News

Covid 19 Government Support

We have collated together the latest information and guidance about Government support from the States of Guernsey for businesses

Below is a list of support and advice offered by the States of Guernsey to businesses who have been adversely effected by the Covid 19 with email addresses, guidance and links of where to find out more information.

These are being updated as the advice changes so please keep checking https://covid19.gov.gg/guidance/business and we will be reflecting information here as quickly as possible.

If you have any clinical questions regarding the coronavirus please call 01481 756938 or 01481 756969 between 8am and 10pm daily, the information provided on the pages below are for non-clinical information only.

Business advice

As the situation regarding the coronavirus has developed, Public Health Services has produced the following guidance for Businesses.  Please note below, businesses which must remain closed during this period.

Which businesses need to close

A list of business who are required to close can be found below.

List of businesses

If your query is regarding whether your business should be open or paused, please email trade@gov.gg. You can also call 01481 743803 between 09:00-17:00 Monday to Friday.

Guidance for essential food business operators

Public Health Services have issued the below guidance for essential food businesses.

Find out more

Guidance on home deliveries (7th April)

The Guernsey Government has issues the following changes and guidance for businesses wishing to operate home delivery services via online or telephone ordering from Tuesday 7th April.

FIND OUT MORE

States of Guernsey Support

The critical area of focus, and aspect of financial support, has been around helping businesses retain employees on their books. For the ongoing financial well-being of the Bailiwick it is important that businesses are well positioned to resume trading as soon as conditions allow. 

The States of Guernsey have implemented a series of support services for businesses who are effected, if you would like to find out more about any of these visit the associated webpage or email business.support@gov.gg or call 01481 743803

States-back loan guarantee scheme

On 20th March the States approved a policy letter in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. This granted authority to the Policy & Resources Committee to facilitate a loan guarantee scheme to enable additional liquidity support to be made available to Bailiwick businesses.

The Scheme requires the provision of underwriting guarantees to the participating banks of up to 80% of lending, up to a maximum of £40million. The support will be focused on Bailiwick businesses. The scheme will not provide underwriting support for any lending currently in place, so there would be no transferring of existing risk to the States under the Scheme.

The principles of the scheme are as follows:

  1. The Scheme only applies to trading businesses. Businesses regulated by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission and property investment and development businesses are excluded. This is subject to a maximum turnover of £10 million.
  2. The Scheme only applies in respect of new lending and not any existing debt issued by the banks, including the cancellation of one form of lending and its replacement with another.
  3. The States Guarantee will apply in respect of 80% of the total amount provided by the banks.
  4. The loans and overdrafts will be for between £5,000 and £500,000.
  5. The Scheme will remain open until the 31st  December 2020.
  6. The government guarantee will remain valid for a total of 8 years, this is made up of a
    term of 6 years, with an additional 18 months to allow the banks to effect recovery and a
    further 6 months for the bank to effect a claim against the States’ Guarantee if necessary.
  7. An individual’s principle primary residence cannot be provided as security to a bank in
    respect of the Scheme.
  8. The  banks  may  lend  up  to  £250,000  without  seeking  any  form  of  security  from  the
    borrower.
  9. The banks have a reporting requirement to government in respect of the number of loans
    issued and the amount and in respect of applications received but declined.

Further information about the loan and up to date requirements can be found on the States of Guernsey Website can be found here.

Visit our Resources and Advice page for information on the four local banks who are involved in this initiative and advice from local experts

Resources and Advice

Payroll Cofunding Scheme

The States of Guernsey recognise that your staff are a critical part of your business and that you will want to do all you can to retain your team. Retaining your staff will enable you to recommence your business once the current crisis is over.

In order to help you achieve this, the States of Guernsey will provide the following support:

  • They will help you to pay your employees an amount equivalent to Guernsey’s minimum wage. The reference to minimum wage ensures a level playing field. This is currently set at £8.50 per hour (£8.05 for 16- and 17-year olds). For a 35-hour week this figure would equate to a gross figure of £298. The States of Guernsey will meet 80% of this figure (i.e. £238 per week based on a 35 hour week). Employers must make up the remaining 20% (equivalent to £60 per week). Employers are encouraged to ‘top-up’ these amounts further if they are able to do so
  • The Coronavirus Payroll Co-funding Scheme will be available to all employers (regardless of number of employees) in the sectors affected by loss of business income due to Coronavirus. The full list of effected sectors can be found here.
  • Initially this will be limited to the following sectors, but consideration may be needed to widen these sectors as more information becomes available.

    • Hospitality and tourism
    • Passenger transport and travel
    • Rental and leasing of cars and recreational goods
    • Recreation and entertainment
    • Event management and event services
    • Personal service activities such as hairdressers, beauticians and animal boarding
    • Commercial fishing
    • Private extra-curricular education such as dance and riding schools
    • Non-food and non-pharmacy retail
    • Advertising and marketing
    • Construction 
    • Manufacturing

Update 15/04/20

The scope of business activities that can access both the Small Business Grants Scheme and the Coronavirus Payroll Co-funding Scheme has been widened to include the following:

    • Cleaning services
    • Window cleaning
    • Gardening
    • Pet care services
    • Waste services (particularly those focused on commercial and building work)
    • Estate agents
    • Architects and building design services
    • Facilities management and office management
    • Security and cash transfer activities
    • Freight and goods transfer (excluding food)
    • Dental and dental hygienists and other non-essential personal health and hygiene roles

In addition, charities and social enterprises (not for profit organisations) will be eligible for support from the Payroll Co-funding Scheme where their staff are unable to work as a result of current business restrictions. Support for those business activities added to the scheme will be backdated to 16th March in line with the support provided to the first tranche of economic sectors.

To be eligible for support, your business must have been trading for at least 6 months, since 1 September 2019.

Support will be calculated based on the normal hours worked by your employee(s). Employees must be permanent employees. This support is available for an initial period of up to three months (13 weeks) and will cover the period to late June.

There is a need to continue to collect employee obligations to both ETI and States Insurance (SI) but the Employer contributions to SI would be deferred.

Full information can be found here

Email business.support@gov.gg with the title “Payroll Cofunding Scheme” and someone will contact you as soon as possible.

Business support phoneline: 01481 743803

Additional Support for Self Employed & Sole Traders

15th April 2020

Important changes have been made to the Coronavirus Payroll Co-funding and Small Business Grants schemes in response to feedback that the support measures in place were not meeting the legitimate needs of a significant number of the self-employed and sole traders in our community. Following a review of the concerns raised, the below changes have been made:

  • The Coronavirus Payroll Co-funding scheme will be extended so that self-employed individuals (whether operating through a company or as a sole trader) will now also be able to apply for payroll co-funding.
  • If a self-employed business owner is on the payroll of the company, then a copy of the payroll should be submitted with the claim.
  • Where a self-employed business owner draws their income from the business or a sole trader does not have payroll set up, they will also be able to claim.
  • As with the payroll co-funding scheme, a self-employed businessman will be entitled to claim 80% of an amount equivalent to Guernsey’s minimum wage. The reference to minimum wage ensures a level playing field. This is currently set at £8.50 per hour (£8.05 for 16- and 17-year olds). For example a 35-hour week would equate to a gross figure of £298. The States of Guernsey will meet 80% of this figure (i.e. £238 per week based on a 35 hour week).
  • Exact details of the claims process are being worked out, but it is expected that self employed business owners will be able to claim up to a maximum of their usual level of income based on their usual hours worked, at a cap of 42 hours, and up to a maximum of £1,241 per month
  • It will not be necessary to register as an employer and generate payslips or submit quarterly ETI returns in order to be eligible to claim.
  • Compliance checks will be carried out on these claims based on social insurance contributions and income tax data.

In addition to these changes, the scope of business activities that can access both the Small Business Grants Scheme and the Coronavirus Payroll Co-funding Scheme has been widened to include the following:

  • Cleaning services
  • Window cleaning
  • Gardening
  • Pet care services
  • Waste services (particularly those focused on commercial and building work)
  • Estate agents
  • Architects and building design services
  • Facilities management and office management
  • Security and cash transfer activities
  • Freight and goods transfer (excluding food)
  • Dental and dental hygienists and other non-essential personal health and hygiene roles

In addition, charities and social enterprises (not for profit organisations) will be eligible for support from the Payroll Co-funding Scheme where their staff are unable to work as a result of current business restrictions.

Support for those business activities added to the scheme will be backdated to 16th March in line with the support provided to the first tranche of economic sectors.

FIND OUT MORE

Grant to small businesses and the self employed

A further measure is the award of a grant to businesses and the selfemployed. This is aimed at smaller businesses and those who are selfemployed as a means to help their business and be utilised in whichever way you deem appropriate. Although similar to the Payroll Co-Funding scheme it is intended to last 3 months. The details of the support are:

  • The amount payable will be a flat sum of £3,000.
  • As with the Payroll Co-Funding Scheme, eligibility criteria on sector and minimum age of the business would apply (see above). The one key difference is that it would be restricted to businesses with 10 employees or less.
  • They will also consider requests from business in other sectors of the economy where the business can demonstrate hardship as a result of the Coronavirus. If required, the scheme may be extended to other sectors.
  • The grant will be available to self-employed persons (single operators) and to self-employed persons that employ up to 10 persons (including themselves). If you employ staff, you are also able to claim support under the Coronavirus Payroll Co-funding Scheme (see above).
  • To be eligible for support, your business must have been trading for at least 6 months (that is since 1st September 2019).

NB: If a self-employed person claims Income Support, the value of the grant may be taken into account. This will depend upon when the grant was paid and when Income Support becomes payable. For Income Support purposes only, the grant will be valued at £230 per week for a maximum period of 13 weeks.

You can also request deferral or staggered payment of your Social Insurance contributions for both Quarter 1 and Quarter 2. If you have already paid your Social Insurance contributions for Quarter 1 you can request a refund. If you have a tax debt, you can contact us to agree a payment plan.

Email financial.support@gov.gg with the title “refund” or “deferral” and someone will contact you as soon as possible.

Full information can be found here

Is the States of Guernsey your landlord?

If you operate your business from or within a States of Guernsey land, or property then they will be considering deferring rents due for Quarter 1, and Quarter 2 of 2020. This easement covers business rents only and not residential property.

Moorings fees for Commercial Fishermen.

We know that things are going to be difficult for all business sectors but we know that Guernsey fishermen are already seeing the hard impacts to their business. To assist, the States of Guernsey have taken the decision to suspend fees for Commercial fishermen who moor their vessels in St Peter Port and St Sampson harbours.

This measure is applied as an extension of the rent relief, will only be applicable to registered and licensed commercial fishermen, and will apply for all mooring fees due for all of 2020.

Tax on Real Property (‘TRP’)

We know that Tax on Real Property (‘TRP’) is a significant financial obligation for many businesses and therefore the States of Guernsey want to ease this financial burden on you and provide a means for applying for the deferment of TRP until July 2020. They know that some businesses pay this by direct debit and although this provides the opportunity to spread the cost over 10 months, they appreciate that there may be a requirement to apply for relief. Please contact financial.support@gov.gg should you wish to apply giving reasons for your request.

However, not all businesses are eligible for relief on TRP as not all businesses are impacted by the COVID-19 virus in the same way. They have taken the decision for the time being to exclude professional services and regulated finance businesses.

They do understand that in some cases your landlord will pay the TRP for the property that you operate your business from, and those landlords should be encouraged to pass the temporary relief onto your business.

Social Insurance Employer Contributions

We know that Social Insurance Employer contributions are due in mid-April and therefore the States of Guernsey want to take this into consideration and to defer payments for both Quarter 1, and Quarter 2 (due mid-July), with the intention to review this easement again during Quarter 2.

Please note that you will still be required to submit your quarterly employer schedule/ETI returns by 15th April and 15th July. You will still need to pay the ETI liability and Employee Social Insurance contributions, as that is tax paid on behalf of your employees not the business.

Email financial.support@gov.gg with the title “deferral” giving reasons for your request, if you would like to discuss making a deferral or staggered payments.

Again, this deferment will not apply to professional services (for example advocates, accountants) and regulated finance.

The easement will also apply to self-employed individuals which, given the higher rates applicable, will hopefully some significant financial support at a time when it is most needed.

Hardship Fund

This will be administered via Social Security to support those in greatest need who may not otherwise qualify for Income Support or Sickness Benefit.

This will help the tourism, hospitality and construction sectors for example by enabling workers who have been laid off to secure short-term financial support so that they do not leave the future labour market.

People of working age are eligible for support from the financial hardship fund if:

  • You have been made redundant
  • You are in employment or self-employment but have severely reduced household income. (for example as a result of reduced working hours or rates of pay)
  • You are unable to work because you are sick, in self-isolation, your place of work is closed or you are caring for a dependent child (and are unable to work from home)

To be able to be considered for support through the hardship fund those applying must not be eligible for unemployment benefit, sickness benefit or income support.

To find out more contact the Social Security Team on 01481 732516 or email hardshipfund@gov.gg.

The Social Security Team speak Portuguese, French and German.

More information

Eligibility Criteria Guidance

Advice on adapting your business - what do I need to do next?

As a first step – ‘Take a breath’ and do not make any immediate decisions, but plan and think carefully about what is going to work best for you and your business in the coming weeks and months.

Please do not take any immediate action in relation to staff until you have reached a final conclusion and spoken to a member of the Business Support Team from Business and Innovation and Skills. Please email business.support@gov.gg and they will call you back

How long should I financially plan for?

When business planning, you should be thinking about timescales. At the current time it is incredibly difficult to forecast future developments and as they are subject to change.

However, at this point in time, we think it is better to plan, and think about timescales, in months more than weeks. Ideally, you should be financially planning for the first two quarters of 2020 whilst considering impacts until the end of 2020 and beyond.

Can my business adapt or work differently?

You will need to consider how you can scale or adapt your business. Are you already seeing a decline in sales or in demand for services that you provide? Can your business adapt to the changes, are there any untapped opportunities that can be capitalised on locally? If this is not possible, then don’t worry, you need to consider some of the other practical advice below.

Stop, Go or Pause?

Is your business the type of business that can be ‘paused’? This does not mean closed, this means can you advise your customers that for a temporary period due to the current circumstances you are pausing the sales or services you offer and will, when appropriate be back in business. Again, this sounds worrying but every other Guernsey based business is in the same situation so scaling back or pausing could be a good option.

Have an open discussion with your landlord – they will understand!

We know it might be a difficult conversation, but please speak to your landlord who will hopefully understand the situation. Find out whether if rents can be deferred. It is important to note that the States of Guernsey are setting the example in this area.

Have an open discussion with your banks Commercial Team, they will understand too!

Guernsey benefits from having some very high quality retail and commercial banking services – book an appointment to speak to your bank’s Commercial Business Manager.

Your Bank does understand that we are in this together and they are working on developing solutions such as flexible borrowing which may be an option to see you through. Flexible borrowing solutions maybe available in relation to domestic mortgages, too, so find out more about those if that would assist.

Is the States of Guernsey one of your customers?

We know and understand how important cash flow is for you. If the States of Guernsey are one of your customers, they have taken extra measures to ensure that money owing for any services or goods you provide is paid as soon as possible, once the invoice has been processed instead of following our normal 30 day payment terms.

Utilities Bills - Waste, Water and Electricity.

The States of Guernsey owned and operated utility companies, Guernsey Electricity and Guernsey Water’s priority is to maintain the essential supplies to our customers at all times. They understand at times such as these, some of their customers are likely to experience financial difficulties potentially impacting their ability to pay bills. Every customers’ circumstances will be different and these utilities will consider allowing customers to make agreed alternative payment arrangements without fear of late payment charges or interest or being cut off until these difficult times pass.

Find out more about our Advice and Resources for Businesses

Learn more

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