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Businesses, employers and jobs

Last reviewed on 15 June

Advice for employers and business owners

We are working with our partners to ensure that local businesses are given the support and advice they need at this crucial time.

For the latest information and advice, business owners and self-employed people should read the government's business support portal.

The government has extended its Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, in which businesses can claim funding for furloughed staff's wages, until October. You can find out what you need to have before you claim, and how to claim.

The government has announced businesses will be given an additional three months to file accounts with Companies House, to help them avoid penalties as they deal with the impact of COVID-19.

HMRC have launched a tax helpline to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus. The number is 0800 0159 559 and find out more about what it can offer help with.

Here's a useful guide explaining what COVID-19 business support is available and how it can be accessed.

If you would like to speak to a member of our Business Liaison team, please contact adamsanderson@sthelens.gov.uk, phone: 07925 361456.

Business grants for small businesses

The government has announced three schemes to support businesses:

1) Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund

To qualify for this grant you must be liable for business rates on 11 March 2020, have a rateable value below £51,000 and qualify for the expanded retail hospitality leisure relief scheme - www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-retail-discount-guidance.

Hereditaments used for personal use and car parks are excluded from the scheme, as are dissolved or liquidated companies or business that have received a Small Business Grant Fund. Eligible businesses will be entitled to one grant per property of either a:

  • £10,000 grant for properties with a rateable value of up to and including £15,000; or
  • £25,000 grant for properties with a rateable value above £15,000 and below £51,000.

Properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or greater are not eligible for support under this scheme.
The council has written to eligible business asking them to apply.  If you have not received your application form please email CovidBusinessGrant@sthelens.gov.uk detailing your account number and property address. 

If you have recently moved into a property or have not received a business rates bill this year then please contact BusinessRates@sthelens.gov.uk or call 01744 675264.

2) Small Business Grant Fund

To qualify for the Small Business Grant Fund, your business must be liable for business rates on 11 March 2020 and be in receipt of small business rates relief (SBRR). Visit www.gov.uk/apply-for-business-rate-relief/small-business-rate-relief for further information on whether you qualify for SBRR.

Hereditaments used for personal use, car parks and companies in liquidation or are dissolved cannot receive a grant.  Eligible businesses will be entitled to one £10,000 grant per property. The council has written to all eligible business asking them to apply.  If you have not received your application form please email CovidBusinessGrant@sthelens.gov.uk detailing your account number and property address.

If you have recently moved into a property or have not received a business rates bill this year then please contact BusinessRates@sthelens.gov.uk or telephone 01744 675264 to confirm that our records are up to date.

3) Discretionary Top Up Grant Fund

The Discretionary Top Up Grant Scheme is now open for St Helens. View full eligibility information and apply for the fund.

Coronavirus Bounce Back Loans

The Government announced on April 27 a new loan scheme for small and medium sized businesses who can get loans between £2,000 and £50,000. Find out more and which banks are offering the loans.

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Scheme

Businesses with fewer than 250 staff can apply to recover the costs of paying for coronavirus-related staturtory sick pay for two weeks. Find information on how to apply.

Loan scheme for large businesses

It was announced on 17 April that the government-backed loan scheme for large businesses affected by coronavirus has been expanded to cover all viable firms. Now, all viable businesses with turnover of more than £45m will be able to apply for government-backed support.

This complements existing support including the Covid Corporate Financing Facility and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. More details of this announcement can be found at https://bit.ly/loanschemeext.

Support for self-employed people

The government announced on 26 March that people who are self-employed can benefit from a self-employment tax grant worth 80 per cent of their earnings based on their average monthly income over the last three years up to a value of £2,500.

The payments will be made to those who have a 2019 self-assessment tax return and the Government is allowing those who did not submit their January tax return four weeks to send it in to potentially be included. The scheme is open to people who have a taxable profit of up to £50,000 a year.

Those eligible will be contacted directly by HMRC who will ask for further information and anyone qualifying will be paid directly.

The tax grant will be available for up to three months with the potential to be extended further if need be. Payment will be made in June.

The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund for 18 to 30-year-olds

The £5million Enterprise Relief Fund will offer grants to 18 to 30-year olds across the UK who are self-employed and/or running their own business. Find out more 

Business Rates Relief

Eligible businesses in retail, leisure and hospitality and childcare nurseries will receive a 100 per cent business rate relief in 2020-21. 

Other guidance for businesses

Please see St Helens Chamber and the Liverpool City Region's Growth Platform for a suite of resources and support for local businesses.

Any business can also obtain advice and assistance from the Growth Hub, please call 01744 742444 or email your concerns to growthhub@sthelenschamber.com.

Advice for employees

Read the government's guidance for employees affected by coronavirus, including information on working from home and sick pay.

Advice if you have been made redundant or need to contact job centres

Job centres are now closed to visitors. Anyone wanting to make contact with their work coach or case manager is urged to do so through their online journals or call 01744 698059, 01744 698228 or 698145. 

You can find out more about Universal Credit online for those looking to apply.

Any St Helens resident who requires help and support getting back into employment as a result of the ongoing coronavirus situation, please contact our Ways to Work Team for advice and guidance. Email waystowork@sthelens.gov.uk or call 01744 676131.

The National Careers Service (NCS) for St Helens is available to assist newly laid off or individuals under notice of redundancy. Call National Careers Service for more information on 01744 698800.

Support for social businesses

A fund of £65,000 of business support for community and social businesses to help them cope with the impact of COVID-19 has been launched by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. More information will be available shortly on how to apply.

In these difficult times, businesses are finding new ways to support residents through no-contact deliveries, online sessions and much more to help people stay safe and stay at home.

We're maintaining a list of the businesses who are offering these options. If you know of a business not on the list,  please email mediateam@sthelens.gov.uk.

Guidance for food and drink businesses

Many local food and drink businesses are now offering delivery services where they haven’t before.

We’ve published some guidance on our website to ensure properly registered businesses can diversify safely, on everything from food preparation and handling to contact-free payment and delivery.

Our licensing team can also provide information and support if you're an alcohol/entertainment business or a taxi driver.

For advice on financial support for businesses, visit www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support.

Households into Work is a unique and innovative programme of support for people living in households across the Liverpool City Region, who because of their circumstances have difficulty finding and sustaining employment.

Working with you, your family and your friends for up to one year, we provide personalised support as well as connecting you with services that will eventually help move you closer to work.

Email hiw@sthelens.gov.uk or phone 07802 378918.

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