Business Funding Support – Coronavirus

At Funding Solutions we are keen to help clients where we can through these difficult times. If you have concerns over cash flow or the ongoing support of your business finance provider please get in touch on 0845 251 4040.

In the Budget (11 March 2020) and in his speech on 17 March the Chancellor announced a plan to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses to ensure the impact of COVID-19 is minimised.

 

CBIL Scheme

 

A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will enable businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments. While this is a positive move the delivery is through a panel of traditional lenders and so far there is no indication that their lending criteria has changed, at least not to be more lenient. At this stage it is hard to say how accessible this funding is and how quickly it can be delivered. It is probably fair to say this is work in progress. If you have a borrowing requirement and would like to discuss the CBIL Loan Scheme or any other requirement we are here to help.

19 March 2020 UPDATE:

COVID19 Business Interruption Scheme: The scheme will be locked down today and launched on Monday. The finite details are embargoed until the formal launch to ensure the scheme gets the maximum publicity and can do the most good to those SME’s that need additional cashflow the most. We believe that terms will 5 years for larger loans and 10 years for smaller amounts, interest free for 6 months and with a fast track application processes. The key will be in the delivery and getting quick decisions for businesses.

 

 

 

Covering Statutory Sick Pay

 

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.

 

HMRC Time to Pay Agreements

 

This seems like the quickest and easiest way to ease the strain on cash flow. A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. There seem to be no information as to what is on offer but it will be treated on a case by case basis. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

 

Grants for Businesses and Business Rates Holidays

 

There will be a £10,000 cash grant to the smallest businesses, delivered by local authorities. Small businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief will be contacted by their local authority – they do not need to apply. The funding will be provided to local authorities in early April. Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.

Finally, the government is introducing a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

A £25,000 grant will also be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should be directed to the relevant local authority. Guidance for local authorities on the business rates holiday will be published by 20 March.

 

We will aim to keep you all posted as things change.

Addition:

Further to the governments announcements yesterday we have highlighted below the main factors that affect businesses:-

1. The government advised that they had spoken with insurers about paying out on claims for business interruption but at the time of writing the major insurance companies have not yet announced their specific policy. Anybody who does not have business interruption should be eligible for a grant
2. Business rates for the retail sector will be reduced to nil for one year.
3. Businesses should be able to approach their bank for support by way of additional funding which will be 80% secured by the government
4. The government will bring forward legislation to allow small- and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
i. This refund will cover up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
ii. Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible. The size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
iii. Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
iv. Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
v. The eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolators comes into force
vi. The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP.
1. HMRC have just announced that they will delay the introduction of the new rules on off payroll working in the light of COVID-19
Things are changing on a daily basis so we will keep you up to date with future developments as they are announced.

Those who are not eligible for SSP, for example the self-employed or people earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week, can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance:
• for the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for those who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating according to government advice, ensuring self-employed claimants will receive support
• people will be able to claim Universal Credit and access advance payments upfront without the current requirement to attend a jobcentre if they are advised to self-isolate
• contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be payable, at a rate of £73.10 a week if you are over 25, for eligible people affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating in line with advice from Day 1 of sickness, rather than Day 8.