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Small Business Support during Coronavirus crisis

Please note we are trying to keep this page as up to date as possible, but always check the sources detailed for the very latest advice in this rapidly changing time. 


Financial Support for businesses:

We have summarised the key support at the moment.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme 

This temporary scheme will give businesses access to bank lending and overdrafts to help them through the COVID-19 crisis. The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan to give lenders confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.
CBILS is now live and can be accessed through participating lenders, please see more information:

Future Fund

The Future Fund will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, 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 and is expected to launch in May 2020. 

For further information on eligibility and headline terms, please see www.gov.uk/guidance/future-fund

Refunds of Statutory Sick Pay

The government announced that small and medium-sized businesses will be able to reclaim a refund on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for employees affected by Coronavirus.

This requires new legislation to be introduced and current systems are not set up to facilitate employer refunds for SSP. The government said it “will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible”.

Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the payroll, otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and is initially open until October 2020 but will be extended if necessary.
Coronavirus Job Retention Bonus - a Job Retention Bonus will be introduced to incentivise businesses to retain their furloughed workers. Employers in the UK will receive a one-off bonus of £1000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.

Kick Start Scheme 

The fund will subsidise six-month work placements for people on Universal Credit aged between 16 and 24, who are at risk of long-term unemployment.
For each "kickstarter" job, the government will cover the cost of 25 hours' work a week at the National Minimum Wage - £4.55 for under 18s, £6.45 for 18 to 20-year-olds, and £8.20 for 21 to 24-year-olds.
Employers will be able to top up that payment if they wish.
The scheme will open for applications in August, with the first jobs expected to start in the autumn, and run until December 2021 - with the option of being extended.


Benefits for the self-employed

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000.
Additionally, self-employed people are likely to not be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, so the government said it will make it easier for them to make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance.


Business rates

To help High Street businesses in England, the government announced that thousands of companies will pay no business rates in 2020-21.
The business rates retail discount for companies with a rateable value below £51,000 will be increased to 100% for one year and expanded to the leisure and hospitality sectors. The planned rates discount for pubs will rise from £1,000 to £5,000.

Details on all of the above schemes can be found here:

- this scheme has now been extended to include nurseries.

Support to keep trading:

Pay it Forward - now live

With an uncertain operational landscape over the coming weeks, the Crowdfunder website has put together a National Gift Voucher Program in partnership with Enterprise Nation. The aim of the program is to encourage customers to support their local F&B businesses by procuring future services today.
For further information keep an eye on:

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.
Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.
Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

Eat Out to Help Out – Hospitality Business Support

The Eat Out to Help Out voucher scheme was announced as part of The Chancellor's mini budget, offering a government subsidised discount to encourage diners to return to hospitality businesses nationwide. VAT will also be slashed from 20% to 5% to help stimulate spending in the stricken sector.
To find out more on the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/register-your-establishment-for-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme 

Royal Mail and other delivery services

Royal Mail have confirmed today that they intend to keep providing services throughout the crises, however many service providers are taking steps to reduce interactions where possible and are putting in place ‘no contact drops’. 

Small Business Commissioner providing credit control advice

Businesses may experience their Clients seeking to extend their payment terms as the impact of the crisis continues. It is important for businesses to keep communicating, maintaining relationships and working collaboratively to find solutions.
The Small Business Commissioner is looking to provide more support in the coming weeks for businesses experiencing difficulty and disruptions to their credit control operations. 

HMRC new Tax Helpline

HMRC has set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
The helpline allows any business or self-employed individual who is concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus to get practical help and advice. Up to 2,000 experienced call handlers are available to support businesses and individuals when needed.

Tax Helpline: 0800 0159 559


Income Tax and VAT Deferral

We will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system may be deferred until January 2021.