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Small Businesses: Government Assistance

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 31440, tabled on 18 March 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to support independent convenience store (a) owners and (b) workers affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered on

30 March 2020

The Chancellor has announced an unprecedented package of Government-backed and guaranteed loans to support UK businesses. For example, from 1 April 2020 businesses of all sizes in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors will pay no business rates in England for 12 months. In addition to the Small Business Grant Scheme, we will also provide small businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors with a higher grant of £25,000 per business, if they have a rateable value of under £51,000.

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access financial support, so they can continue to pay their employees’ salaries where they may otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the payroll, otherwise described as furloughed workers. The Government will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month to safeguard workers from being made redundant.

On 26 March, the Chancellor announced the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, which will support individuals and members of partnerships whose income has negatively been impacted by the Coronavirus. HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The Scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000.

We have also made changes to the welfare system, increasing Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by £1,000 a year. We have suspended the minimum income floor for 12 months – meaning every self-employed person can now access Universal Credit at a rate that is equivalent to statutory Sick Pay.

Public Health England have published further advice for employers and employees regarding Covid-19 at:

Answered by

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy