COVID-19 Help & Support

Like all businesses, we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and responses from governments and local authorities.

We are aware of the devastating impact that this is having on tourism businesses across Moray Speyside.

The impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is being deeply felt throughout the tourism industry. Moray Speyside Tourism will do everything it can to support our region’s tourism industry during, and beyond this unprecedented time.

We are working with key partners at all levels of the industry and beyond to identify ways to assist, signpost and support your tourism business.

As it becomes available, this page will be updated with the latest information and advice to support Moray Speyside’s tourism businesses and their current and future visitors.


31st March – Update to Business Support Grants

Detailed Guidance has been issued to Local Councils regarding the eligibility criteria for the Small Business Grant Scheme & Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Funds. Scottish Government have extended the business support grants to include both self-catering operators and caravans.

The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/local-government-finance-circular-5-2020-covid-19-grant-funding-schemes/

Moray Council’s Grant Application process is now OPEN for applications from all other eligible businesses.

An updated Application Form will be published later today to reflect the inclusion of self-catering etc. 

Full details can be found on their website HERE

Moray Council have published an FAQ’s document which should answer many common questions – find it HERE

The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caters (ASSC) has written to the Finance Secretary to outline two main concerns around the eligibility criteria for access to the Grant Funding Scheme for self-caterers.

  • The lack of parity of support with other self-caterers in the rest of the UK, outlining that this is a key component part of Scotland’s tourism offering compared to others in the UK.
  • Self-catering being designated as requiring additional eligibility compared to other small businesses in Scotland. Many other small businesses in Scotland are increasingly reliant on multiple sources of income.

See below for a very helpful Q&A produced by the ASSC. We urge you to engage with your MP and MSP to express your concerns.

Who is my MSP? / Who is my MP?

Self-Catering Support: Update for Members 29th March


Further guidance has been issued regarding the subsidy towards salary costs of their employees who otherwise would have been laid off.
27th March – Update to Wage Support / Job Retention Scheme 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least three months starting from 1 March 2020. We expect the scheme to be up and running by the end of April. It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Employers can use a portal to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage. Employers can use this scheme anytime during this period.

The scheme is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on 28 February 2020.

SEE DETAILED GUIDANCE 
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-schemeBusiness will be able to secure a subsidy towards the salary costs of their employees who otherwise would have been laid off. Called the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme employers will be able to secure up to 80% of the cost of an employee’s cost up to a maximum of £2500 per month per employee until end May 2020.

HMRC will deliver this wage subsidy. No detailed arrangements are yet available on how to apply.


Self Employed – Updated 26th March 2020

On the 26th March the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak announced a package to support the UK’s self-employed affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

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. And will see those eligible receive 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. HMRC will identify eligible taxpayers and contact them directly with guidance on how to apply. Further information and details of the scheme will be shared shortly by HMRC.

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.

The self employed income tax payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred without penalty or late payment interest until the 31 January 2021.
This is an automatic support and businesses do not need to apply.


Loans
If your business needs short term cash flow support a loan scheme is to be set up to support primarily small and medium-sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. Called the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the scheme will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% of a loan and businesses will be able to secure 12 months interest free repayments.

The British Business Bank will deliver this loan scheme. You should talk to your bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them. The scheme will be available from the week commencing 23 March 2020.


VAT
VAT payments have been deferred for three months from 20 March until end June 2020 and no VAT payments are needed during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the 5 April 2021 to pay any VAT liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.
This is an automatic support and businesses do not need to apply.


Sick Pay
Small-and medium-sized businesses and employers will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. They will be able to reclaim 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee. There will be no need to provide a Doctors Fit Note but employers need to maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP.

No detailed arrangements are yet available on how the repayment mechanism will work and how to apply.


Outstanding Tax
If businesses and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have existing outstanding tax liabilities, they are encouraged to contact HMRC as they may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.


Non Domestic Rates: Rates Relief
All non-domestic properties in Scotland will get a 1.6% rates relief. You do not need to apply for this relief and it will be applied to your bill. Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will get 100% rates relief. To get this relief, a property has to be occupied.

If you’re struggling to pay your non-domestic rates bill you should contact Moray Council’s NDR Team and ask them about your payment options. Please note however, there is no requirement to make a payment toward your business rates account until 30 September 2020, this is without any penalty, interest or charge.


Scottish Government – Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: First Minister’s speech 22nd March 2020

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-update-first-ministers-speech-22-march-2020/

UK Government – COVID-19 – Support for Businesses – Updated 20th March
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses?fbclid=IwAR2zQjfurDas9iI_RoQlyQ8BaldRkUGaz8xqr3rOtAuOF94nPXNdXun-0Ww


Useful Links

Moray Council COVID-19 Information for Businesses
http://www.moray.gov.uk/moray_standard/page_132568.html

Scottish Government – Full guidance on staying at home

https://www.gov.scot/news/effective-lockdown-to-be-introduced/

UK Government – Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others

Scottish Government – Non-Domestic Rates Help (includes details of business types eligible for financial support)
https://www.mygov.scot/non-domestic-rates-coronavirus/

Scottish Government – COVID-19: support for businesses
https://news.gov.scot/news/gbp-2-2-billion-for-business

COVID-19: STA Daily Update
https://scottishtourismalliance.co.uk/sta-update/

Visit Scotland: COVID-19 Help & Advice for Businesses
https://www.visitscotland.org/supporting-your-business/advice/coronavirus

Visit Britain: COVID-19 Help & Advice for Businesses
https://www.visitbritain.org/covid-19-new-coronavirus-latest-information-and-advice-for-businesses

SSP Guide for Employers:
https://www.bgateway.com/resources/information-on-statutory-sick-pay

Financial Help for Self Employed
https://www.bgateway.com/resources/advice-for-self-employed

Health Protection Scotland
https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/

VisitScotland

Advice For Event Organisers
https://www.visitscotland.org/events/advice-materials/coronavirus

Scottish Chambers of Commerce COVID-website
https://www.scottishchambers.org.uk/press-releases/businesssupportcovid19/

Scottish Enterprise COVID-19 Helpline

Open Mon-Fri between 8.30am – 5.30pm – providing businesses with advice and guidance.
0300 303 0660 – callers should select option 1 to speak to the COVID-19 team

Tax helpline to support businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)
0800 0159 559

HMRC

HMRC have a specific helpline for those struggling because of Covid-19:- 0800 015 9559 

https://www.gov.uk/difficulties-paying-hmrc

Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group
Outcomes of the meeting
 –
https://mailchi.mp/stalliance/coronavirus-17-march