We recognise that these are very difficult times for businesses and residents within South Hams District and West Devon Borough Councils and it can often be hard to find all the information you need in one place to access support and help.

Understanding Business Need

The Councils have put together a fact sheet summarising all the various funding packages which have been announced by the Government and ways in which people can receive financial assistance.

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector will receive a business rates holiday for 2020/21 and we are working hard to rebill all eligible businesses as soon as possible. The revised business rates bill will show there is nothing to pay.

Cash grants of up to £25,000 are also being made available by the Government for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Businesses in these sectors, who on 11 March would have been eligible for the expanded retail discount scheme, with a rateable value of under £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

There is also a cash grant available of £10,000 for businesses who, on 11 March were eligible for small business rates relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs. 

In the next day or so, the Councils will send a letter by post to the business rates contact address of businesses who might be eligible for the cash grants. Please look out for this letter at your business rates contact address as it will contain a unique reference number to enable you to apply online. Eligible businesses will be asked to apply online on the Councils' websites in order for a payment to be made direct into their business bank account. The payment should be received by eligible businesses in early April.

There are also things you can do if you are struggling to pay bills like your rent, mortgage or energy bills because of Coronavirus. Our advice would be to speak to the organisation that you owe money to. They might be able to help you by letting you pay smaller amounts or taking a payment holiday. It is also worth checking with your bank or building society as they might be able to help you with your debts or let you delay loan or credit card repayments or have a payment holiday.

If you are not working because of Coronavirus, you might be able to claim benefits (the Universal Credit scheme) if you've lost your job or you're self employed and can't get work. What you can claim will depend on your situation.

The Government has also recently announced a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where the HMRC will reimburse 80% of employees' wages, up to £2,500 per month. The scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and is initially open for three months.  All UK-wide employers with a PAYE scheme will be eligible to apply.  HMRC expect the first grants to be paid within weeks and they are aiming to get this done before the end of April. If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

Details of all of the various types of support and financial assistance are on the Councils' website. Please keep an eye on our websites and social media for updates and announcements as they become available so that we can keep businesses and residents informed.

Go to Business Support Pages

Issued: 24 March 2020