Businesses of all sizes and sectors across the two counties have been turned upside down over the past week.

With the need to send staff to work from home, reduce opening hours, and even shut the doors in some cases, businesses all over the UK have been left feeling lost. I wanted to take this opportunity to extend our help and support to all businesses within our two counties.

For those who are not sure what help or guidance is available to businesses, I have included an overview of some of the key points below, but please do access our website to find details of all the latest business support schemes introduced by government.

Businesses who are facing the difficult decision regarding their employees are urged not to lay staff off during this period. The government has announced that they will be releasing grants which cover 80 per cent of staff wages up to £2,500 per employee under a new and unprecedented Job Retention Scheme.

In addition, VAT payments can be deferred until after June 30, and, if you are self-employed, income tax due in July 2020 can be deferred to January 2021.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption scheme will be available through the British Business Bank and was launched this week, with a 12-month interest free period.

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A 100 per cent business rates holiday for the next 12 months for all retail, hospitality and leisure business, no matter what their rateable value is, will also be available.

Businesses with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000 can access an additional £25,000 grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from small premises, this grant can be accessed through the local authority.

There will also be small business grant funding of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business relate relief or rural rate relief.

The support the government has shown is promising, but now they must ensure that this important lifeline for many businesses across the two counties is made available as quickly and efficiently as possible in order to provide the cash injection that local businesses have been calling for.

I would urge all businesses, regardless of size, sector, Member or Non-member to get in contact with the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce to see what support and guidance is out there for your business.

Call 01905 673 600 for further details, and please visit our dedicated Coronavirus Information Hub –