24 Mar 2020

Moray Business Resilience Forum established to support businesses through Covid-19 outbreak

A DEDICATED business forum has been established to support businesses through the Covid-19 outbreak.

Moray Business Resilience Forum has been set up to bring together private and public sector organisations to respond to the emerging issues being faced by the sector in light of the pandemic. The forum is led by Moray Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, with representation from the Leader of Moray Council, Richard Lochhead MSP, Douglas Ross MP, and private and public sector reps.

In a fast-moving situation, access to accurate information is vital for businesses, so the forum will bring together relevant information in one place for all partners to access.

The first support theme announced by the Scottish Government around Non- Domestic Rates relief is as follows:

  1. small firms receiving the small business bonus or rural relief will be eligible for a £10,000 grant
  2. a £25,000 grant for businesses in hospitality, leisure and retail whose buildings have a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000
  3. 12 months 100% rates relief for businesses in hospitality, leisure and retail.
  4. All non-domestic properties in Scotland will get a 1.6% rates relief.

The application form and the eligibility criteria have now gone live on Moray Council’s website.

Support has also been pledged UK-wide under the following schemes:

Business Interruption Loan Scheme

This scheme, due to be launched this week, and delivered by the British Business Bank, will support SMEs to access bank lending and overdrafts. The UK Government will provide an 80% guarantee on the loan up to £5 million. The loans are interest free for 12 months as the interest is covered by government.

To access these loans you must be a UK business with a turnover less than £45 million and meet British Business Bank eligibility criteria. For more information visit the British Business Bank website.

Corporate Financing Facility

This scheme allows larger business access to finance to cover short term liabilities. It will operate by the Bank of England buying commercial paper. Further information can be found on the bank’s website

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying 80% (up to a cap of £2500) of employees’ salaries who would otherwise have been laid off during the crisis.

All UK businesses are eligible and the support will be administered through HMRC, who are setting up a portal to enable registration and payments. There is not currently a date for the scheme going live, but additional information has been published on the UK Government’s website.

The UK Government recommends that businesses requiring support in the interim may be eligible for a business interruption loan. Scheme payments can be backdated to so this could bridge the gap.

Deferment of VAT and Income Tax payments

For businesses, VAT payments due on 20/03/20 will be deferred to 30/06/20.

For the self-employed, income tax payments due in July 2020 will be deferred until January 2021.

Rebate on Statutory Sick Pay

The government will bring forward legislation to enable employers to re-claim statutory sick pay paid by employers due to Covid-19.

Business Gateway

This is a challenging time for  businesses, and local support is available to help with a wide range of business matters during the Covid-19 outbreak. Business Gateway can help with business contingency planning, digital marketing, managing cash flow, dealing with suppliers and a lot more. The local office number is 01343 509138.

Moray Chamber of Commerce

Moray Chamber of Commerce is representing their members both nationally and locally through established networks. They are providing regular updates to members and helping non-members where they can.

Federation of Small Business

The Federation of Small Businesses is offering relevant and useful support and guidance to members and non-members through its dedicated business support hub.

Contact Information

Moray Council Press Office

pr@moray.gov.uk