The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will remain open for applications until the end of November 2020. CBILS lenders will also have the ability to extend the length of loans from a maximum of six years to 10 years. The scheme helps viable businesses with a turnover of up to £45m to access government-backed finance of up to £5 million.
Applications to the Future Fund will also remain open until the end of November 2020. The Future Fund is a package of measures to support pre-revenue firms, such as innovative and competitive companies in the tech and creative sectors. These bridging loans, as well as extra support from Innovate UK and the British Business Bank, will bring aid to businesses across DCMS sectors. Full eligibility criteria and details on how to apply can be found here.
The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) will also remain open until the end of November 2020. The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000. For those businesses that have already taken out a Bounce Back Loan, the Government has introduced a Pay as You Grow repayment system. This includes extending the length of the loan from six years to 10, interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays. Full eligibility criteria and details on how to apply can be found here.
Innovate UK’s grants and loans scheme – focused on supporting small and medium sized enterprises focused on research and development.
Top-up to local business grant funds scheme, a discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.
The furlough scheme will be brought to a close at the end of October. The Government has now introduced the Job Support Scheme which will come into force on the 1st November and will run for six months.
The government will contribute towards the wages of employees who are working fewer than normal due to decreased demand. Employees must be working at least 33% of their usual hours, and It is designed to sit alongside the Job Retention Bonus. Full details and eligibility criteria can be found here. The Job Support Scheme will be open to businesses even if they have not previously used the furlough scheme.
For the self-employed, the government is extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme Grant (SEISS).
An initial taxable grant will be provided to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and are continuing to actively trade but face reduced demand due to coronavirus.
The initial lump sum will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January next year. An additional second grant, which may be adjusted to respond to changing circumstances, will be available for self-employed individuals to cover the period from February 2021 to the end of April.
See eligibility criteria and how to apply here.
The government has extended the temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors to the end of March next year.
For those businesses that deferred their VAT bills, the government has introduced the New Payment Scheme, which gives them the option to pay back in smaller instalments.
For self-assessment taxpayers in financial distress, HMRC’s Time to Pay service has been extended for an additional 12-months. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to Covid-19, call HMRC’s dedicated tax helpline on 0800 0159 559.
The UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy also has a business support helpline: 0300 456 3565.
The Department for International Trade is working with partners on a series of SME Covid-19 seminars, which are designed to support UK businesses to get help, protect their business and save jobs. A full list can be found here.
A new FAQ section on business closures has been added to the business support website. Government advice is that people can travel to and from work, but only where the work they do absolutely cannot be done from home. With the exception of the organisations covered in the link above, the Government has not required any other businesses to close.
The Government’s portal for registration of offers of help can be found here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/L5B32S/
The Department for Education, with the support of DCMS, has launched a new online learning platform The Skills Toolkit (www.gov.uk/theskillstoolkit). The platform offers a range of courses at all levels, from introductory to advanced, which were chosen in consultation with top businesses and education experts. It’s open to everyone, whether they have recently been furloughed and want to learn new skills, are out of work and looking to build up their CV, or if they’re just keen to keep their mind healthy and skills sharp during this time.