Last Updated: 8 October
The Government has a created an unprecedented set of support measures to help companies and individuals through these challenging times. Good quality information is the first thing we need to help us find a way through any financial difficulties we might have.
If you are a local business the first point of call for emergency measures announced by the government to support businesses is:
On the Government page you will find details about
Funding and Support available from Government
Help for Self-Employed and Sole Traders
Your responsibility as an Employer
How to run your business safely.
The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
You may also wish to check
The same website also includes details on the Self Employment Income Support Scheme announced on 26th March.
This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.
You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:
- Have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
- Traded in the tax year 2019-20
- Are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
- Intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
- Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19
- Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000
Here in Congleton those businesses that are members of the East Cheshire Chamber of Commerce are receiving updates via the Chamber. If you are a member and wish to contact them for support and advice email firstname.lastname@example.org
Inevitably there will still be some individuals affected who are not covered by any of the measures above. However, there will still be actions you can take to minimise your outgoings and protect your income.
If you run a small business or are a sole trader, the Association of Independent Professionals and Self Employed have advice on their website including up to date information related to the postponement of IR35. They are also petitioning Government to create a temporary income protection fund for the self-employed. They are holding webinars to run through how to apply for the relevant schemes, click here.
The Federation of Small Businesses also has up to date advice for SMEs and the self-employed including a useful webinar. If you are an artist or creative arts professional there may also be support available via the Arts Council.
With regard to our personal and domestic finances Martin Lewis’s highly regarded Money Saving Expert website is a good first call to help you understand the implications on things as wide ranging as rent payments, mortgage payments, credit cards bills and travel insurance. This website is regularly updated including this very helpful blog, click here.
It is also good practice to talk to your bank or building society as early as possible to make sure that any overdraft or borrowing you might incur is formally arranged and at the lowest possible cost. All the main banks and building societies now have online application processes for mortgage and loan payments holidays. Tenants in rented accomodation are now also protected by special government guidance which means that no renter can be forced out of their home during the current crisis, click here.
Here in Congleton we also have the Congleton Community Credit Union. If you are a member of the Credit Union you are eligible for small, short term loans at preferential interest rates. However, you must have been saving with them for 12 weeks to be eligible. You can contact the credit union at email@example.com
Similarly, if you think you may be unable to meet any income tax liabilities, contact HMRC as early as possible, as you may be eligible for their Time to Pay Service.
For many, our Council Tax Bill is one of our largest domestic bills and Cheshire East have now confirmed support for those that need to defer their council tax payments or may be eligible for further relief. If you are already receiving Council Tax Support you will receive an additional £150 deduction per annum.
If we are spending more time at home our energy usage may well go up and so it is a good time to review who we use as our energy provider by using one of the many market comparison sites such as USwitch. If you don’t normally work from home but are doing so at the instruction of your employer you will be able to claim and additional £6 per week tax free allowance.
If you think you are going to have difficulty paying your current gas and electricity bills. The government has launched an emergency package with energy suppliers to ensure you don’t face any additional hardships in heating or lighting your home during the coronavirus outbreak. If you are struggling with money problems or are repaying a debt, options will include:
- Reviewing bill payment plans, including debt repayment plans
- Payment breaks or reductions in how much you pay
- Giving you greater time to pay
- In some cases access to hardship funds
No credit meters will be disconnected during the outbreak. If you think you can’t afford to pay for any extra gas or electricity used because you’re having to self-isolate at home, support will be available through your energy supplier. Your supplier must take into account how much you can afford and will explain your options. The OFGEM website has more information.
If you are a business finding it hard to pay your bills check out the Citizens Advice Small Business Guide
Local businesses should take a look at the latest information on the Cheshire East website regarding Business Support in the current COVID-19 crisis.
Local businesses should also look at Save The High Street for support in the current situation.
Many of our local charities and voluntary organisations will be working very hard to support the most vulnerable in the community and at the same time be worried about their financial security. Whilst some of the Government general measures will help charities there have also been some specific announcements of funding available for particular types of charity for example, The Princes Trust for farms and rural businesses serving rural communities, click here.
The National Lottery Community Fund for charities best placed to support those most affected by COVID-19 crisis and emergency grants under the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Congleton Town Council remains committed to supporting our local charitable organisations and their amazing volunteers and we will be boosting our grant scheme and working with other local grant providers to make access to more substantial grants available when they are most needed. We have also created the Congleton Community COVID-19 Fund to which any business or person can donate money securely to spport those in need. For further information you can contact us by email on: firstname.lastname@example.org
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