Financial Scheme information
This is an unprecedented time for all self-employed businesses across Somerset. To mitigate the financial hardships caused by Coronavirus (Covid 19), the government have created tailored financial support packages. Details of these can be found below.
The government has also launched a Business Coronavirus Support Finder to quickly help businesses determine what financial support is available for themselves or their business.
If you are affected by Coronavirus you can claim Universal Credit, providing you meet the usual eligibility criteria. From 6 April the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed. This change will last for the duration of the outbreak. New claimants will not need to attend the Job Centre to demonstrate gainful self-employment. Please apply online on the Universal Credit website as phone lines are currently incredibly busy.
Support for Rent Costs
Support for rental costs will be paid through Universal Credit. From April, Local Housing Allowance rates will increase to the 30th percentile of market rents. This applies to all private renters who are new or existing Universal Credit housing element claimants and to existing Housing Benefit claimants.
Council Tax Support
If you’ve made a claim for Universal Credit and told the DWP that you have a Council Tax liability, they will send your information direct to your district council. This will be processed once they receive confirmation of your Universal Credit award directly from DWP.
If you have not claimed Universal Credit and need help paying Council Tax, contact your district council to claim Council Tax Support. And if you are still struggling to pay after your local district council has awarded this, apply to your district council for further help.
This fund provides all district council customers of working age, who qualify for Council Tax Support during the 2020/21 financial year, to receive an additional reduction of up to £150 for the year. If you have less than £150 to pay on your Council Tax bill after any other discounts and Council Tax Support has been applied, then a hardship fund award will reduce your bill to zero. If the balance to pay is more than £150, a hardship fund award of £150 will be credited to your Council Tax account. You do NOT need to claim this reduction.
The VAT deferral new payment scheme has now closed. Find out about VAT payments deferred between 20 March and 30 June 2020.
Time to Pay
All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. You can find out more here.
Other Finance Options
Several private lenders are also making funds available to the self-employed who have been impacted by COVID-19, including £2 billion from Lloyds Banking Group and £5 billion from NatWest. A range of finance can also be accessed through the government-owned British Business Bank.
Information and Assistance
Free information, support and advice for those needing help during Coronavirus can be obtained from:
Heart of the South West Growth Hub
You can also find free support, advice and information on sources of finance and help with homeworking through your local Heart of the South West Growth Hub.
GOV.UK Business Support
Get coronavirus (COVID-19) support for your business or if you’re self-employed, and find out how to keep your business and your employees safe on the GOV.UK Business Support website
Financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19) – Find out what financial support you can get for your business
HMRC Covid Helpline
HMRC have additional helplines, including one set up to support businesses concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus on 0800 0159 559. You can find more details about contacting HMRC online.
The charity Mind provide advice on how to support your mental wellbeing during this difficult period. The Mind website includes practical advice on coping with staying at home and updates on how the new coronavirus laws could affect your rights. There is also useful information for any young person who is currently struggling.
Contact the debt charity Step Change to get expert debt advice and fee-free debt management to help you tackle your debts. You can find out more on their website or phone 0800 138 1111