COVID-19 LATEST NEWS AND INFORMATION

30 March 2020
To all of our valued partners,

Information is changing daily, if not hourly, so we have provided links below to sites providing invaluable advice and guidance for you and your businesses.

Furthermore, for those who are members of the Fine Art Trade Guild (FATG), you can access the FATG UK Legal Helpline, provided by Quest. To access support either call 0116 243 7608 or go online at https://fineart.questcover.com. You will need your login username and password.

UK Government support

If you have to furlough employees (send them home with no work or pay) there are grants for small businesses for 80% of recent salaries up to £2500. Visit the gov.uk websites as above regularly for instructions on when and how to apply.

For self-employed people there will be access to funding of up to 80% of average profits. If your small business is a limited company and you are paid in part by PAYE and part by dividends you should be eligible to claim 80% of the PAYE portion of your income under the scheme for employees.

There are a number of rate relief schemes and grants which will be paid to businesses who qualify for small business rate relief (SBRR) or rural rate relief (RRR). These will depend upon your rateable value which you will find on your recent bill from your council. You can also see what reliefs, if any, apply to your business. NB Transitional or revaluation small business rate relief is not the same as SBRR and does not qualify for support. In most cases councils will apply these automatically.

If staff are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms and need to claim sick pay or they are self-isolating, they can download a sick note here: 111.nhs.uk/isolation-note

Business Interruption Loans
In the UK, the Chancellor announced that a ‘Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme’ (CBILS) will temporarily replace the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG), becoming available over the coming weeks.

The British Business Bank’s CBILS facilitates business finance to smaller businesses that are viable but unable to obtain finance due to having insufficient security to meet the lender’s normal requirements. The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt.  https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/supporting-business-loans-enterprise-finance-guarantee/

The Business Bank is working fast to accredit new lenders into the scheme, so again, return to the site regularly as new sources of finance open up, including some regional funds.

For artists
You may have heard headlines that the Arts Council has made a fund of £20M available to support individual artists and makers, however you must have a track record of publicly funded culture to qualify. For more information: artscouncil.org.uk/covid19

The Artists General Benevolent Fund is able to make small grants to support individual artists who fall on hard times: email info@agbi.org.uk

Business Interruption Insurance
If you have elected to take this additional cover as part of your policy you may or may not be covered depending on the specific wording of your policy.

Most insurers set out a list of specific notifiable diseases that are covered under this section. COVID-19 will not be present as it was unknown until recently. Therefore, there would be no cover under such wordings.

However, some covers are written on a non-specified basis; under this form of wording, as COVID-19 is now a notifiable disease. Business Interruption loss arising as a direct result of the disease affecting the business would typically be covered.

Some policies include a ‘non-damage denial of access’ extension. If your business is forced to close or is told to close by a local authority/cordoned off, you may be able to make a claim under this extension. It is important to note that a lot of policies require there to be an outbreak at the business premises or within a specified proximity of the business premises for you to be able to make a claim.

Ireland
The Irish government is responding quickly in developing support for small businesses
https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation/department-of-employment-affairs-and-social-protection/?referrer=/deasp/
https://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/about-us/services/covid-19/

A temporary wage subsidy of 70% of take home pay up to a maximum weekly tax free amount of €410 per week to help affected companies keep paying their employees. This is the equivalent of €500 per week before tax

Workers who have lost their jobs due to the crisis will receive an enhanced emergency Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 per week (an increase from €203)

The Covid-19 illness payment will also be increased to €350 per week

Self-Employed will be eligible for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 directly from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (rather than the Revenue scheme)

Revenue and Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection will provide details to employers on how to apply.

Other additional supports for businesses announced include:

Deferral of Business Rates: the Government has agreed with local authorities that they should defer rates payments due from the most immediately affected businesses, primarily in the retail, hospitality, leisure and childcare sectors, until the end of May.

Taxation Measures to alleviate short-term difficulties: Revenue has also posted specific advice for businesses experiencing trading difficulties as a result of COVID-19 including information on tax returns, the application of late payment interest, debt enforcement, tax clearance and customs.

As always, thank you for your continued custom and we look forward to working with you all in the (hopefully) not too distant future.  We hope you, your teams and respective families remain heathy during this difficult period.

Stay Safe

The Larson-Juhl UK team
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