We hope this directory of resources and links will be helpful as you work your way through the COVID-19 emergency. We will keep it updated with details of new support resources for businesses and publishers. If you would like to share anything that you have found particularly useful, please get in touch and we’ll add it here.

Last updated: Wednesday 2 December

 

Survey of impacts on IPG members

In October and November 2020 we surveyed members about the impacts of the pandemic on their businesses. You can read our analysis of the results, and the very interesting comments of our respondents, here.

 

Health and personal guidance

The NHS has a comprehensive and continually updated guide to COVID-19, symptoms, prevention, responses and much more. 

The government pools general coronavirus guidance and the latest requirements and restrictions here.

The government has detailed guidance to help employers and employees work safely during the pandemic if they return to workplaces, including social distancing. Specific guidance for office environments is here.  

  

Croner Business Support Helpline

The IPG’s Croner Business Support Helpline is available for free and unlimited advice about the impact of coronavirus on employment, legal, health and safety and other matters. Do take advantage of this service if you are unsure about anything.

Croner has also provided a useful coronavirus HR toolkit, including a guide to obligations, law and hygiene, an HR factsheet and a checklist for employers.

 

General business support and helplines

The best way to find out which grants, loans, tax relief and other forms of support you are eligible for is to use the government’s Support Finder tool. 

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has a helpline for any businesses in England. It has increased capacity during the crisis. The number is FREEPHONE 0800 998 1098.

Local coronavirus-related support in England is also being delivered via Growth Hubs—public and private sector partnerships steered by the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). To find your local Growth Hub, click here.

The Scottish government has a separate package of support for businesses, and a separate support helpline for businesses. The number is 0300 303 0660.

The Welsh government has a separate package of support and  business support helpline.  The number is 0300 060 3000.

Support for businesses in Northern Ireland is here. The Invest Northern Ireland helpline number is 0800 181 4422.

If you would like to give feedback on how COVID-19 is affecting businesses, the DBEIS would welcome your views. Email intel@beis.gov.uk.

If there is a business issue that you would like us to raise within government on your behalf, please email us.

 

Free business advice and training

In July the government set up a new Recovery Advice for Business Scheme. It gives small firms access to free one-to-one advice from advisers, on issues including recovery planning, accountancy, legal, marketing, recruitment and technology. To take part, businesses are asked to identify the help they need via a diagnostic tool, which will generate an action plan with links to resources and relevant advisers, who are being drawn from professional bodies and trade associations. You can access the scheme on the Enterprise Nation platform.

The government has a Small Business Leadership Programme that aims to give people strategic leadership skills to plan for the recovery and future of their business. The programme is fully funded, lasts ten weeks and is being delivered by a consortium of business schools. It is open to businesses with between five and 249 people that have been running for at least a year. Eligibility criteria and registration details are here.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy also has a Peer Networks programme for England. It brings together groups of individuals to work on common business issues, and provides expert facilitators to coordinate learning and improvements. It is delivered by the network of Growth Hubs in England, and is open to any small or medium sized business with more than five employees and a turnover of more than £100,000. Eligibility criteria, programme details and application information are here.

 

Coronavirus Job retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was set up to provide businesses with financial support to pay employees while they were not at work, and so protect their jobs. In early November, the government announced that the scheme would be extended until the end of March 2021. 

The scheme gives employees 80% of their salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. Businesses have flexibility to bring employees back to work on a part-time basis, and will pay National Insurance and pension contributions. The rate of contributions that employers are asked to make will be reviewed in January 2021. 

This is the government’s starting point for claiming under the Job Retention Scheme. There is a step-by-step guide to claiming for wages under the scheme.

This tool helps you calculate how much you can claim under the furloughing scheme, and this is a guide to the eligibility of staff for the scheme, how much you can claim, the things you need to do to claim and the restrictions on staff on furlough.

For employees, there is an online checker tool to see if businesses are able to place you on furlough. There is also advice about what you can and can’t do while on furlough, and what to do if you do not wish to go on furlough.

A template for businesses claiming for 100 or more employees can be downloaded here.

If you think you may have claimed too much or not enough under the scheme, guidance is here.

 

Job Support Scheme

When the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme comes to an end, it is due to be replaced by the Job Support Scheme.

Companies will continue to pay employees for the time they work, but the cost of any hours not worked will be divided between employers and the government, up to a cap.

To qualify, employees will have to work for at least 20% of their normal working hours to qualify. Employers must pay wages for these hours plus 5% of unworked hours, while the government will pay for 62% of unworked hours, to a cap of £1,541.75 per month.

You do not need to have participated in the Job Retention Scheme to take part in this one. Employees can cycle in and out of the scheme and do not have to follow the same pattern each month. There will be no restrictions on eligibility for small and medium sized businesses, though the HMRC will be making checks.

 

Kickstart Scheme

The government has also launched a Kickstart Scheme that encourages employers to take on young members of staff. Funding is available to pay 100% of the National Minimum Wage for up to 25 hours of work a week, plus associated NI and pension contributions, and employers can top up this money if they wish. Participants must be aged 16 to 24 and be claiming Universal Credit.

You can check eligibility and apply for funding under the Kickstart Scheme here.

Applications for the scheme are for a minimum of 30 placements, but smaller employers can apply through a third party. Some IPG members have participated in a group application, so please email us if you would like further guidance.

If you are unsure about any aspect of the scheme, the Croner Business Support Helpline can help.

 

Workplaces and reopening offices

The government has a tool to help businesses in England carry out risk assessments, adjust workplaces and comply with legal responsibilities to protect employees. You can find it here.

There is a separate risk assessment tool to help businesses decide if employees should return to work at this point. The government suggests that employers share it with employees as part of the return-to-work process.

The IPG Skills Hub has some excellent guidance for reopening offices safely from Jane Mann of Fox Williams LLP. It sets out steps to take to open safely, including a round-up of relevant legislation, government instructions to follow and documentation to prepare. 

The Health and Safety Executive has an extensive guide to working safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The HSE also has risk assessment templates and examples, and a short guide to talking to employers about preventing the spread of Covid-19.

After carrying out a risk assessment, a notice is available for display to show that you have complied with all necessary guidance.

The government has detailed guidance for reporting outbreaks of coronavirus in workplaces. It includes instructions for what to do to recognise and report outbreaks.

The government’s Test and Trace system also has implications for employers. There is specific guidance for workplaces, including the role of employers and advice for employees. 

 

‘Bounce back’ micro loans

A ‘Bounce Back’ micro loans scheme is available for small businesses seeking funding. 

It provides loans of up to 25% of turnover, with a minimum of £2,000 and a maximum of £50,000. They are to be 100% backed by the government, and interest and fees will be paid for the first 12 months. No repayments are due during the first year.  The government has promised a simple application process with seven questions, and swift transfers of loans to bank accounts.

The deadline for applications for loans is the end of January 2021. The length of the loan is six years, but you can repay early without paying a fee.

Any business that has taken out a Bounce Back Loan but borrowed less than it was entitled to can top up the loan at a later date. It can be for any amount to the maximum of 25% of turnover or £50,000. Top-ups must be requested by the end of January 2021.

Applications for the loans can be made here. 

 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

This scheme is open to sole traders, freelancers, body corporates, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships or other legal entity carrying out business activities in the UK. British Business Bank has full details of the scheme and how to apply. It is accessible regardless of whether a business has access to regular commercial funding or not.

The scheme offers access to loans and other kinds of finance worth up to £5m. Loans are made via around 40 accredited lenders. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months. The scheme is open to any business based in the UK with a turnover of up to £45m.

The deadline for applications for loans is the end of January 2021.

This is an overview of the scheme. 

British Business Bank also has a useful list of FAQs about the scheme, and an eligibility checklist.

This is a list of accredited loan lenders, who should be the first point of contact for loan applications.

There has been some confusion over whether lenders require personal guarantees for loans. The government has clarified that lenders should not be requesting any sort of personal guarantee on loans under £250,000. It says it has made changes to the process to ensure faster delivery of loans.

 

Late payment support

The Small Business Commissioner is offering advice and help if you are trying to recover money owed to you. Its website has general advice for chasing invoices, checking contracts and calculating interest, plus case studies of how it has helped.

You can contact the Small Business Commissioner here.

 

Corporate Financing Facility

The Covid Corporate Financing Facility was set up by the Bank of England to buy short-term debt from large companies. The Bank has details of eligibility and practicalities of applying.

 

Self-employment support scheme

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme was set up to provide grants to self-employed individuals or partnerships.

The Scheme is providing support in two grants for three-month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021.

The first grant, for November 2020 to January 2021, will provide 80% of trading profits for the three-month period, paid in a single instalment and capped at £7,500.

The value of the second grant, for the three months from February to April 2021, is to be reviewed.

Details of the scheme and how to apply are here. Applications for the November-to-February grant will open in late November.

If you have been overpaid, made a mistaken claim, were not eligible or would like to make a voluntary repayment, guidance is here.

Self-employed people will be eligible for other government support including Universal Credit. 

 

International trade

The Department for International Trade has issued guidance for UK businesses trading overseas during the crisis.

DIT can help in particular with advice on business continuity, IP issues, customs clearances and finding alternative supply chain partners in its network. You can access a special support team by emailing COVID19@trade.gov.uk.

For support with business projects overseas, DIT recommends contacting the nearest UK embassy or consulate. You can search for those here.

UK Export Finance says it can help with international cash flow by guaranteeing loans through the Export Working Capital Scheme.

UKEF offers an insurance policy that can help you recover the costs of fulfilling orders that are terminated by events beyond your control. It can also support finance for overseas buyers via the Direct Lending Facility scheme.

The government updates its advice about international travel here.

 

Tax

A helpline is available to provide support to businesses with questions or concerns about their tax liabilities. If you have concerns about forthcoming tax payments, you are encouraged to call HMRC, who will agree arrangements on a case-by-case basis. The helpline number is 0800 024 1222, and it is open from 8am to 4pm from Monday to Friday. 

VAT payments for the period between 20 March and 30 June can be deferred. There is the option to make payments in 11 installments in the 2021 to 2022 financial year, and no interest will be charged. Full details of VAT support are here.

For those with HMRC self-assessment arrangements, payments for June 2020 have been deferred. In September the government announced an additional 12-month extension on the ‘Time to Pay’ self-service facility, meaning payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022

An HMRC webinar to help businesses and individuals with the issue of VAT and self-assessment tax deferrals is here.

 

Sick pay and holiday pay

The government has issued guidance on claiming back Statutory Sick Pay that has been paid to employees who are not working due to coronavirus. It includes of eligibility for the scheme and the records you must keep. The scheme covers full and part time employees, plus those on agency and flexible contracts. A guide to eligibility for the scheme is here. 

You can submit claims under the scheme here. The list of what you need to do so is here.

Guidance on certifying absence from work for sickness or to look after a dependent is here. A guide to getting isolation notes is here.

The government has issued detailed guidance about employers’ responsibilities on holiday entitlement and pay during the pandemic.

 

Universal Credit

Universal Credit benefits and eligibility have changed because of the coronavirus crisis. People who need help working out eligibility and navigating the system should start here.

 

Working from home

If you find yourself working from home for the first time, this blog shares some advice from the IPG team.

This blog has tips about managing home workers.

The government has compiled some general advice about cyber security and preventing fraud and data breaches during the lockdown.

The National Cyber Security Centre has advice for keeping home workers’ IT secure and staying alert to coronavirus-related scams.

This is a guide to the expenses that are taxable if you or your employees are working from home due to COVID-19.

 

Wellbeing

MIND has some very good resources to help if you have wellbeing concerns for yourself or others, including planning for staying indoors, connecting with people and keeping relaxed and stimulated.

The IPG Skills Hub has a detailed resource to help with general work-related stress.

 

The Book Trade Charity

If you work in the book trade and are in urgent need of financial help, The Book Trade Charity may be able to help. Email info@btbs.org in confidence.

 

Accounts

Companies House is giving businesses that need it a three-month extension to their deadline for filing accounts. This is the guidance for extending your filing deadline.

Until 10 October, Companies House has paused the strike-off process to prevent companies from being dissolved if they have not updated their records. It will resume strike-offs after that date. Guidance is here.

 

Insolvency

Businesses in financial difficulty can apply for a moratorium under the new Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act. It is intended to give struggling businesses breathing space in which to develop rescue plans and restructuring options, without the pressure of insolvency proceedings from creditors. The moratorium lasts 20 business days with the possibility of extension, and is managed by a monitor from a licenced insolvency practice. Details are here. Companies must supply notice of a moratorium to Companies House. The details of the process are here.

 

#IndiePubBoost

On Twitter, Sam Missingham has created the #indiepubboost hashtag to help users mutually promote independent publishers’ books at this time.

 

Voluntary, community and social enterprise support

If you would like to offer services, funds and volunteers to community and social enterprise groups during the crisis, the government has guidance.

 

Sharing feedback

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is asking for views about the business impacts of COVID-19 across supply, demand and labour markets, the actions taken to address them, and the gaps in the government’s response. You can email intelligence direct to the BEIS. Information supplied will be treated confidentially.

 

Staying updated

This page will be frequently updated with the latest resources relevant to publishing. We will also endeavour to share useful material via Twitter.

The government issues a useful Coronavirus Businesses Bulletin to update people on the latest resources most days. You can sign up for it here

If you are on social media, following the business support campaign on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is a good way to get the latest resources—including alerts for when applications to various schemes go live.

The Bookseller and BookBrunch are providing good day-by-day updates on the situation in publishing.

 

If you would like to share resources or links that you have found particularly useful with fellow members, please get in touch and we’ll add them to this page.