W hen coronavirus hit, Rachel Hanretty was devastated to shut the doors on her bakery, Mademoiselle Macaron. Rachel fell in love with macarons when she lived in Paris and enrolled at the Alain Ducasse cookery school to learn how to make the melt - in - the - mouth delights. Returning to Edinburgh, she opened her own bakery and launched an online store in 2015. Orders flooded in, with caterers and wedding customers snapping up her macarons. But as lockdown was announced, the firm, which employs eight people, lost all their wholesale customers overnight. “It was really scary,” says Rachel. “All the weddings, all Need HELP? Here’s how the UK Government is supporting businesses... THE CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME VAT due as normal. HMRC will not charge interest or penalties on any amount deferred. This allows businesses across the UK to put employees on a period of temporary leave (furlough) and apply for a grant to cover 80% of those workers’ usual monthly wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 a month. It’s been extended to the end of October and has already protected 7.5million workers and almost a million businesses. The UK Government has received claims for more than £10billion already. BOUNCE BACK LOANS This scheme provides loans of up to £50,000 to small businesses, with a 100% UK Governmentbacked guarantee for lenders. These loans will be interest free for the first 12 months and businesses can apply online by using a short and simple form. Wholesalers stopped paying us and we’ve got over £30,000 of unpaid invoices THE CORONAVIRUS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME SELF-EMPLOYMENT INCOME SUPPORT SCHEME (SEISS) Available for loans or other forms of finance of up to £5m. The UK Government will pay interest and any fees for the first 12 months, and will provide the lender with an 80% guarantee to support the lending. It’s available UK-wide. At the end of May, the Chancellor announced that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme would be extended – with those eligible able to claim a second grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total. Around 95% of people who receive the majority of their income through self-employment could be eligible. If at least half of your income is from being self-employed and you’re earning under £50,000 in profits, you could be eligible. You can check with HMRC to see if you could benefit. the wholesale customers, and the bulk of our production disappeared. And then, of course, you have phone calls from people wanting to cancel future orders and refunds. Wholesale customers stopped paying their invoices and we’ve now got more than £30,000 worth of overdue invoices.” Although it’s a worrying time for Rachel, she credits the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for keeping the firm afloat. Under the scheme, businesses can furlough staff and the UK government will pay 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 a month. “The furlough scheme has been a real lifeline in this time of crisis,” she says. “I asked people to volunteer for furlough. So the people who wanted to and were happy THE CORONAVIRUS LARGE BUSINESS INTERRUPTION LOAN SCHEME (CLBILS) HOW THE UK GOVERNMENT’S FURLOUGH SCHEME HELPED AN EDINBURGH BAKERY THROUGH THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK Large businesses with an annual turnover of more than £45million per year can apply for up to £25m of finance. FUTURE FUND The Future Fund will issue convertible loans of between £125,000 and £5m to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak. to, they were the first ones to go. I cried.” Staff were scared about travelling to work and desperate to maintain social distancing, so Rachel says they were really understanding about being furloughed. “I just felt like I was stuck in this moral quandary,” she says. “Do we keep going and safeguard the business, so there’s something for everyone to come back to? Or do I shut down because I can see that this is causing people severe anguish?” Along with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, there was another glimmer of hope as Mademoiselle Macaron saw a boom in online orders. But with six out of eight staff furloughed, Rachel had to meet the challenge of fulfilling the orders with a smaller team. “We managed to recall stock that was sitting in hospitality clients’ freezers. That is the only reason we survived. What you make, you keep in the freezer and you use when you need to. It’s not like a cupcake. If we were dealing with perishable goods we would never have survived,” says Rachel. “The furlough scheme let us preserve the team and the business. The big test now is how do we keep this level of orders online?” Safety is the main priority THE CORONAVIRUS STATUTORY SICK PAY REBATE SCHEME If your business needs to hire now, the UK Government can help you fill your vacancies quickly by helping to connect skilled and experienced people to your posts. Keep job descriptions as generic as possible to make sure you don’t miss out on great people with transferable skills. Visit https://employerhelp.dwp.gov.uk/ to find out more. This will repay employers the current rate of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) that they pay to current or former employees for periods of sickness starting on or after March 13, 2020. VAT DEFERRALS The Government has given the option to defer VAT payments to UK VAT-registered firms, for payments due alongside VAT returns until the end of June. If you’re a UK VAT-registered business and have a VAT payment due between March 20 and June 30, 2020, you have the option to either defer the payment, or pay the
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