I’m sending regular newsletters with details of the support available during the Covid-19 emergency. The situation and support available is rapidly changing and evolving as the Government reacts quickly to this unprecedented and difficult challenge. The best place for the up-to-date health advice and support is the government website here https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus, but below are also details of some of the key local and national support packages.

I’ve answered thousands of calls and emails from constituents over the last few months, so please do also keep getting in touch with your individual queries and if there’s anything I can do to help. You can email nigel.mills.mp@parliament.uk or ring 01773 744341.

I’m also organising some virtual public meetings, via Facebook Live (which you can find on my facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/nigelmillsofficial/) or you can contact my office on the details above for telephone or virtual surgery appointments.

Health guidance:

You can find the latest Government message and advice on the stay at home guidance and reasons why you can leave your home here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

Support for individuals:

Extremely vulnerable/shielding groups:

If someone is clinically extremely vulnerable, they may have received a letter setting out information on the Government’s dedicated helpline. More information and access to the helpline can be found here: www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable. If someone has received an NHS letter, or is caring for someone who has, they can register for further support here or call 0800 028 8327 , the Government’s new dedicated helpline. Anyone concerned that they haven’t been sent a letter should contact their GP. We are confident though that everyone who has been identified so far has been contacted, and clinicians have also been reviewing their lists to add anyone that requires expert clinical judgement. Individuals are also able to self-register on the Government website, with GPs then checking their eligibility.

Community support:

Locally, there is a huge amount of work happening, coordinated by our local Councils and volunteers, to ensure that everyone who needs help gets it. Derbyshire County Council have useful information and are acting as the lead coordinator for our area. If you’re self-isolating, shielding or vulnerable and need help with your shopping or collecting medicines, you can contact DCC here:  https://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/social-health/health-and-wellbeing/health-protection/disease-control/coronavirus/community-response-unit/if-you-need-help/if-you-need-help.aspx or by ringing 01629 535091.

Employment support:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The government is stepping in to help pay people’s wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which went live on 20 April. Any employer in the country – small or large, charitable or non-profit – is eligible for the scheme.

Employers can contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of people who are not working but are furloughed and kept on payroll, rather than being laid off. Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month. Employers can top up salaries further if they choose to. This means workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary.

To ensure the scheme helps as many people as possible, the date by which somebody had to be employed, in order to be eligible for furlough, has been extended from the end of February to 19 March 2020. To date more than 300,000 businesses have so far claimed £2.6 billion to pay the wages of furloughed staff.

More information can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Employers can make a claim here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Statutory Sick Pay:

Statutory Sick Pay will be paid from day one, rather than day four, of absence from work if employees are absent from work due to sickness or need to stay at home due to coronavirus. This will apply retrospectively from 13 March.

 Universal Credit:

If you’ve lost your job or aren’t eligible for the other types of support, you can find more information on claiming Universal Credit in relation to the current coronavirus pandemic here: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/

You can also start a claim for Universal Credit and check your eligibility here: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

Paying bills:

The government has launched an emergency package with energy suppliers to ensure customers don’t face any additional hardships in heating or lighting their home during the coronavirus outbreak.

For anyone struggling with money problems or repaying a debt, options available will include:

  • reviewing bill payment plans, including debt repayment plans
  • payment breaks or reductions in how much you pay
  • giving greater time to pay
  • access to hardship funds

Suppliers have agreed that no credit meters will be disconnected during the outbreak. If a customer thinks they can’t afford to pay for any extra gas or electricity used because they’re having to self-isolate at home, support will be available through their energy supplier. Customers should tell their supplier straight away if they can’t top up their meter. This includes if they are ill with coronavirus or following guidance to stay at home and self-isolate, and if they don’t have anyone who can help them.

Renters:

Nearly £1 billion of support has been made available for renters by increasing housing benefit and Universal Credit, so that the Local Housing Allowance will cover at least 30% of market rents.

In England and Wales, the Coronavirus Act 2020 protects most tenants and secure licensees in the private and social rented sectors by putting measures in place that says where landlords do need to issue notices seeking possession (eviction), the notice period must be for three months.

More information for renters and landlords can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-support-available-for-landlords-and-renters-reflecting-the-current-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

Support for self-employed

Self-employment Income Support Scheme:

The Chancellor has announced the Self-employment Income Support Scheme. The Government will pay self-employed people, who have been adversely affected by coronavirus, a taxable grant worth 80% of their average income over the last three years, up to £2,500 per month, for at least three months.

Self-employed people who are eligible can apply directly to HMRC for the grant, using a simple online form; HMRC will then pay the grant straight into your bank account. The online service you’ll use to claim is not available yet. HMRC will aim to contact you by mid May 2020, and will make payments by early June 2020. You can find out more about the scheme here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

The scheme is open to those with an income of £50,000 or less, who make the majority of their income from self-employment. The Business Support Helpline is for advice on a range of business issues: 0800 024 1222 and is open from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

For the self-employed or those earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week, claims can be made for Universal Credit or new style Employment and Support Allowance. New style Employment and Support Allowance, it will now be payable from day one of sickness, rather than day eight, if in relation to coronavirus.

 Support for businesses:

The Chancellor has announced an unprecedented package of support for businesses. We are making great progress getting much-needed support out to businesses to help manage their cash flows during this difficult time – with millions of pounds of loans and finance being provided to hundreds of firms across the country. The Government is working to ensure these loans are as accessible as possible.

Business interruption loans:

On Friday 3 April, the Chancellor took further action to support firms affected by the coronavirus crisis by bolstering business interruption loans for small businesses and announcing a new scheme for larger companies.

To maximise the support available, the Chancellor is extending the CBILS so that all viable small businesses affected by coronavirus, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time.

The government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals. The government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees.

The CBILS will ensure that more firms are able to benefit from government-backed support during this difficult time. It will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million. This will give banks the confidence to lend to more businesses which are impacted by coronavirus but which they would not lend to without CBILS. Loans backed by a guarantee under CBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest and further details of the scheme will be announced later this month.

Bounce Back Loans:

The Government has also announced Bounce Back loans for small businesses. Businesses will be able to borrow between £2000 and £50,000 under a new fast-track finance scheme, which will provide loans with a 100% government backed guarantee for lenders. The loans will be interest free for the first 12 months and businesses will be able to apply online for these from Monday 4th May 2020.

More details are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/small-businesses-boosted-by-bounce-back-loans

Future Fund:

Announced on 20 April, The Future Fund will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.

These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

The scheme will be delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank. The scheme will launch in May 2020.

Further information on full support for business:

Details of the Chancellor’s full package of support for business – including eligibility – can be found here:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses#bpt

where you can find more information on the support measures,

including on:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £25 million for firms with an annual turnover between £45 million and £500 million
  • the Coronavirus Corporate Financing Facility, a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme .

Businesses who can help in fight against the virus:

Businesses across the country are stepping up to help in the united national fight against the virus; this includes many local Amber Valley businesses such as David Nieper and BPI.

Businesses who can help and offer support in areas such as PPE, ventilators and testing should visit and complete the dedicated webform on the GOV.UK website:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-support-from-business