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: Friday 18 September

 

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.  

 

IPG members’ responses

 This blog has examples of IPG members’ robust and creative responses to the COVID-19 emergency. If you would like to share your own views and responses—anonymously if you wish—please get in touch.

In a special episode of our Podcast, IPG board member Oliver Gadsby discusses how to lead a business through difficult times like these. In conversation with our President Jonathan Harris, he talks about responding nimbly to challenges, managing change, finding support and keeping staff well and motivated. It is well worth a listen for anyone leading teams at the moment.

 

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.

 

Job retention scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was set up to provide businesses with grants to pay 80% of wages of ‘furloughed’ workers, up to £2,500 a month. Staff may be furloughed until the end of October, but applications for new participants had to be submitted by 31 July.

Employers have been asked to contribute to the scheme on a sliding scale from the start of August. Guidance is here.

In September, the government will pay 70% of wages to furloughed staff, to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay 10% of wages, plus National Insurance and pension contributions.

In October, the government will pay 60% of wages to furloughed staff, to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay 20% of wages, plus National Insurance and pension contributions. 

Employers will be required to submit data for the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period, as well as the actual hours worked. 

This is the government’s starting point for claiming under the Scheme. From August, claims can be made for any periods starting on or after 1 July. Claims can no longer be made for periods before 1 July.

The government has 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.

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 retention bonus and Kickstart scheme

Employers are able to claim a £1,000 Job Retention Bonus for each member of staff that they bring back from furlough. To qualify, employees must have remained continuously employed until 31 January 2021, and have earned an average of at least £520 a month from November to January inclusive. Details of the Job Retention Bonus are here, and full guidance for applying will be published in September.

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.

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.

 

Culture Recovery Fund

The government has set up a Culture Recovery Fund to help cultural, arts and heritage organisations sustain themselves during the pandemic.

Arts Council England is overseeing the distribution of £500m for the arts and cultural sector in England. Applicants need to show how they have been affected by the pandemic, outline their plans for the rest of the financial year, and demonstrate the local, national or international benefits they deliver.

Grants are for between £50,000 and £3m. Applications close on Friday 4 September.

Information about the Fund, eligibility, criteria, FAQs and details of how to apply are here.

 

‘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 loan duration is six years, and the government says interest rates will be 2.5%. If a business has already taken out a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan, it may transfer it to the ‘Bounce back’ scheme by 4 November.  The government has promised a simple application process with seven questions, and swift transfers of loans to bank accounts.

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.

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.

A first round of grants closed in July, and applications for a second round must be made between 17 August and 19 October. These grants can be worth up to 70% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £6,570 in total.

To apply for the grants, go here

The government has an online checker to help you see if you are eligible for the scheme, and if so how much you can claim.

A webinar to help claimants navigate the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is here.

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. The deferrals must be paid in full by 31 March 2021. No interest or penalties will be charged. Full details of VAT support are here.

For those with HMRC self-assessment arrangements, payments for June 2020 have been deferred to January 2021.

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.