Welcome to the West London Business Helpline

Find answers to your Coronavirus queries online or call 020 8607 2500

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Knowledge Base

Our knowledge base is updated daily with the latest insights from local and central government, as well as partner law firms, accountants and HR practitioners.

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Post any issue relating to Coronavirus and its impact on your business that we have not answered in the Knowledge Base or FAQs. Don't be shy!

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Are you baffled by the new terminology that comes with Coronavirus from Furloughing to 'Time to pay'? Take a browse through our glossary of terms.

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Frequently Asked Questions Browse Full FAQ

Are the West London local authorities’ grants and Business Rates relief schemes operational?
12 month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England is being implimented. An additional £2.2 billion funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no Business Rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR). This will provide a one-off grant of £3,000 to around 700,000 business currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs. Business rates and coronavirus grants information by north-west borough is gradually becoming available. Read more >>
Will our business insurance policies typically cover coronavirus losses?
Unfortunately most will not. According to the  Association of British Insurers: Only a very small number of businesses choose to buy any form of cover that includes business interruption due to a notifiable or infectious disease. Usually these extensions list very specific diseases that are covered, not any notifiable disease that may emerge such as COVID-19. An even smaller number will have cover where the notifiable or infectious disease is unspecified enabling them to potentially claim for the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. However, such policies often respond only when the disease is present at the premises as they cover the interruption to trade caused where business premises have been infected by an illness such as Legionnaires’ disease or norovirus and where the building needs to be closed and cleaned to deal with the specific incident. Speak to your insurer directly to confirm whether or not you are covered.
How do we access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme?
You should apply via your lender’s website or through one of the 40 accredited finance providers offering the scheme (and not the British Business Bank).  You should approach a lender yourself, ideally via the lender’s website. Note: There is high demand for CBILS facilities. Phone lines are likely to be busy and branches may not be able to handle enquiries in person or may currently be shut down to enable social distancing.   Read more >>
When will the government’s scheme for the self-employed be accessible?
HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid by the beginning of June 2020. This time is necessary to ensure that the scheme is both deliverable and fair. In the interim the self-employed will still able eligible for other government support including more generous universal credit and business continuity loans. Read more on how to access these schemes >>
When will employers be able to draw down funding from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?
HMRC is working urgently to set up a system to pay these the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants. It expects the first grants to be paid within weeks, and are aiming to get it done before the end of April. If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.
Can furloughed staff still do some work for the business?
No.  However a furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work or training, as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of your organisation. However, if workers are required to for example, complete online training courses whilst they are furloughed, then they must be paid at least the NLW/NMW for the time spent training, even if this is more than the 80% of their wage that will be subsidised.