The Government’s business support site lists all of the financial assistance mentioned below, as well as other sources of funding.
Local Authority Funding
The £2.2billion funding for Local Authority discretionary grants to businesses affected by the Covid restrictions has now been transferred to councils in England. Members should visit their council’s website to find out how to apply for the Additional Restrictions Grant, which provides support to businesses which have not had close but which are impacted by Covid-19.
In its guidance to Local Authorities, the Business Department states: “Local Authorities can determine how much funding to provide to businesses from the ARG funding provided, and exactly which businesses to target. However, we encourage Local Authorities to develop discretionary grant schemes to help those businesses which – while not legally forced to close – are nonetheless severely impacted by the restrictions put in place to control the spread of Covid-19. This could include businesses which supply the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, or businesses in the events sector.” FWD has produced a template letter, for members to send to the authority to which they pay their rates, asking for support.
Tier 2 businesses grant support
The Chancellor announced the introduction of a new grant scheme for businesses impacted by Tier 2 but which remain open. The grants are primarily aimed at hospitality outlets based on rateable value but local authorities have the freedom to determine the eligibility in their local areas. Grants will be retrospective, meaning they can be backdated to August if the business is in an area under restriction.
Local Authorities will also receive a 5% top up amount to cover other businesses that might be affected by the local restrictions. The Chancellor specifically highlighted this fund as being aimed at “supply chains of those serving the hospitality industry” when speaking in the House of Commons.
The scheme will initially run until April, with a review point in January. FWD will produce a template letter of application for members to send to their Local Authority before the scheme launches.
Job Support Scheme Open
The Chancellor also announced the expansion of the Job Support Scheme for businesses which remain open. Under the original scheme, employees needed to work 33% of hours, but this will now be reduced to 20% of hours. Employer contribution for hours worked will not be 33%, but reduced to 5%.
Announcing the scheme the Chancellor said the Government “recognise the complexity of supply chains (into hospitality), which is why that very generous job support scheme will be available for all businesses in all parts of the country and I think that will make an enormous difference.”
The Government will pay 61.67% of hours not worked up to a cap of £1,541.75 per month, with the employer contributing 5% of non-worked hours up to a cap of £125 per month. These caps are based on a monthly reference salary of £3,125. This will ensure employees earn a minimum of at least 73% of their normal wages. The employee will have to work a minimum of 20% of their normal hours.
The scheme will apply to businesses in all alert levels.
Large employers with 250 or more employees can use the scheme if their turnover has stayed level or is lower now than before Covid-19. The scheme will run for six months from 1 November 2020
Employers using the Job Support Scheme Open will also be able to claim the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus in February.
June 20: Further guidance has been published on how Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will work between now and the end of October, when the scheme will end. This includes how employers can bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time from July 1 and how many employees they can claim for in any one claim.
A new Top-up to local business grant funds scheme offering grants of up to £25k has been set up for small businesses in England previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme, aimed at those businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. Businesses must be under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures. Local authorities can choose to make payments to other businesses on a case by case basis.
Any business with Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme can transfer the first £50k to the bounce back loan. Businesses cannot have a CBIL and also apply for the bounce back, hence the option to transfer if the loan is £50k or under.
The Bounce Back Loan scheme is now open for applications. The scheme allows small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000, with the Government guaranteeing 100% of the loan, which is interest-free for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The Government has also agreed with lenders that flat rate of 2.5% interest will be charged on these loans.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is being extended so all viable small businesses affected by Covid-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating. The Government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals. The Government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees.
The Government has extended the maximum loan size available through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £50million to £200million. Eligible businesses can borrow up to 25% of turnover.
The scheme is now open for applications. All major banks are offering this scheme.
The full rules of the scheme and the list of accredited lenders are available on the British Business Bank website.
Small businesses may have access to the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)
The Government will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.
The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.
Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.
Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.