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COVID-19: Latest Updates for Businesses

Latest Updates for Businesses

Job Support Scheme

The Job Retention Scheme (Furloughing) has now been extended to the end of March, 2021.  

 

Job Retention Bonus

The Job Retention Bonus –a £1,000 one-off payment to firms that had retained previously-furloughed staff until the end of January 2021 – would be scrapped for now and replaced with a new “retention incentive” that would be deployed at an “appropriate time”.

 

Grants Update

Grants designed to help affected businesses pay other fixed costs of up to £3,000 per month will also be available.  The grant amount will be linked to business rates as follows: 

  • £1,300 per month for small businesses with a rateable value of or below £15,000
  • £2,000 per month for small to medium businesses with rateable values between £15,000 and £51,000
  • The maximum amount of £3,000 per month can be claimed by large businesses

 

 

Other Grants 

Grants to Boost Recovery from Covid-19

Small and medium sized businesses in England can access grants between £1,000 – £5,000 for new equipment and technology and specialist advice the need to adapt, recover and rebuild following coronavirus.

Sustainable Innovation Fund

This fund from Innovate UK is for new projects focusing on sustainable recovery from COVID-19.  More details here.


Other Jobs and Employment Help

Flexible Furloughing

If you are bringing staff back on flexible furloughing the chances are you have more questions than answers. Our short guide answers some of the most frequently asked.

VAT

VAT will be reduced from 20% to 5% for food, accommodation and attractions until January 2021.

Kickstart Scheme

  • The government will pay 6 months of the salary of a young person who is being given a new job of at least 25 hours a week at minimum wage.  These jobs must be “good” jobs with training.   Businesses can apply for this from next month, with the hope that some jobs will begin by September. 
  • Firms will receive £2,000 for each apprentice they take on.  £1,500 if they are over 25.

CBILs, JRS & Small Business Grants

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans (CIBLs)

  • Small businesses can apply for up to £10,000 interest free for 12 months
  • The loans will be rolled out from the British Business Bank to high-street banks. Businesses should apply to their own provider, preferably online
  • In anticipation of the government backed loan scheme (CBILS), you might find it useful to read our notes on how to forecast your cash flow.  As soon as we have a information about how to access this, we will be in touch.

Accessing CBILS has not been straight forward and banks were applying arbitrary criteria.  Just a reminder that banks are not allowed to:

  • Ask for personal guarantees for loan amounts up to £250k
  • Refuse to consider you because you have been turned down for a commercial loan 

Bounce Back Loans

Partly because of the difficulty accessing CBILS, the government introduced Bounce Back Loans (BBL).

The government offers 100% guarantee to the lender for loans between £2,000 & £50,000 up to 25% of the business’ turnover. You can only apply through accredited lenders; a list of which can be found here. It’s important to remember the 100% guarantee is for the lender and you always remain fully liable for the repayment of the debt.

 

Grants linked to Rateable Value

Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief

Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000

Your council will contact you if you are eligible. Fill out any forms they send you promptly.

Check the government guidelines to see if your business is eligible for the grants here

If you haven’t already claimed your grant, here are links to some of our local councils

Richmond

Kingston upon Thames

Hammersmith & Fulham

Useful Links

HMRC Helpline: 0800 024 1222

Citizen’s Advice Page for guidance if you cannot pay your bills.

Ofgem have a page offering advice if you cannot pay your energy bills


Business Rates Holiday

A 12-month business rates holiday for all shops, pubs, theatres, music venues, restaurants and any other hospitality or leisure business.

Mortgage Holidays, Extended Credit, Loan Breaks

Anyone affected by the coronavirus will be able to secure a 3 month mortgage break. But you must speak to your lender first.

In addition, many banks are emergency credit card increases, larger cash withdrawals etc to help customers make it through the coronavirus scare. Check with your bank to see what they can offer

Miscellaneous

Financial assistance for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments

The government has introduced extra protection for businesses with a ban on eviction for commercial tenants who miss rent payments. You must agree this with your landlord and you will still be expected to pay all rent due at a later date.


NatWest Working Capital Support

NatWest has pledged £5bn support for SMEs during Coronavirus outbreak.

Facebook Grants

If you have been in business for over a year and have between 2 and 50 employees you might be eligible for a Facebook Grant

Resources

COVID-19 Business Action Plan

If you haven’t done it already, now is the time to get your staff together to put together an action plan for your business to help you weather the on-coming storm. Here is a suggested agenda.

Cashflow Action Plan

We all feel like we have no control of this situation, but that’s not true. One of the best things you can do right now is assess your cashflow and make a plan for the coming weeks and months. You can find a template to create your cashflow action plan here. Of course, we can help you with this if you need that.

Ways to Pivot Your Business

This is an extremely difficult times for businesses and the self-employed. But we are hearing some stories that give us hope many of us can refocus our energies, if only temporarily. If you’re struggling to think of ways to pivot your business right now, this document might help.