Coronavirus business support available
This page details all of the coronavirus (COVID-19) business support available to help mitigate the impact of the outbreak. We will keep it updated as more information is announced by government.
You can access the government’s “support finder” tool, which helps businesses and self employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers impacted by coronavirus will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary. All UK businesses are eligible.
Following the Chancellor’s update on 5 November regarding renewed lockdown measures, the Job Retention Scheme has been extended from 5 November to 31 March to cover all areas of the UK. This scheme will replace the previously announced Job Support Scheme, and will provide workers with 80% of their standard salary (up to a cap of £2,500/month). Employers will be required to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions for all furloughed employees. More information on this scheme and application is available through the government website.
You will need to:
- Designate affected employees as “furloughed workers” and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
- Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through the online portal
Pay As you Grow Loan Repayments
Under the Winter Economy Plan announced on 25 September, the government will provide all businesses who borrowed under the Bounce Back Loan scheme the option to repay their loan over a period of ten years, reducing average monthly repayments by almost half over this period. The scheme also allows business to move to interest-free repayments for up to six months or pause repayments for up to six months, however this option is only available once businesses have made six repayments. More information on the scheme is available here.
New Payment Scheme
Also announced within the Winter Economy Plan, the New Payment Scheme allows businesses who deferred VAT payments in March- June 2020 to spread their payments over the 2021-22 financial year. All businesses will be eligible, and will be required to opt-in through a portal scheduled to be made available in early 2021.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank (BBB), will primarily support small and medium-sized businesses in accessing bank lending and overdrafts.
This scheme will help any viable business with a turnover of up to £45m to access government-backed finance of up to £5m. Interest payments and any lender-levied fees for businesses will be covered by the government for an initial period of up to twelve months. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80 per cent on each facility to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The scheme is available through more than 40 accredited lenders.
To be eligible for support via CBILS, the small business must:
- Be UK based in its business activity, with turnover of no more than £41m per annum
- Operate within an eligible industrial sector (a small number of industrial sectors are not eligible for support – have a look at BBB’s eligibility criteria)
- Be able to confirm that they have not received de minimis state aid beyond €200,000 equivalent over the current and previous two fiscal years
- Have a sound borrowing proposal, but insufficient security to meet the lender’s requirements
Changes announced on 2 April mean:
- Personal guarantees cannot be taken for any facilities below £250,000
- Insufficient security is no longer a condition to access the scheme
- Personal guarantees may be required for facilities over £250,000 but are capped at 20 per cent of the outstanding balance after business asset recoveries
- Access to the scheme has been opened up to more businesses which would have previously met the requirements for a commercial facility
The BBB will not provide CBILS loans directly to small businesses that are affected by coronavirus. The BBB will facilitate the provision of CBILS loans by accredited lenders. Businesses affected by coronavirus which wish to apply for a CBILS loan will therefore need to make an application to a participating lender. These lenders range from high-street banks, to challenger banks, asset-based lenders and smaller specialist local lenders.
Whether a lender requires a personal guarantee for a loan of more than £250,000 supported by the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is at the discretion of the lender, who is accredited by the BBB to benefit from the guarantee the scheme provides. Personal guarantees required on facilities above 250,000 are also capped at 20 per cent of the outstanding balance after business asset recoveries.
If a personal guarantee is required under the lender’s credit policy, it cannot be taken against the borrower’s home. The BBB’s website outlines further details on the eligibility criteria, how you can access the scheme and the types of finance available.
Bounce Back Loans scheme
From May, small businesses will be able to access a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans of up to £50,000. The scheme has been designed to ensure that small firms needing cash injections to keep operating can get finance in a matter of days.
- Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and can apply online through a standardised online application
- Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months and 100 per cent backed by the government
- Loan terms will be up to six years and no repayments will be due during the first 12 months
The scheme will launch for applications on 4 May and more information on it can be found here. The government has said it will work with lenders to ensure loans delivered through the scheme are advanced as quickly as possible and agree a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan.
You can apply for a loan if your business:
- Is based in the UK
- Has been negatively affected by coronavirus
- Was not an “undertaking in difficulty” on 31 December 2019
The following businesses are not eligible:
- Banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
- Public sector bodies
- Further education establishments, if they are grant-funded
- State-funded primary and secondary schools
Coronavirus Future Fund
The Future Fund provides government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5m, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The scheme will be delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank.
You are eligible for this scheme if your business is based in the UK, can attract the equivalent match funding from third-party private investors and institutions and has previously raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last five years. The government will be publishing further eligibility criteria in due course. You can view the terms of these loans, which include the right for the government to convert them into discounted equity stakes if they’re not repaid, here.
In addition to the Future Fund, the government has made £750m in grants and loans to smaller businesses focused on research and development.
Coronavirus business support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility
To support larger firms, the Bank of England has announced a new lending facility (the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility) to provide a quick and cost-effective way to raise working capital via the purchase of short-term debt. This will support companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, enabling each to continue financing short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.
The scheme will be funded by central bank reserves – in line with other Bank of England market operations. It will operate for at least 12 months, and for as long as steps are needed to relieve cash flow pressures on firms that make a material contribution to the UK economy.
The scheme is open to firms that can demonstrate that they were in sound financial health prior to the impact of coronavirus. Companies who wish to use the scheme do not need to have issued commercial paper before.
In order to access the CCFF, you will need to contact your bank. It is important to note that not all banks issue commercial paper. If your bank does not issue commercial paper, UK Finance will provide a list of banks that are able to assist. Further details, including practical steps your firm needs to take in order to access the CCFF, as well as other frequently asked questions can be found on the Bank of England’s website.
Want to learn more about your options during the coronavirus crisis? We talked to business owners and directors across the country to find out the steps they’re taking with customers, cash flow and more. Here’s what they had to say.
Support for businesses and individuals paying tax
The government will defer VAT payments in financial quarter running from April-June and businesses will have until the end of the tax year to repay those bills.
All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
To support the self-employed, the government will suspend the minimum income floor to access universal credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees and defer the next self-assessment payments to January 2021.
If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres, etc, is sufficient to make a claim.
Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact providers. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.
Support for retail, hospitality and leisure sector
Firms in retail, leisure and hospitality sectors will now have a 12-month business rates holiday irrespective of the rateable value of the property
You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:
- Your business is based in England
- Your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector
Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:
- As shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
- For assembly and leisure
- As hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation
How to access the scheme:
There is no action to take. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.
Firms in the retail/hospitality/leisure sector without insurance and with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will be eligible for a cash grant of up to £25,000. Local Authorities will write to all eligible businesses with information on how to claim this grant. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant Local Authority.
The government have made a further £617 million available for small businesses with ongoing fixed property related costs. Eligible businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to coronavirus restriction measures.
Support for small businesses
A £10,000 cash grant is available from Local Authorities announced for businesses in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief.
You will be eligible if:
- Your business is based in England
- You are a small business and already receive SBRR and/or RRR
- You are a business that occupies property
- Your property’s rateable value is less than £15,000
- Your Local Authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant. To find out what your local authority is, use the GOV.UK checker
The government has also introduced measures to protect high street stores and other rental premises from aggressive rent collection, asking businesses to pay what they can during the pandemic. These measures, announced on 23 April, apply for the period to 30 June 2020.
The new temporary measures include voiding statutory demands and petitions to commercial tenants, as well as changing the terms of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery. Following a statement from Business Secretary Alok Sharma on 23 April 2020, stores will be asked to pay what they can towards their rent.
The government is also drafting secondary legislation to provide tenants with greater flexibility in their rent payments and further banning commercial landlords from using the Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery, unless they are owed 90 days of unpaid rent.
More information on the scheme is available on Gov.uk
Support for businesses affected by local lockdowns
The government has announced that businesses in England that are required to shut because of local interventions, will now be able to claim up to £1,500 per property every three weeks.
To be eligible for the grant, a business must have been required to close due to local Covid-19 restrictions. Large businesses will receive £1,500 every three weeks they are required to close, whilst smaller businesses will receive £1,000. Further details on eligibility are available here.
Payments are triggered by a national decision to close businesses in a high incidence area. Each payment will be made for a 3-week lockdown period. Each new 3-week lockdown period triggers an additional payment.
The payments are administered by local councils in affected areas.
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16 Replies to “Coronavirus business support available”
What is the stance of the scheme to adhoc workers during this period? If they are no longer able to work at their job because the company stops taking them in for shifts, can they be furloughed from their agency until work starts to pick up again and they start to receive more hours?
Hi Gary, thank you for your question. The current government guidance suggests that agency workers can be furloughed, yes. However, this is the agency’s decision to make, rather than the end-employer. Links to the government guidance and also the view of a law firm on this issue are below for you. If you have other questions about furloughing we’ve also set up a Frequently Asked Questions document – link for this below as well.
I started my new job in March, so after the furlough cut off date. So I was told yesterday by my employer that my role is safe, but they can’t pay me because of the loophole. I worried what to do next, as UC doesn’t cover all of my monthly outgoings. What other help is out there?
Hi Curtis, thank you for your question. The Money Advice Service and Citizens Advice have the most up-to-date information and advice on what help is available. Links are below for you, as well as the latest government advice on what to do. If you are worried about monthly outgoings then companies including banks and energy suppliers are also encouraging people to get in touch and discuss their situation and options. Many banks have also extended interest-free overdrafts to help as well.
What about one man bands that trade as a Limited Company? There doesn’t seem to be anything available for these types of business.
Hi Lisa, thank you for submitting your question. While we don’t know the specifics of your business, as a Limited Company you may be able to access the Business Interruption Loan Scheme – details in the link below. Alternatively, double check the details of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme just in case. If you don’t believe you can access either of these programmes however, then there are other areas to consider. If you are VAT-registered, then payment deferrals are being allowed. If you rent premises to trade from, then you cannot be evicted even if you miss a rent payment between now and June (link below with the details). Last but not least, you can speak to the government’s free business support helpline for advice – link below as well. And contact your local chamber of commerce as they may also have advice relevant to your local area.
I work as a part time nurse practitioner but live with my 95 yr old father since the death of my mother- 60 miles away and I am his main carer ( no other help). My work and home are in Morecambe. As I work in an Urgent Treatment Centre therefore high risk and so concerned at passing anything to my father. HR are aware and I am off for 12 weeks . I work 2x 10 hour shifts for which work said they would pay one shift and to take a/l for the other shift. I ve had to take paid a/l in order to cover my outgoings. My a/l will end after 12weeks and if I need to be off I am unsure how I will manage. Any advice would be appreciated. Many thanks.
Hi Kathryn, thank you for submitting your question. There are a couple of things to consider and look into further which may help you. The first is to talk to your employer again about your situation. If you cannot work because of the need to protect your father, then you may be able to talk to your employer about other options – check out the ‘Employment and Financial Support’ section of the government website link below. When it comes to your outgoings, this is a concern lots of people are facing. Citizens Advice and the Money Advice Service have good advice on what to do (links below for you). Energy, water and phone/internet companies are also prioritising customers who face difficulty paying bills right now, and some banks are offering interest-free overdrafts. So it’s worth talking to each of the companies like these that you pay regular bills to.
Hi We opened our Business in July 2019, so we have not been trading for 12 months so are not able to apply for self employment help. We pay rates through our Landlord so as we do not have a rateable value we are not able to apply for the small business grant. We are fully insured which coveres infectious diesease but as it doesnt speciafically say pendemic they will not pay us a claim. We have abided by Government legislation and closed our Spa, but we are at risk of losing our Business and our Home due to no fault of our own. Our Accountant told us to apply for UC but that would cover anything. Is there any help out there for us?
Hi Michelle, thanks for your question. There are a couple of things you can consider, yes. Firstly, the government has stipulated that businesses who cannot pay their commercial rent should not be evicted from their premises. This policy will last initially until June and a link to the full detail is below for you. Secondly, while you may not be eligible for the small business grant, you may be able to apply for a coronavirus business interruption loan – full details on this are below as well for you. Finally, if you currently pay VAT, then deferrals and payment holidays are also being allowed for this by HMRC. Again, details below for you.
I am self employed and rent a workshop space to keep my tools etc is there any help with paying this rental?
Hi Jackie, thanks for your question. The government has pledged that no one should be evicted from commercial premises for missing rent payments between March and June. So, it’s worth looking at this in more detail and talking to your landlord. Further details of this are at the link below for you. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/extra-protection-for-businesses-with-ban-on-evictions-for-commercial-tenants-who-miss-rent-payments
We are online fancy dress retailers with a click and collect facility. We have had to close our business and furlough all our staff as very few people buy fancy dress to stay at home (leisure associated activity). We are not apparently eligible for a grant as we are not a “shop” according to the local council. They seem to be making a distintion between online retail and bricks and mortar retail (ie the sales channel) rather than what is sold. They assume all online retailers are prospering in the lockdown.
Any advice, as I’ve already contacted our MP but with no luck. There does not appear to be an appeals system.
Hi Tim, The Government has launched a new ‘support finder’ tool which will help businesses and self-employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them. For more details, please visit this link: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder
You might also find some of our How To Guides useful, which include ideas on how to come up with new revenue streams or collaborate with other business. You can access these here: http://www.bethebusiness.com/business-support-during-coronavirus-outbreak/coronavirus-how-to-guides-to-help-you-through-the-crisis/
I am receiving bounce back loans very recent, can I able to apply Buisness interruption loans? If yes then how long it’s take time? Thank you. Kind regards.Akhlakur Rahman
Hi Akhlakur, thank you for getting in touch. There are certain criteria your business has to meet to qualify for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan. You can find out more about the criteria here and how to apply. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme