UPDATED 4th May

UCLan Propeller are offering  guidance to UCLan students, staff and alumni regarding business support during the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak.

The Governments support so far in these difficult times has been unprecedented and a  clear message has been relayed for employees and large business organisations around the support and help available, however due in main to the complexities of small business, sole traders and freelancers the message from government is much more confusing.

Propeller have a team of experienced business advisors that have been working in this sector for many years and have been supporting many businesses in the last few weeks around the COVID-19 difficulties.

Propeller are offering 1:1 meetings via, phone or Teams to discuss any support or business questions that may arise. Please email teampropeller@uclan.ac.uk and one our team will contact you asap.

Some commonly asked questions are answered below.

INCOME SUPPORT

Those earning an average profit up to £50,000 over the last 3 years can apply for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

If you haven’t filed your 2018-19 tax return do it now.

If you earned less than £5,000 you may still be entitled to a payment; however, it will come out at the same as claiming Universal Credit.

  • Can I claim if I receive payments as an employee elsewhere? No.
  • How do I apply? You don’t need to apply, HMRC will contact you if you are eligible from May 13th.
  • How much will I receive? You will receive 80% of your profit. For example, if you earned an average of £5,000, you will receive £4,000.
  • When will I receive this money? Payments will be made in 1 lump sum in June.
  • What do I do up until June? You will still be able to apply for Universal Credit and Business Continuity Loans.
  • Do I have to pay it back? No, this is a grant.

You can also apply for a loan.

  • From the 4th of May, Business Bounce Back Loans can offer between £2,000-£50,000 and up to 25% of revenue to businesses with less than 10 employees, 100% guaranteed and available in a few days. This is a loan and you will have to pay it back. There will be no interest or fees for the first 12 months.

What should I do if I have earned less than £5,000 each year?

  • Apply for Universal Credit.
  • If it is safe to do so, continue working.
  • If you use shared workspace (such as the Propeller Hub) or are a market trader, you may be able to claim from a Local Business Grant Fund.
  • From the 4th of May, Business Bounce Back Loans can offer between £2,000-£50,000 and up to 25%  of revenue to businesses with less than 10 employees, 100% guaranteed and available in a few days. This is a loan and you will have to pay it back. There will be no interest or fees for the first 12 months.

What if I only started trading after April 2020?

Can I still work?

  • Yes! If you can do so safely and following the rules of social distancing, you can still earn an income.

Universal Credit

  • Can full-time students receive Universal Credit? If you don’t already receive benefits, then this is unlikely during term-time. Find out how student finance effects your circumstances here.
  • How much am I likely to receive? Those with loss of income can receive £95 a week (£413 a month), available immediately. You may be eligible for more on top of that: Use a calculator to find out

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

  • Loans of up to £5,000,000 are available from accredited lenders and banks.
  • Companies must generate 50% of their turnover from trade. Check eligibility.
  • You will have to pay it back. Repayment schemes are available up to 6 years.
  • The first 12 months will be interest free.

What about my employees?

  • If they can work from home, make arrangements for them to do so.
  • If you are receiving public funding you are expected to use this to pay them.
  • If they cannot work from home, consider furloughing them, so they are kept on the payroll when not working. Apply for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. HMRC will then pay the other 80% up to the value of £2,500 a month.
  • How do I apply? The option became available on the 20th of April. Go to your HMRC account.
  • Businesses, and agents that are authorised to act on behalf of clients for PAYE matters, will be able to claim. However, file only agents, including Payroll Bureaus, will not be able access the service due to data protection reasons.
  • You will need: National Insurance number, salary, National Insurance and pension contribution information that allows business to calculate the claim amount.
  • You can also reclaim the cost of 2 weeks’ Statutory Sick Pay for employees that have been ill or told to self-isolate from 13th

WHAT IF I HAVE PHYSICAL BUSINESS PREMISES?

  • If you work in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors (or are a nursery) you will not have to pay business rates for 2020-21. These sectors will also be given grants from their local authorities in England.
  • If you use shared workspace (such as the Propeller Hub) or are a market trader, you may be able to claim from a Local Business Grant Fund
  • Small Business Grant Funding of £10,000 is available to small businesses that receive small business rate relief (SBRR) or rural rate relief (RRR). If you are eligible, contact your local authority.

WHAT IF I CAN’T PAY…

Moneysavingexpert.com has a comprehensive list of advice. Make a list of all the payments you have going out and get in touch with the suppliers or lenders. Many of them will offer support.

If they have an online portal, this should be your first step, but for many you will end up on the phone. Please be patient with whoever’s on the other end of the phone. They are trying their best and genuinely want to help you.

What if I can’t pay my rent/mortgage?

  • You can’t get evicted for at least 3 months, but you should talk to your landlord about setting up a repayment plan as you will still owe them this money. If you have a mortgage, you can ask your lender for a 3-month ‘holiday’.

What if I can’t pay my overdraft fees, loans or credit cards?

  • Speak to the bank. Many banks can help you develop a repayment plan, which may involve reduced payments, payment holidays, emergency credit or waived fees.

What if I can’t afford my bills?

  • Energy suppliers have suspended disconnections, so you won’t be cut off. Contact your supplier to find out what support they can offer. As for council tax, some councils are offering payment holidays.
  • If you are on a pre-payment meter, some suppliers are offering emergency credit or sending out top-up cards through the mail.

 What if I can’t pay my business’s tax?

  • Contact the HMRC Time to Pay You may be able to receive a payment holiday or pay at a reduced rate.
  • If you owe less than £10,000 through self-assessment, you can set up a payment plan through your online account.
  • The payment deadline for 2019-20 has now been deferred, so you do not need to pay until January 2021.

Our mentors are here to help you through this, so if you have any concerns get in touch and they can speak to you about how to move forward. Stay safe, everyone!