Updated: March 2021
The information and any opinions contained in this summary are for general information purposes only, are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances.
In these unprecedented and challenging times, businesses throughout the UK need all the support that they can get. The Government has implemented a full range of business support measures, which are available to businesses and their employees. This article is a summary of the help that is available for your business and details of the grants and loans, made available by the Government, that you can apply for. Links are also supplied so that you can quickly access the information that is particularly relevant to your business.
When the UK was first placed in lockdown, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak announced:
“We are working round the clock to do whatever it takes to protect our people and businesses. That means that we are not only taking unprecedented action but doing so at unprecedented speed, because we know that businesses and their employees need help now.”
Coronavirus support continues to be available for businesses, including:
- Loans, tax relief and cash grants
- Financial support to employers in certain circumstances to pay wages
- Taxable grants covering 80% of trading profits for self-employed people in certain circumstances
List of support measures from the Government for businesses
Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan – Updated
Type of business and eligibility: Small and Medium sized businesses (SMEs) based in the UK which have been negatively affected by coronavirus and were not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019.
What it is: A new 100% Government-backed loan scheme with no arrangement fees or interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months
Finance available: between £2,000 and £50,000
Timescale: Up to 6 years
Benefits: Easy to apply via a short, standardised online application, and the loan should reach businesses within days, providing immediate support to businesses who need them.
When: The scheme is open to applications until 30 November 2020.
You cannot apply if you are already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, but you can you arrange for it to be transferred into the Bounce Back Loan Scheme with your lender until 4 November 2020.
Click here to find out more information on the Government’s website.
Recovery loans available to businesses from 6 April
Applications for bounce back loans will close on 31 March. However, as part of the 2021 Budget, the Treasury announced a new state-backed ‘recovery loan’ will be available to all viable businesses impacted by the pandemic.
The market is awaiting further details following the recent budget announcement from the treasury but here is what we know so far:
Finance available: Loans and overdrafts of between £25,000 and £10m will be available. Asset/invoice finance from £1,000 to £10m is also part of the scheme.
Benefits: Finance of up to £250,000 will be unsecured (ie you won’t have to put up property or other assets as collateral). You’ll be able to apply even if you have a bounce-back loan.
Timescale: Terms will be up to six years for loans and asset finance, and up to three years for overdrafts and invoice finance.
Funds can be used for any ‘legitimate business purpose’. Again, further details will follow once more information has been made available.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – Updated
Type of business and eligibility: Small and Medium sized businesses (SMEs) which are UK based with a turnover of up to £45 million p.a. and meet British Business Bank eligibility criteria
What it is: A temporary scheme giving access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance, and asset finance.
Finance available: Up to £5m
Timescale: Up to 6 years for term loans and asset finance, and up to 3 years for overdrafts and invoice finance facilities
Benefits: No upfront costs and lower initial payments (over the first 12 months)
When: The scheme is now open and the full rules of the scheme and guidance on how to apply is available on the British Business Bank website. The scheme was originally open until 30 November 2020 before being extended to 31 March 2021.
What to do: Contact your bank or apply through one of over 40 accredited finance providers
Click here to find out more information on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure – Updated
Type of business and eligibility: Those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England
What it is: Will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year
Businesses: Shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues, hotels, and guest & boarding houses
What to do: Your local authority should have automatically applied the business rates holiday to your Council Tax bill in April 2020 and there is no action required from you
Guidance was issued on 25 March 2020 which gives further details on the operation of the expanded retail discount 2020 to 2021 coronavirus response. This can be viewed online here.
In the 3 March 2021 budget, the Chancellor announced that eligible ratepayers would also receive a discount on their business rates bills for the year 2021/2022 of 100% for the first three months and 66% for the remainder of the year. This discount is subject to a cash cap of £2 million. Full details relating to the cash cap can be found here.
Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure – Updated
Type of business and eligibility: Those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors
What it is: In 2020 a cash grant of up to £25,000 was made available per property to those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. On the announcement of the third national lockdown, on 5 March, a further cash grant of up to £9,000 per property was made available to these venues
How it works:£4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £25,000 or under; £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £25,000 and £51,000 and £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000.
Businesses: Shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues, hotels, guest and boarding houses
What to do: Unlike the original grants, which were automatically paid by the local authorities to eligible businesses, small business owners are required to apply for this support. The Treasury also announced a further £594 million discretionary fund to support other businesses not eligible for the grants. View the government guidance for full information including how to apply.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Updated
Type of business: All UK employers with a PAYE scheme, and which meet the eligibility rules; also applies to the public sector, Local Authorities and charities
What it is: HMRC will reimburse up to 80% of employees’ wages up to £2,500. The scheme was initially backdated to 1 March to last for 3 months but has been extended on several occasions as the pandemic has progressed.
What to do: Employers should have designated employees as furloughed workers and notified them of the change. A furloughed worker is an employee who has been asked to stop working but is retained on the payroll. The relevant information should be submitted to HMRC.
When: The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 3 September 2021. As of March 2021 employers can no longer submit claims for claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.
For more information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, visit the Government website.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate
Type of business: SMEs (Small to Medium-sized Enterprises)
What it is: Support to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if paid to staff for absence due to coronavirus, covering up to 2 weeks per eligible employee. Employees do not require a doctor’s fit note for a claim.
Eligibility: UK-based businesses with fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020
What to do: The online service is now available.
Check the Government’s business support website for updates.
If you are self-employed, you may be eligible for Universal Credit.
Time To Pay
Type of business: All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress
What it is: You may receive support if you have outstanding tax liabilities through HMRC’s Time To Pay service
Eligibility: Your business pays tax to the UK Government and you have outstanding tax liabilities
What to do: Contact HMRC in the usual way or call 0800 0159 559 and HMRC will discuss the options available to you
When: Support is available now
Click here for more information.
Income Tax Deferral for the Self-Employed – Updated
Type of Business: Self-employed
What it is: Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system were deferred to January 2021
What to do: This was an automatic offer with no application required, as it was be applied automatically by HMRC, with no penalties or interest for late payment charged in the deferral period
When: Payments due on 31 July 2020 deferred until the 31 January 2021. Individuals who chose to defer this payment may have had three payments to make on 31 January 2021: their deferred July 2020 payment on account; any 2019 to 2020 balancing charge; their first 2020 to 2021 payment on account.
Due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic, HMRC has scaled up its Time to Pay offer to help individuals – and businesses – who are in temporary financial distress as a result of coronavirus and have outstanding tax liabilities.
For more information, visit the Government website.
Further resources and information
If you are looking for further information on business support and how to get coronavirus financial help for you business, visit the Government’s website.