With coronavirus forcing many businesses to close their doors, suspend trading, diversify or change the way they work, we’ve had a look at the £350bn worth of support packages being made available to help start-ups and established businesses through this difficult period.
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, first announced a range of schemes during his maiden Budget, with many of these schemes now being rolled out and expanded upon as the business world deals with the effects of the pandemic. An outline of the measures being taken are below:
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
Run by The British Business Bank, CBILS allows smaller businesses to apply for a loan facility of up to £5m if they are experiencing lost or deferred revenues. The scheme went live on Monday 23 March and will initially run for six months. The loans are interest-free for up to 12 months and any loans will need to be repaid within six years, while overdraft and invoice facilities can last for up to three years. To be eligible, businesses must have an annual turnover of no more than £45m and have to prove that the pandemic has had an impact on trading. In the first instances, businesses should approach the provider they already bank with. For more information, visit The British Business Bank website.
Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF)
Businesses with an annual turnover of more than £45m could be supported by the Bank of England’s new CCFF scheme. The CCFF enables larger firms to apply for funding of at least £1m. Businesses must be able to show they were in ‘sound financial health’ before the pandemic hit, ideally through a good credit rating. Again, firms must approach their own finance provider in the first instance. For more information, visit the Bank of England website.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
All employers will be able to access support to continue paying workers 80% of their salaries up to £2,500 a month if they had otherwise been made redundant. Employers will need to tell their employees about this temporary arrangement and then submit information to HMRC through a new online portal. The scheme went live in April, accessible through the government's online portal. This was extended in June to allow for employers to use the scheme flexibly and bring back employees part-time.
UK businesses driving innovation and development will be helped through the coronavirus outbreak with a £1.25 billion government support package. The package includes a new £500 million loan scheme for high-growth firms, called the Future Fund, and £750 million of targeted support for small and medium-sized businesses focusing on research and development. More details on eligibility will be announced soon.
Bounce Back Loans
In April, the government announced a new Bounce Back Loans scheme, enabling small businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months and can be accessed quickly through a network of lenders. Businesses wanting to apply for support will be able to do so by filling in a short online form, which went live in early May.
Business rate holiday
Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will not pay business rates for the 2020/21 financial year. This is applied automatically.
The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors may be eligible for a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property, depending on the rateable value of their property. Local authorities will write to businesses which are eligible.
Small Business Grant Scheme
Grants of £10,000 are available to any business occupying a property that is already receiving Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief. Local authorities will write to businesses which are eligible.
VAT has been deferred for three months from 20 March to 30 June 2020. All UK businesses will be given until the end of the 2020/21 tax year to pay any liabilities. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid as normal by the Government, though.
Statutory Sick Pay
A rebate scheme is being developed to allow small and medium-sized businesses to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay paid for sickness absences caused by coronavirus for up to two weeks per employee. Employees do not need to provide a sick note from a doctor, but an ‘isolation note’ can be obtained by NHS 111 online if necessary. This scheme is now live on the government's dedicated website.
Support for self-employed people
With more than five million UK workers classed as self-employed, the government has announced a series of measures designed to offer support.
Self-employed people with three years' worth of submitted accounts are able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their profit, up to a total of £7,500. They are also able to claim for a second wave of this funding at 70% of their profit, up to £6,570. The scheme is open to people who have annual profits of up to £50,000 a year and who make the majority of their income from self-employment. HMRC is contacting people who are eligible during each wave and this can be submitted through the Government Gateway portal. The grants will need to be declared on tax returns when submitted in January 2022.
Earlier measures announced include the self-employed being able to access Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay – around £94 a week – and the new Employment and Support Allowance is available for people affected by the virus, even if you find yourself simply self-isolating. You won’t need to go to a job centre. For more information on claiming benefits during the coronavirus outbreak, visit the government’s dedicated website.
For anyone who owes tax already, the Government has introduced new ‘time to pay’ arrangements to defer payments if necessary.
Self-assessment payments have also been deferred until January 2021, so sole traders won’t need to pay the tax normally due in July 2020.
The new IR35 regulations, which were due to come into force in April 2020, have also now been postponed for at least a year.
The Government has also launched a new helpline to support businesses and self-employed people during this time. Some 2,000 call handlers are now taking calls on 0800 0159 559 Monday-Saturday.
Virgin StartUp is supporting its community during this period of uncertainty. Read the update from our Managing Director for more information.