Small businesses are likely to be hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. But there are a number of relief measures in place to help small businesses through this difficult time.
What are business rates?
Business rates are a charge businesses pay on non-domestic properties.
Examples of these properties include shops, offices, pubs, warehouses, factories and holiday rental homes.
People whose properties fall into this category will usually be sent a bill by their local council.
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Who qualifies for small business rate relief?
You can get small business rate relief if your property’s rateable value is less than £15,000.
This is an open market rental value on April 1, 2015, carried out by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).
You can also get small business rate relief if you only use one property for business use.
However, you may still be able to get relief if you use more than one property for this purpose.
For properties with a rateable value of less than £12,000, you will not pay business rates.
According to the Government’s website, the rate of relief will go down gradually from 100 percent to zero percent if your property’s rateable value is between £12,001 and £15,000.
If you would like to apply for small business rate relief, you will need to contact your local council.
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What is the Small Business Grant Scheme?
Last month Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a number of financial relief measures for UK workers and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the new measures is the Small Business Grant Scheme.
The scheme supports small businesses that are already paying little or no business rates.
This includes businesses that receive small business rate relief, rural rate relief and tapered relief.
Under the scheme, small businesses that are eligible can claim £10,000 to help with costs during this uncertain time.
The Government has been working quickly to get the scheme set up and payments made.
Economy Minister Diane Dodds said of the scheme: “An online portal set up to support the payments and provide the facility for businesses to register their bank details has already gone live.
“My focus remains on getting payments out as quickly as possible to businesses, for the benefit of the businesses.
“These grants schemes – worth more than £370m – will benefit some 27,000 small local businesses and a further 4,000 businesses in our beleaguered tourism, hospitality and retail sectors.
“Businesses that are currently in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) will be eligible to receive a £10,000 cash grant payment.”
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If the US wanted an easy and quick way to boost economic activity and employment in response to the destructive economic damage of the coronavirus, there is one available. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like the Trump administration will grab it.
For weeks there have been reports in the US media that the administration was at least discussing the possibility of lifting tariffs on imports as a way to reduce costs to businesses and consumers and, assuming quid quo pros from other countries, boosting exports.
Yet while it does appear that Trump will allow some companies to defer their tariff payments for 90 days, directing US agencies to delay collecting the tariffs, the proposal looks quite narrow in scope and doesn’t include the tariffs that would provide the biggest impact on the US economy: The tariffs averaging nearly 20 per cent on $US362 billion ($590 billion ) of goods imported from China.
The proposed tariff relief won’t apply to China’s exports.Credit:AP
The temporary relief being contemplated seems to be focused on "most favoured nations", which would affect imported goods including some apparel and footwear and, perhaps, light trucks. The administration has already excluded some health products needed to combat the pandemic from tariffs.
While there are reports that Trump has signed off on the plan, there is no certainty the proposal will go ahead. There is significant pushback from US domestic manufacturers and their industry associations.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has made it clear that general tariff relief is not being contemplated and, indeed, it is inconceivable that Trump, in an election year, would roll back the tariffs on China and effectively concede that his much-vaunted trade war has damaged – and is still damaging – the US economy.
Nevertheless, being prepared to remove most, if not all, of the tariffs the US has imposed during the Trump administration’s tenure – and seeking reciprocal actions from other governments – would provide a meaningful boost to the US and global economies as they battle the destructive consequences of the coronavirus.
Trump’s protectionist and nationalistic approach to economic policies and international institutions makes it unlikely that the US will resume its role as the global leader in a crisis. "Making America Great Again" has diminished its global influence even if it wanted to exercise it.
The proposal to suspend some tariffs, albeit for only 90 days, isn’t designed to help alleviate the steep global economic slump that is unfolding.
It’s being proposed to help the US economy and its businesses' and households’ cashflows but, in the process, is a also tacit admission (which Trump would never make explicit, even if he recognised it) that tariffs do damage those who impose them.
'Making America Great Again' has diminished [America's] global influence even if it wanted to exercise it.
Despite Trump’s statements that trade wars are good and easy to win and that it is China that has been paying the duties on its exports to the US, all the analyses of the trade war have concluded that it is US companies and consumers that have footed the bill.
That’s either through the cost of the duties themselves, or from higher prices as goods that used to be manufactured in China have been diverted to other higher-cost producers elsewhere in Asia or South America.
The US Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the cost to the US economy of tariffs is about 0.3 per cent of real US GDP, reducing consumption by 0.3 per cent, investment by 1.3 per cent and real income per household by $US580. Exports and imports would both be lower.
In a $US21 trillion dollar economy, those are substantial numbers.
Trump is never going to concede that his trade wars were misconceived. There is also a fear within the administration that easing up on China just as it starts to re-emerge from the pandemic would – given that infections and deaths in the US are still soaring and the economic damage is intensifying – accelerate China’s recovery and confer long-term economic and strategic benefits to a rival for America's global economic and geopolitical dominance.
China, given it was first to head into the crisis and appears likely to be first out, will already gain some advantages if it manages to contain the outbreak, and is seeking to leverage them through a re-writing of the history of the pandemic and via "soft" diplomacy.
How far it can exploit that opportunity is an open question. The reality that it is only just starting to re-open a damaged economy as much of the rest of the world has closed or is closing theirs puts some limits on the upside.
The general resentment over China’s decision to try to keep the world from knowing what was happening in Wuhan – a decision that may cost hundreds of thousands of lives because of the delayed responses it caused outside of China – will be another factor.
Moreover, China went into this global health and economic crisis in poor shape, with an economy with dangerously high debt levels and enormously wasteful deployment of capital within its state-owned enterprises.
Unlike the post-financial crisis period, when China’s massive stimulus plan helped the rest of the world remain afloat and turbo-charged its own economy for a decade, its capacity to take full advantage of the post-pandemic environment is constrained to some degree by its own vulnerabilities.
That won’t, of course, stop it from trying to maximise any economic and geopolitical advantages it can extract from the gradual re-opening of its economy even as the damage to most developed economies continues to worsen.
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President Donald Trump attacked automakers for the second time in a matter of days, chiding their “foolish executives” as his administration completed the final step of a three-year quest to dismantle Obama-era fuel efficiency rules.
Days after demanding that General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. make ventilators, Trump claimed that unidentified company leaders were being “politically correct” by not endorsing his efforts to ease gas mileage and emissions regulations for automobiles, a move that has enraged environmentalists and sparked courtroom battles.
50,820 Million metric tons of greenhouse emissions, most recent annual data 0 6 5 4 3 2 0 3 2 1 0 9 0 7 6 5 4 3 .0 2 1 0 9 8 0 4 3 2 1 0 0 0 9 8 7 6 0 5 4 3 2 1 0 5 4 3 2 1 0 1 0 9 8 7 Parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere 0 3 2 1 0 9 ,0 9 8 7 6 5 0 2 1 0 9 8 0 4 3 2 1 0 Soccer pitches of forest lost this hour, most recent data +1.17° C Feb. 2020 increase in global temperature vs. 1900s average
$81.9B Renewable power investment worldwide in Q4 2019
Aksu, ChinaMost polluted air today, in sensor range
Last week, the president took Detroit — and particularly GM and its Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra — to task for moving too slowly to build breathing devices for coronavirus victims. Shortly after Trump sent a set of angry tweets, the company announced a deal to partner with a ventilator maker and start production within weeks — with or without the federal contract they had been seeking.
The back-to-back critiques are coming from a president who billed himself as a champion of the industry and welcomed Detroit’s CEOs to the White House within days of his inauguration. He delivered Tuesday on a vow to relax regulations he said were too burdensome by requiring the industry to boost new car fuel efficiency by 1.5% per year through 2026. The previous mandate required improvements of roughly 5% annually.
While Trump seemingly lumped all auto companies together in his tweet, his fuel standards initiative has fractured the industry.
Ford, BMW AG, Honda Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG last summer volunteered to meet more stringent emissions goals set by California and said they wouldn’t support federal legal challenges to the state’s ability to set its own rules. GM, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Toyota Motor Corp. sided with the White House by calling for a unified standard.
Volvo Cars, owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, followed up news of the revised federal rules by joining the group of carmakers volunteering to meet California’s tougher standards. Ford also reiterates its pledge to adhere to California’s targets.
“We remain committed to meeting emission reductions consistent with the California framework and continue to believe this path is what’s best for our customers, the environment and the short- and long-term health of the auto industry,” Bob Holycross, Ford’s vice president of sustainability, environment and safety engineering, said in a statement.
John Bozzella, president of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which represents almost all major carmakers, said that the industry has consistently called for year-over-year fuel economy and greenhouse gas improvements.
“We also recognize that the standards that were put in place 10 years ago or so are no longer appropriate in light of shifting market conditions and consumer preferences,” Bozzella said.
Last month, the Justice Department abandoned an antitrust investigation into the automakers that entered into the agreement with California. That probe was called out by the state’s’ governor, Gavin Newsome, who said it was “a blatant attempt by the Trump administration to prevent more automakers from joining California and agreeing to stronger emission standards.”
The effort to revise fuel economy standards has sparked a furious response by consumer and environmental advocates, who accused Trump’s administration of obliterating the most effective policy ever enacted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change.
The new rule is “a deliberate decision to steer us at high speed toward a more dangerous climate,” said Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It also cedes American leadership in vehicle manufacturing, putting the automakers at risk in a global market.”
The initiative has been marked by tumult and repeated delays amid criticism from academics, environmental groups and even the Environmental Protection Agency’s own science advisers, who said the move to weaken the standards was underpinned by shoddy analysis.
Under the new requirements, 2026 model-year fleet cars, trucks and SUVs will average roughly 40 miles per gallon as opposed to closer to 47 mpg under the previous standards.
“As we have done numerous times over the last three years, today’s announcement again delivers on President Trump’s promise to remove and replace undue — and in this case, unrealistic — regulatory burdens,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in statement.
Wheeler said the new standards would save lives and money, while giving motorists more choice with regard to the cars they drive. He blamed the previous standards for driving up new-vehicle costs and pushing Americans to hold on to older, less-safe cars longer.
Because the standards set a floor, not a ceiling, on fuel economy, consumers still have the choice to buy hybrids, electric vehicles or other highly efficient vehicles, said James Owens, acting head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “American families can’t get the benefits of safety and better environmental standards of new vehicles if they can’t afford the sticker price in the first place,” he said.
Federal agencies completed a critical piece of the Trump administration plan last year: a rule stripping California of its power to set limits on auto emissions of greenhouse gases that are stricter than those of the national government and encourage electric vehicles.
Court Fight Looms
White House officials had been considering the move as early as February 2017, before Trump announced in front of a gathering of auto workers near Detroit that his administration would re-evaluate the standards brokered by former President Barack Obama, automakers and California officials.
California and environmental groups have challenged last year’s move against the state and litigation is still underway. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Tuesday threatened more to come, calling the measure “an unlawful attempt to change our clean-car standards” that runs afoul of the Clean Air Act.
“The federal government should be in the business of applying this law rather than violating it,” Becerra said.
Environmental groups also vowed to fight the plan in court, arguing the final regulation violates federal law requiring the government to set fuel economy standards at the maximum feasible level. Automakers are already producing electric vehicles that don’t generate tailpipe emissions, which they say proves the standards could have been made tougher, rather than weakened.
The final rule responds to some automakers’ concerns by largely preserving existing flexibilities baked into the Obama-era program, including allowing companies to claim credit for improvements to vehicle air-conditioning systems. The EPA also opted to extend an existing incentive for electric vehicles, instead of eliminating it as some conservatives had hoped. However, the administration is also taking action to propel natural gas vehicles by effectively giving them extra credit under the program.
Some conservatives who had argued for wiping the standards away altogether still rallied behind the final result. The final plan is “pretty meaty,” said Tom Pyle, head of the American Energy Alliance. “They’re not freezing” the standards, and instead “it’s a reduction of the wildly unachievable rule that the previous administration rushed through.”
— With assistance by Malathi Nayak
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Coronavirus stimulus checks to be sent 3 weeks from today
FOX Business’ Edward Lawrence gives a timeline of when Americans will start receiving money now that the House has passed the coronavirus spending bill.
As the coronavirus pandemic threatens to crush small businesses across the country, the Small Business Administration launched a pilot program this week to deliver expedited financing for eligible businesses as they await relief from the federal government.
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The Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows authorized lenders to get financing on an emergency basis to small businesses while they apply and await for long-term relief. Eligible small businesses include those located in counties that have been declared disaster areas by the White House and those based in any state that have been adversely impacted by the virus outbreak.
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A bridge loan is a type of short-term loan that’s intended to assist businesses in the gap between two long-term financing loans. Frequently, companies use bridge loans when necessary to cover cash shortfalls when they must repay one loan before having time to obtain a new long-term loan.
Companies generally can pay off a bridge loan at any time without facing a penalty.
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The $2 trillion stimulus package that received congressional approval on Friday includes more than $370 billion in funding for small businesses. Businesses with fewer than 500 employees are eligible for up to $10 million in loans, which can be used for payroll and other expenses, like insurance premiums, mortgages, rent or utilities.
The government will pay off the loan balance so long as the companies either do not lay off workers or rehire ones they’ve already let go.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said small businesses will be able to go into banks “next Friday and be able to get loans.” The Trump administration will release further guidance in coming days, he said.
“We’re going to get money to you,” he said.
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New York (CNN Business)A record number of Americans filed for their first week of unemployment benefits last week, as businesses shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Initial jobless claims soared to a seasonally adjusted 3.28 million in the week ended March 21, according to the Department of Labor.
That is the highest number of initial jobless claims in history, since the Department of Labor started tracking the data in 1967. The previous high was 695,000 claims filed in the week ending October 2, 1982.
“Most historical comparisons of this scale are inadequate.The closest would be natural disasters like major hurricanes. However, as today’s report shows, the coronavirus outbreak is economically akin to a major hurricane occurring in every state around the country for weeks on end,” Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao wrote in emailed comments.
Last week’s jump marked a massive increase from a revised 282,000 claims in the prior week. Prior to the pandemic, initial claims had been hovering in the low 200,000s each week, reflecting a strong job market.
But in the last couple weeks, the coronavirus outbreak has forced many businesses to suddenly shut down as the country tries to slow the spreading virus. For many businesses that also means laying off workers, at least temporarily.
That is the key difference between the coronavirus shock compared with past periods of economic distress: it is sudden and impacts virtually every industry and business model around.
As a result, economists are expecting millions of job losses in the coming weeks.
Heidi Shierholz, a former chief economist for the US Department of Labor who is now with the Economic Policy Institute, called the surge in unemployment claims just the tip of the iceberg.
“We estimate that by summer, 14 million workers will lost their jobs due to the coronavirus shock,” she said in a tweet.
Economists now expect the US economy to fall into a recession in the second quarter, before staging a comeback later in the year after the spread of the virus slows.
Meanwhile, state labor departments across the country are have struggled to deal with the sudden influx in claims for unemployment benefits. The New York Labor Department, for example, has added server capacity and hired more than 65 additional staff to handle all the claims that are suddenly pouring in. And last week, Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity said it planned to hire 100 extra staff to help answer calls and walk people through the application process.
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Unemployment numbers climb to 30k in Connecticut alone: Report
According to the Hartford Courant, jobless claim numbers are rising more than 10 times the normal rate. FOX Business’ Dagen McDowell with more.
The economic effects of the coronavirus are deepening as the illness spreads throughout the U.S. – impacting many Americans’ working lives.
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A new analysis from Goldman Sachs predicts that as many as 2.25 million unemployment claims could be filed this week. The previous record – 700,000 – was set in 1982.
Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on Monday that the weekly unemployment claims number would be “a large number.”
Last week, 281,000 people filed jobless claims (for the week ending March 14) as federal and state governments across the country asked businesses to close down and workers to stay home in an attempt to limit human-to-human contact.
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If you find yourself among the many workers who are out of work as businesses across the country shutter, here’s what to know about filing an unemployment claim:
In order to qualify for unemployment insurance, it is generally required that individuals meet certain criteria, as outlined on the Department of Labor’s website. Those criteria include:
- You are unemployed through no fault of your own. In most states, this means you have to have separated from your last job due to a lack of available work.
- You meet work and wage requirements. You must meet your state’s requirements for wages earned or time worked during an established period of time referred to as a “base period.” (In most states, this is usually the first four out of the last five completed calendar quarters before the time that your claim is filed.)
- You meet any other specific criteria outline by your state
Unemployment programs are administered jointly by the federal government and state governments – as such, procedures and criteria can vary. You can view your specific state’s program here.
How to apply
In order to apply for unemployment insurance benefits, you must file a claim through your state’s program, which – depending on where you live – could require you to file online, in person or by telephone.
The Department of Labor recommends you contact your state’s program as soon as possible after you become unemployed. It typically takes two to three weeks to receive your first benefit check after your claim has been filed.
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To make sure your claim gets processed in a timely fashion, make sure all of the information you provide is accurate.
The Department of Labor is allowing states to amend their programs to specifically address new challenges brought on by the coronavirus. That flexibility allows states to pay insurance to individuals who, for example, leaves employment due to risk of exposure or to care for a family member.
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As previously reported by FOX Business, lawmakers were looking to potentially boost unemployment insurance for those who lost their jobs due to the effects of the coronavirus. Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney and South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said during a stakeout on Capitol Hill last week that they were both on board with a proposal to “substantially” increase unemployment insurance checks.
Graham said that lawmakers are considering having the federal government “make up the difference” of the amount of an individual’s unemployment check at the state level, up to 75 percent of his or her income, for a person earning $80,000.
The government is also planning to send checks of $1,200 to many American households as a separate form of relief. If the situation doesn’t improve, the government could issue two of these direct cash payments.
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The Australian government announced a second set of economic responses to support households and businesses and address the economic consequences of the coronavirus, or, covid-19.
The latest announcement together with the initial package will take overall stimulus to A$189 billion or 9.7 percent of Australia’s GDP.
“We will be doing everything we can to protect those most vulnerable to the impacts of this crisis and to preserve the businesses that employ them,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison, said. “There will be more support to come.”
The government enhanced the cash flow support for eligible small and medium-sized businesses to A$100,000. The government will guarantee 50 percent of SME loans.
The instant asset write-off threshold was raised to A$150,000 from A$30,000.
The government also introduced a time-limited 15 month investment incentive to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions.
Measures also include early release of pension savings and temporary reductions of superannuation minimum drawdown requirements.
A$550 payment for recipients of Jobseeker payment, youth allowance jobseeker, parenting payment, farm household allowance and special benefit.
Two separate A$750 payments to support household incomes. Half of those eligible recipients are pensioners.
Australia is moving closer to shutting down a large share of its services sector and the GDP is expected to fall by 4 percent this year, Marcel Thieliant, an economist at Capital Economics, said.
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