Business Support

“Our plan to support businesses and individuals is one of the most comprehensive in the world." - The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Support for Businesses

To quickly and easily find out about what financial support you may be available for, use the Government's Coronavirus Business Support Finder, https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder

Business Grants:

  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund: Businesses which occupy properties in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are eligible for a grant of £25,000 per property, for each property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 or a grant of £10,000 for properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or below.
  • Small Business Grant Fund: Small businesses in any sector with properties which already receive Small Business Rate Relief, Rural Rate Relief and tapered relief, are eligible for a one-off grant of £10,000 per property.
  • Discretionary Grant Fund: On 1 May, a new Discretionary Grant Fund of £617 million was announced for businesses excluded from the existing grants schemes because of how they interact with the current business rates system.
    • Eligible businesses must demonstrate a significant fall of income due to Covid-19, have fewer than 50 employees and were trading on or before 11 March.
    • Local authorities are responsible for defining precise eligibility. This should primarily be aimed at small businesses with fixed building-related costs, businesses in shared offices, regular market traders who do not have their own business rates assessment, B&Bs which pay council tax instead of business rates, and charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for SBRR or RRR.
    • For further information about this scheme, visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-local-authority-discretionary-grants-fund
  • Local authorities will directly contact businesses which are eligible for these grants. If businesses believe they are eligible and have not yet heard from their local authority, they should get in touch with them directly. Businesses can find their local authority at: https://www.gov.uk/contact-your-local-council-about-businessrates.
  • As of Sunday 28 June, over £10.57 billion of grant payments have been made to over 861,000 business premises. 

Business Rates Holiday:

  • All eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will pay no business rates for 12 months, from 1 April 2020 – that’s worth an estimated £11 billion for businesses. There will be no rateable value threshold – meaning businesses of all sizes in these sectors will benefit.
  • The Government has also acted to include nurseries, estate agents and bingo halls in the 12 month holiday.
  • An estimated 735,000 properties will pay no business rates in 2020-21 – half of all business properties.
  • On 6 May, the Government announced it is postponing the planned business rates revaluation. 
  •  If a business is already receiving the retail discount on their business rates bill, they will receive a revised bill from their local authority with 100% relief. Some businesses may need to contact their local authority directly to receive the discount.
  • Nearly half of all properties in England will not pay any business rates for the next 12 months. As of Thursday 21 May, 99% of bills for eligible ratepayers have been stopped. 350,000 businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector have benefitted, worth around £10 billion.

Bounce Back Loans:

  • The Chancellor announced a new Bounce Back Loans Scheme to ensure that businesses get the financial support they need quickly, to help them survive this crisis.
  • Loans will be from £2,000 up to £50,000, capped at 25% of a firms’ turnover, with a maximum repayment term of 6 years.
  • The Government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee on each loan, with no repayments due during the first 12 months.
  • The Government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments, and the government has agreed an interest rate of 2.5% for the remaining period of the loan.
  • Businesses can apply via the British Business Bank website: https://www.british-businessbank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business….
  • A list of accredit lenders through which to apply is available at: https://www.british-businessbank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business….
  • The scheme was announced on Monday 27 April, and went live at 0900 on Monday 4 May.
  • Since its launch, over 1 million loans worth over £30 billion have been approved.
  • There are now 18 accredited lenders, with Tide announced as the latest approved lender on Friday 15 May. 
  • There are 80 existing accredited lenders for CBILS – any one of these can be accredited for Bounce Back Loans by signing a simple, easy form. 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme was launched to support businesses across our country. It is delivered through over 60 commercial lenders, backed by the Government-owned British Business Bank.
  • Businesses with a turnover of up to £45 million are eligible, for loans of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years. The Government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan, will not charge businesses for this guarantee, and will also cover the interest costs and fees for the first 12 months.
  • In response to feedback, on Friday 3 April, the Government extended the scheme so that all viable businesses – not just those unable to secure regular commercial funding – will now be eligible. The Government has also removed the forward-looking viability test that required an assessment of whether the business can trade out of the crisis.
  • The only test that remains is whether a business was viable before Covid-19, so businesses do not need to be asked for documentation like cashflow forecasts. The Government will provide as much capacity as required for the scheme.
  • Businesses can apply via the British Business Bank website: https://www.british-businessbank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business….
  • A list of accredited lenders is available at: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirusbusiness….
  • The scheme was launched on Monday 23 March. Over 54,000 loans have been approved, worth over £11.8 billion.
  • There are now 86 accredited lenders, compared to 39 at the start of the crisis. The Treasury has worked at pace to open up the accreditation process, with 6 new lenders approved on 20 May. 

Future Fund

  • The Future Fund will unlock investment for innovative, start-up and high-growth firms affected by the crisis which are unable to access the CBILS and other schemes because they rely on equity investment and are typically either pre-revenue or pre-profit.
  • The Government has committed a £1.25 billion package to protect high-growth firms driving innovation in the UK: A £500 million investment fund (Future Fund) for high-growth companies, made up of £250 million funding from government with equal match funding by the private sector; £750 million of grants and loans for SMEs focussing on research and development, available through Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme.
  • The Future Fund is delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank, and Innovate UK will administer the grants and loans.
  • The Government will issue convertible loans of between £125,000 and £5 million, which will be matched by private investors and turned from debt into equity at the next round of funding. Firms must have raised a minimum of £250,000 in the last five years.
  • The scheme was announced on Monday 20 April and opened for applications on Wednesday 20 May. Companies can check they meet the criteria for funding by going to the British Business Bank website. If they have secured private match funding, one of  their investors can register online to start the application process.
  • Further details on operation of the Fund is available at: https://www.uk-futurefund.co.uk.
  • On its first day, the fund received £515 million worth of applications. To date, £419 million worth of loans have been approved for 429 innovative companies.

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

  • Small and medium-sized businesses and employers can reclaim Statutory Sick Pay for staff sickness during coronavirus – that’s nearly 2 million employers who will be eligible, worth up to £48,000 per business.
  • The UK Government’s Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme launched on Tuesday 26 May and is now live on GOV.UK.
    • Employers with fewer than 250 employees can now claim for Coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Tax agents are also able to make claims on their behalf.
  • The repayment will cover up to two weeks of the applicable rate of SSP. Claims can be made for periods of sickness starting on or after:
    • 13 March 2020 - if an employee had COVID-19 (Coronavirus) or the symptoms or was self-isolating because someone they live with had symptoms
    • 16 April 2020 - if an employee was shielding because of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
  • For more information on eligibility and how to make a claim, please ask your constituents to visit GOV.UK.

Time to Pay (HMRC)

  • 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.
  • This support is available now, and arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
  • Time To Pay is an existing scheme to support businesses and self-employed individuals by allowing them to defer taxes they owe to the Government by a short period of time.
  • They will also waive late payment penalties and interest where a business experiences difficulties making a payment due to Covid-19.
  • HMRC has set up a helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to Coronavirus.
  • HMRC have made an additional 2,000 experienced call handlers available to support firms where needed. 
  • Anyone who is running a business or is self-employed and is concerned about paying their tax due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 024 1222. More guidance is available on GOV.UK
  • As of 15 June, there were over 70,000 new deferrals in place related to Covid-19, accounting for £11.63 billion of tax liabilities.

Insurance

  • Businesses which have an insurance policy that covers government ordered closure and pandemics or government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable disease should be able to make a claim (subject to the terms and conditions of their policy). Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.
  • The Government recognises that businesses who do not have appropriate insurance cover will require support from elsewhere. As such, businesses should explore the full package of support.
  • The Government has also announced a £10 billion guarantee to trade credit insurance schemes for business to business transactions. Trade Credit Insurance is a daily necessity for hundreds of thousands of businesses across the UK – particularly those in non-service sectors such as the manufacturing and construction sectors.
    • The scheme is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020, and running until 31 December 2020, with the potential for extension if required.
    • The scheme will be followed by a joint BEIS/HMT-led review of the Trade Credit Insurance market to ensure it can continue to support businesses in future. The Government is working closely with the FCA to ensure that the rules are being upheld during this crisis, and fully supports the regulator in its role.
  • On 1 May, the FCA announced a consultation and further expectations for insurers on assisting policyholders during the Covid-19 crisis.  The FCA also outlined its intention to seek a court declaration, on an agreed and urgent basis, to resolve uncertainty for many customers making business interruption claims.
    • The FCA expects insurers to assess the value of their insurance products to customers during this period and to consider appropriate action. This might include changing how benefits are delivered, refunding some premiums or suspending monthly payments for a certain period of time. 

Tax Deferrals

  • The Government is deferring VAT payments so businesses will not need to pay any VAT from 20 March through to the end of June – a deferral worth over £30 billion or 1.5% of GDP.
  • The option to defer VAT is open to all 2.3 million UK VAT registered businesses, with the average benefit expected to be around £30,000 per business. Businesses will have until the end of the financial year to pay back any deferred VAT.
  • For self-employed people, income tax self-assessment payments for July have been deferred until the end of January 2021.
  • The deferral for businesses is an automatic offer using HMRC’s existing systems, with no applications required. The scheme is already operational.
  • VAT-registered businesses should cancel any relevant direct debits. They will have until the end of the financial year to pay back any deferred VAT payments.
  • More information on VAT deferral for businesses is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/deferral-ofvat-payments-due-to-coronavirus-… or by calling HMRC on 0800 024 1222.
  • As of Monday 1 June, there were over 70,000 new Time To Pay deferrals in place related to Covid-19, accounting for £11 billion of tax liabilities.
  • Over £38 billion of VAT has been deferred, by over 400,000 businesses. Over 160,000 businesses have already cancelled their direct debits. 

Tax Cuts

  • The Government has brought forward a permanent zero rate of VAT to e-publications and e-books from 1 December to 1 May 2020 – reducing the cost of access to online publications during these times.
  • A zero rate of VAT will also apply to sales of personal protective equipment (PPE) for Covid-19 from 1 May 2020 until 31 July 2020, saving care homes and businesses over £100 million.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

  • Businesses with a turnover of over £45 million will be eligible for loans of up to £200 million, subject to a limit of 25% of their turnover.
  • To ensure that this support is used in the right way, companies borrowing over £50 million will be required to agree not to make dividend payments or share buybacks, and will face restrictions on executive pay.
  • The Government will provide a guarantee of 80% on each loan, at commercial rates of interest. The Government will not cover any interest or fee income.
  • It is delivered through over 50 commercial lenders, backed by the Government-owned British Business Bank.
  • Businesses should apply via the British Business Bank website: https://www.british-businessbank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business….
  • A list of accredited lenders is available at: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirusbusiness….
  • The scheme was launched on Monday 20 April. There have been 412 loans worth £2.7 billion.

Covid-19 Corporate Finance Facility

  • For larger firms with an investment-grade credit, the Government has guaranteed a funding scheme from the Bank of England to buy short-term debt from larger companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze.
  • This is a scheme for firms with an investment-grade credit. It 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.
  • Businesses should contact their bank to see if they are eligible. Further information is available at the Bank of England website: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/news/2020/march/the-covid-corporate-fin….
  • UK Finance also provides a list of banks able to assist: https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/covid-19-corporatefinancing-facilities.
  • The scheme was launched on Monday 23 March, with the first loans being paid on Wednesday 25 March.
  • As of 25 June, a total of £27.4 billion issuance has been provided into the scheme. This is providing finance to a wide range of businesses (the Bank of England estimates that 400-450 firms are eligible for the scheme), encompassing both services and consumer industries and support for key sectors such as transport and energy. 

Further Support

  • To support businesses, the Government's live webinars on a variety of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) related topics, including the Job Retention Scheme, Self-employed Income Scheme (SEISS) and Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPR) have been updated. You can book a place or watch a recording on HMRC’s YouTube channel
  • Further business support can be located via the Government's website, https://www.gov.uk/browse/business
  • Call the Government's business support helpline for further business-specific support: 0800 998 1098
  • Business Secretary Alok Sharma is creating 5 new business-focused groups to unleash Britain’s growth potential and create jobs, as part of the government’s plans to help the economy bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic. The membership of the 5 working groups will be published in due course. There will also be an opportunity for other parties and individuals interested in this initiative to share written submissions with the Business Department.

Don’t give out private information or reply to text messages, and don’t download attachments or click on links in texts or emails you weren’t expecting. People can forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.

Page Last Updated: 17/07/20.