Cost of living crisis support for Camden businesses
The cost of living crisis has created challenges for business, families and communities. With interest rates expected to peak at 13.1%, the rising costs of food, fuel and energy bills have made it more difficult for businesses and people across the borough to make ends meet.
We know this is a challenging time, and are consulting with our partners, including our five Business Improvement Districts on how to best support local businesses. We are also lobbying on the cost of living crisis with London Councils, and working with trade and lobby bodies nationally, including the Federation of Small Businesses and London Chamber of Commerce. This page will be updated with support available to Camden businesses during this difficult period.
Energy Bill Relief Scheme and government support
The government has announced a package of support for businesses and non-domestic customers, running from 1st October 2022, to 31st March 2023, with targeted support to come. The scheme will be available for those with non-domestic contracts, including businesses, schools, as well as voluntary and public sector organisations. The value of discount for each business will vary according to circumstances and contract type. These changes will automatically be applied from October, with the first savings being seen in November bills. To find out further information and eligibility, please visit Energy Bill Relief Scheme.
The government has also announced a series of relief measures for businesses. These include:
- Reduction of National Insurance Contributions (NICs) by 1.25%, effective from November 2022
- Cancellation of planned UK Corporation Tax rise, from 19% to 25%, effective from April 2023
- Basic rate of income Tax reduce to 19p, from April 2023
To find out further information about the economic relief the government has announced, visit the London Business Hub.
Cost of Doing Business Hub
The London Business Hub has useful tools and resources in its Cost of Doing Business Hub. There are practical steps and information including:
- Debt management, cash flow and insurance cover for businesses
- Support for rising energy costs
- Loans and finance
- Sustainability and support with transition to net zero, including the Mayor's Business Climate Challenge
Rents and property
While remote working became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, workers have started coming back into offices more regularly. This has created a surge in demand for commercial office space, with rents across Camden continuing to rise.
The London Business Hub has announced a Property Advice Service, which provides free support and resources for small, medium and micro businesses around:
- Lease signing and renewal
- Rent disputes and arbitration
- Resources and support on business rates, property management and lease negotiations
- One-to-one property support
Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less may also be eligible for Small Business Rates Relief.
The government has increased Employment Allowance from £4,000 to £5,000 in order to provide relief to small businesses. Employment Allowance helps eligible businesses and charities to reduce their annual National Insurance contributions. The government expects that 50,000 businesses will benefit from this tax relief.
It may sound like an extra cost, but supporting your staff and their wellbeing can be good for business. The London Living Wage helps employers to avoid high staff turnover and unnecessary recruitment costs by paying a wage matched to the cost of living.
Camden is also creating an Inclusive Business Network for businesses that are committed to providing inclusive, flexible and secure work where people can progress and develop. To find out when it launches, sign up for our monthly business newsletter.
Support for rising energy costs
The Energy Price Cap means suppliers cannot charge utilities higher than the backstop protection from government for default tariffs. You may also be able to save money by switching suppliers or agreeing an affordable payment plan.
Ofgem has free resources for businesses, including advice on setting up affordable payment plans with suppliers, payment reductions and breaks and switching energy contracts.
The government has announced an Energy Price Guarantee, which caps costs at an average of £2,500 yearly across two years for households.
Several support payments are available for our more vulnerable residents, including those with disabilities, older residents and those in receipt of Universal Credit. You can support your staff by making them aware of the Cost of Living Payment, Disability Cost of Living Payment and Winter Fuel Payment.
Finance, loans, and debt management
We urge businesses to seek independent financial advice from a qualified advisor as circumstances will vary.
The Recovery Loan Scheme helps small and medium sized businesses access loans and finance to aid their recovery.
The British Business Bank has free resources around debt management, cash flow, and understanding and managing debt. If you are struggling to pay your self-assessment tax bill, HMRC is offering instalments and payment plans.
Camden Council is unable to offer any general grants to support business cash flow, but if any of your staff are Camden residents they may be eligible for the Cost of Living Crisis Fund. Residents can receive up to £500 to help meet food, heating, water and electricity bills or to pay their rent.
Internet and connectivity
As employees mix office visits and remote working, it is important to ensure your staff have access to fair internet tariffs. Ofcom has outlined social tariffs for people who may be struggling with broadband or telephone costs. Some providers offer cheaper or more cost effective packages for those in receipt of government benefits, such as Job Seekers Allowance or Universal Credit.
Mental health and wellbeing
If you are struggling with your mental health and wellbeing, support is available.
Reach out to Citizens Advice Camden, who can be contacted on 0808 278 7835 or get in touch with one of the local organisations in Camden Advice Network (CAN). You may also wish to signpost staff to your local Citizen's Advice Bureau.
If life is becoming overwhelming and you need a safe and independent place to seek advice, Samaritans offer non-judgemental guidance and support. You can call Samaritans 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week, at 0330 094 5717, or Freephone 116 123.
Further support and resources
There are further resources and support measures available for businesses, including:
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Rates Relief
If your business activity is centred around in-person retail, hospitality and leisure services, you could be eligible for business rates relief across the financial year to April 2023.
British Library Business and IP Centre
The British Library’s Business and IP Centre is offering free, one-to-one business support and workshops for investors, entrepreneurs and small businesses across Camden.
The British Business Bank
The British Business Bank has useful resources and information for small businesses and dealing with the cost of living crisis, including tools on managing energy costs.
Net Zero Business Support
The cost of living crisis has highlighted the need for businesses to be more energy efficient. Sustainable Ventures is offering up to four hours of free business support and training for small businesses on their Net Zero Readiness Strategies.