Coronavirus has had an unprecedented impact on businesses across the UK’s commercial and economic landscape, with firms of all sizes in every sector affected. Thankfully, the government’s response has been extensive, with a wealth of support available for businesses feeling the pinch.
Here, we take a look at the range of measures introduced to help support small businesses through the coronavirus crisis. Use the links below to find the information you need or read on for the complete guide.
The government has brought forward a range of measures to support businesses during the COVID-19 crisis, including employee retention schemes, cash grants and payment deferrals. Here’s a quick overview of all the support available:
You’ll find more information on these support packages, including how to access them and check your eligibility, below.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allows employers to claim 80% of the usual salaries of furloughed workers, up to £2,500 a month. The temporary scheme is open to all UK employers for three months, and is there for those whose operations and cashflow have been severely disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
If your business meets the following criteria, you should be eligible to receive support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme:
You can use the government gateway to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The scheme is open now and is available for a three-month period, starting from the date you apply.
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The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme provides SMEs with a package of loan and finance options, including overdrafts, asset finance, invoice finance and loans, worth up to £5 million and repayable over six years. The government will also cover the first 12 months of interest payments and fees, so businesses can benefit from lower initial repayments.
You may be eligible for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme if your business meets the following criteria:
40 accredited lenders have signed up for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, including all major banks. Visit the British Business Bank portal for more information on how to apply for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
The government has launched temporary changes to the way in which businesses pay VAT, with hopes that payment deferrals will help SMEs manage their cashflow. As part of the scheme, businesses can defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020, with payment then due on or before 31 March 2021.
You can access the new VAT payments deferral scheme here.
As well as the main Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes, the government has released a range of measures to help support businesses – including cash grants and monetary relief.
Here’s a quick look at some of the support packages available:
SMEs can reclaim SSP paid for employees off work due to COVID-19; the refund will cover two weeks and is available to employers with under 250 members of staff.
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors can benefit from a business rates holiday for the 2020-21 tax year. This should help businesses to manage cashflow by removing the demand of paying expensive business rates.
A number of cash grants have been made available as part of the Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme, with grants of up to £25,000 available for eligible businesses. The criteria for acceptance as part of the scheme is as follows:
For more information on the different grants and support available for businesses during the COVID-19 crisis, visit the government’s official business support page.
Many small businesses may be seeking support with their business energy bills during the COVID-19 crisis. With question marks over when normal business operations can resume, you may have concerns about the billing and payments process.
Here, we answer common questions regarding managing business energy bills during the COVID-19 crisis.
We’d recommend keeping your provider in the loop regarding the current status of your business. That way, you can be sure of accurate billing going forward which is based on actual usage, rather than estimated.
You’ll receive your business gas and power bills as normal during the COVID-19 crisis, and for as long as your business remains closed. It’s important to let your provider know the status of your business so that you receive an actual bill for usage, which should see a significant drop in how much you spend on gas and electricity.
Other charges, like standing charge costs, still apply when your business is closed due to COVID-19. Such costs cover the third-party expenses related to your energy supply, and cannot be amended even if your place of work is stood empty.
We’d recommend sending a monthly energy read to your supplier so that you know you’re paying the right amount for energy. Most suppliers have suspended meter reading callouts, so performing the meter read yourself is essential.
Your business energy supplier may be able to help if you’re struggling to pay your energy bills during the coronavirus crisis. Most suppliers are working on a case-by-case review basis, with help being offered to customers whose cash flow has been adversely affected by coronavirus in the first instance.
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