    • a payment freeze of up to 3 months on loans and credit cards where customers are experiencing difficulties as a result of COVID-19;
    • reduction in interest charged on arranged overdrafts on main personal current accounts with up to £500 charged at zero percent interest for up to 3 months;
    • require banks and building societies to ensure that overdraft customers are no worse off after the new overdraft rules come into force on 6 April 2020;
    • ensure that these measures do not affect customer’s credit ratings.
  • The proposals have gone out to consultation and, if confirmed, the measures would come into force on 9 April 2020.
  • You can find out further information regarding the supplementary measures on the FCA’s website. A further announcement is expected next week. 

Council Tax

  • If you are a CWaC resident and:
    • have seen a reduction in your income, you may now be eligible for a reduction in your Council Tax bill. To check if you are eligible and to make a claim, please visit the Council’s website;
    • are (i) vulnerable (households where: the applicant, partner or a dependent child is terminally ill; the applicant is under 25 on limited income; the applicant is an expectant mother or has a child under the age of 1 on a limited income) and (ii) still have Council Tax liability after having a further reduction on your bill automatically applied under the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, you can apply for further support under the Discretionary Hardship Payments Scheme. Further information and an application form are available on the Council website.
    • will have difficulties paying your Council Tax bill, CWaC are encouraging you to contact them at the earliest opportunity. There is an online form to enable you to request an arrangement to pay any outstanding Council Tax.  Alternatively, you can e-mail: counciltax@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk
  • If you are a CE resident and:
    • have seen a reduction in your income, you may now be eligible for a reduction in your Council Tax bill. To check if you are eligible and to make a claim, please visit the Council’s website;
    • if you are not eligible for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, you may be able to defer Council Tax payments until June or July. You can apply via this online form.
    • will have difficulties paying your Council Tax bill, you can contact the Council Tax Team via this online form.

Entertainment Packages

  • Following Sky’s announcement last week that Sky Sports customers can pause their subscriptions in the absence of any live sport, BT Sport have also now confirmed that clients can claim a one-month bill credit.  
  • Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert website has a useful guide as to how to pause/apply for a credit depending on your provider.

 

Updated/detailed guidance

  • The Government has now issued:
    • detailed guidance for landlords and tenants setting out the measures relating to notices seeking possession as amended by the Coronavirus Act 2020, court action in possession matters and property access and health and safety obligations during the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • updated and expanded guidance regarding school closures, provision for vulnerable children and children of key workers, arrangements for free school meals, including the introduction of the supermarket voucher scheme.

Further sources of information

 

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