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BR BID Coronavirus Update 1: Thursday 26th March 2020

These daily updates from the BID Team focus on the key questions businesses are asking us, and provide updates on the issues affecting all businesses. Whilst I’ll continue to send out any information about the business grants as soon as I get it, this update focuses on the questions we’ve been receiving from business owners looking to take on other work to support themselves. Please note: The BID is not able to give advice, only to present information issued by the government and, on occasions, other reputable sources to help you make the best choices for your unique circumstances. Can I furlough myself from my company? This depends on whether you are an “employee” of your business. If your business is set up as a Limited Company, and you are employed by that company, then credible advice is that yes, your company can furlough you as an employee. However, you must not carry out any work for the company whilst you are furloughed. HMRC are urgently setting up the system for reimbursement now, and there will be checks made to ensure people aren’t making fraudulent claims. This information is taken from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales website, and whilst I usually only refer to government sources, I consider this to be a credible source of information. They state that: “Many owner managed company director/shareholders pay small salaries and the balance of income as dividends. However, the 80% reimbursement scheme does not extend to any dividends you might normally be paid by your company - only the salary is relevant to the scheme.” You will still need to officially designate yourself as a furloughed worker in order to claim 80% of the salary back once the HMRC system is up and running. I’ve written an outline letter you can download and edit – either for your employees or yourself, which is available on the BID website. Please click this link to download the letter. Can I take on a job with a different employer if I’ve been furloughed from my usual job? This information is taken from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales website (link: , and whilst I usually only refer to government sources, I consider this to be a credible source of information. Their understanding is that it is OK for you to take on another job with a different employer whilst being on furlough from your usual job. This is their explanation: “It is a condition of the (Job Retention) scheme that the employee must do no work at all during the furlough period. The intention of the scheme is to allow employers to pay staff who are without work. HMRC will of course have visibility of pay records.” However, they go on to say that “While we understand that an employee who is furloughed can do no work at all, our current understanding is that the employee can hold a separate employment with a different and unconnected employer which will be unaffected.” If you take on another job whilst Coronavirus is affecting your business, remember to include any income from any other companies in your personal tax return. If I get a part time job somewhere else whilst my business is closed, will it affect my business grant? If you, as a private individual, take on a job where you are employed by another company, this will have NO effect on any grant your business is eligible for. It is your Business that will be eligible for any grant, not you personally, and the money has been allocated as a lifeline to help your business cover its costs and responsibilities while it is being affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Eligible companies are identified by ADC using information on Business Rates ONLY - completely separate from any other information about you or your business, such as income tax, turnover, profit margins. Can I claim Universal Credit while my business is affected? You can certainly apply. The eligibility criteria for Universal Credit is if:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work

  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)

  • you’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)

  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you

  • you live in the UK

The number of children you have does not affect your eligibility for Universal Credit, but it may affect how much you get. If you live with your partner, your partner’s income and savings will be taken into account, even if they are not eligible for Universal Credit. Follow this link to the government’s recommended benefits calculator to check what benefits you could get if you’re not eligible for Universal Credit. Please note – news outlets are reporting the Universal Credit online application system is absolutely overwhelmed at the moment, and there are significant delays in even being able to register, let alone receive financial support. Just a reminder to make sure ADC have got up to date contact information for you The only way ADC can contact you about reliefs and grants is using the information they have against your Business Rates Account. If they only have your business address, they’re going to have to use the postal system. This means it will take longer to reach you than email, and also means you’ll be tempted to leave the house when it should and could be avoided. The quickest way to check and update your Business Rates contact details, including email and mobile phone details, is to register for an online account for your Business Rates which gives you immediate access to your information. If you can’t register for an online account, please be aware that ADC is receiving a huge number of calls every day, and you will need to be patient if your only option is to telephone them. I’ve tested the sign up process, and it takes less than five minutes. I’ve written detailed instructions to help you – click this link for details – and I would be more than happy to talk you through the steps if you get stuck. My number is 07917 692690. Try to be patient if the system seems slow – it could be that, after reading this, lots of businesses are all trying to register at the same time. If it’s really painful, walk away and try again a bit later on. We’ll continue to update our website with information that affects your business, and alert you to anything new through our social media platforms. If you haven’t already, please start following us on Facebook: Even though Clair and I are working from home, you can still contact us by email:, by phone: 07917 692690 or through Zoom meeting software. The software is free to download, and works across a wide range of platforms – phones, tablets, PC’s, Macs. If you’d like a virtual face to face, please invite:

Kindest regards, Heather

Heather Allen, BR BID Co-Ordinator


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