Government Coronavirus Business Support
Updated: 30 October 2020
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.
Essential businesses to keep operating during the coronavirus outbreak
The Government is making more than £330 billion of loans and guarantees available in order to help companies continue so that cash flows can be managed and where possible businesses can continue to operate.
A statement from The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak:
“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.”
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.
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 is open until 30 November 2020.
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
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 will automatically apply the business rates holiday to your next 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.
Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure
Type of business and eligibility: Those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors
What it is: A cash grant of up to £25,000 per property
Businesses: Shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues, hotels, guest and boarding houses
What to do: You do not need to do anything, your local authority will contact you if you are eligible
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. Government support for businesses is to be gradually reduced and is effectively closed from 1 July with 10 June being the deadline for employees to be classified as furloughed and eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
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: June and July: 80% of wages will be paid by the Government, capped at £2,500 as well as National Insurance (ER NICs) and pension contributions. Employers are not required to contribute.
August: The Government will continue to pay 80% of wages, capped at £2,500, with the employer responsible for paying ER NICs and pension contributions.
September: The Government will pay 70% of wages, capped at £2,187.50. The employer is responsible for paying ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total, capped at £2,500.
October: The Government will continue to pay 60% of wages, capped at £1,875 with the employer paying ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total, capped at £2,500.
The 30 November is the last day you can submit claims for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020. After this date you will not be able to submit any further claims or add to existing claims.
For more information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, visit the Government website.
Job Retention bonus – New
Who: You can claim the bonus if you’re an employer who has furloughed employees and made an eligible claim for them through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Your employee must have been eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for you to be eligible for the bonus.
What it is: The Job Retention Bonus is a £1,000 one-off taxable payment to you (the employer), for each eligible employee that you furloughed and kept continuously employed until 31 January 2021.
What to do: You can not claim for this bonus yet, you will be able to do so between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021.
For more information and the latest update, visit the Government’s 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
Type of Business: Self-employed
What it is: Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021
What to do: This is an automatic offer with no application required, as it will be applied automatically by HMRC. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period
When: Payments due on 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021
HMRC has also scaled up its Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals 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.