Business Support from Government

The UK Government and devolved administrations have launched several measures for businesses to help them navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.  

To find out more, use the Government business support search tool 

For companies operating in Scotland, the Scottish Government has implemented additional business support. For companies operating in Wales, the Welsh Government hasoutlined the measures available. For those in Northern Ireland, information for businesses can be found here.  

If you trade internationally, the Government has published guidance which you can access here. 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme provides employment support to companies with a PAYE scheme. Support covers 80% of salaries up to £2,500 per month. The Government will also cover employer National Insurance and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on each wage.

The scheme has been extended to the end of October 2020, following extensive engagement with Government by ADS and others.

Furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff. The employer payments will substitute the contribution the Government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month. The scheme will continue in its current form until the end of July. 

On 29 May the Chancellor announced that from August employers will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions with 80% of wages being covered still. In September, employers will be asked to contribute 10% towards people’s salaries with the government paying the other 70%, for the final month in October, taxpayers will pay 60%, and employers will contribute 20%.

From 1 July, there will also be a flexible scheme that means employers will be able to choose when and how to bring employees on and off the furlough scheme.

You can now register your claim online here and a step by step guide for employers is available here. 

Loan and grant schemes

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) – this scheme provides loans of up to £5m, with no interest due for the first 12 months. It applies to SMEs with a turnover of no more than £45m a year. The Government has confirmed that all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19 will be eligible, not just those unable to secure regular commercial funding. They are also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals. For loans over £250,000, personal guarantees will be limited to 20% of any amount outstanding on the loan after any other recoveries from business assets. Lenders have been prohibited from asking business owners to use their home as a personal guarantee. Find out more.  

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) – this provides a Government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25m to firms with an annual turnover of between £45m and £450m. For companies with a turnover of more than £250m can apply for a loan of up to £200m. Find out more. 

You can find more information here.

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility  the Bank of England will buy short-term debt from larger companies. This will support companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term cash flow problems. It will operate for at least 12 months. Find out more. 

Small Business Grant Scheme – provides £10,000 grants to 700,000 SMEs in England. Find out more.

Bounce Back Loans Scheme – SMEs will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 with the Government guaranteeing 100% of the loan. There won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Apply online here

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme – 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. Details about when the scheme can be accessed and when employers can make a claim will be announced as soon as possible. Find out more. 

Future Fund for high growth businesses – the Future Fund will issue convertible loans to innovative UK-based companies which are facing financial difficulties ranging from £125,000 to £5m, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. The fund will be open for applications from Wednesday 20 May 2020.  Find out more 

The Future Fund was developed by the UK Government and is being delivered by the British Business Bank.

£750 million fund for R&D intensive SMEs – this fund will be administered through Innovate UK who will accelerate up to £200 million of grant and loan payments for its 2,500 existing Innovate UK customers on an opt-in basis. An extra £550m will also be made available to increase support for existing customers and £175,000 of support will be offered to around 1,200 firms not currently in receipt of Innovate UK funding. Find out more. 

Space Agency funding  the UK and European Space Agencies have made £2.6m of funding availableto fund a number of projects to develop hi-tech solutions to support NHS England. The space-enabled solutions could include satellite communications, satellite navigation, Earth observation satellites or technology derived from human spaceflight. To find out more and apply for funding click here. 

Coronavirus Business Support Package – launched by Innovate UK (IUK), these innovation focussed continuity support schemes may be helpful for organisations involved in Innovate UK funded projects and offers continuity grants and loans for existing IUK award holders and additional business advisory support services. Find out more

Tax and customs

Deferment of VAT payments – the deferment will last from 20 March until 30 June. Businesses will have until the end of the financial year to pay their VAT bill (March 2021). Find out more.

Business Rates Relief – the Government is temporarily increasing the Business Rates Relief, specifically the retail discount in England which will be 100% for 2020-21 for properties with a rateable value less than £51,000. Find out more. 

Protective equipment duty/VAT relief – the Government has announced guidance on how to pay no import duty and VAT on protective equipment, relevant medical devices or equipment brought into the UK from non-EU countries. Find out more. PPE purchased by businesses and individuals to protect against COVID-19 will be zero rate VAT for a three-month period, starting from 1 May 2020.

Time to Pay – 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. More information can be found here. 

Companies House guidance – Companies House has produced guidance if coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected your company and you need more time to file your accounts. Find all the information here. 

Tax policy consultations – HM Treasury and HMRC have set out new timelines for tax policy consultations and other work in the light of the current COVID -19 crisis These include three-month extension to many consultation deadlines to give stakeholders time to submit their views. A full list of the tax policy documents is available online here.

Support for self-employed

In addition to being able to access some of the business support schemes above, those who are self employed will also be able to access the following schemes. Universal Credit is also available to those who need it. 

Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme– eligible customers can receive taxable grants of 80% of monthly profits up to £2,500 being paid (up to a total maximum of £7,500) in a single payment. It is open to those with trading profits of up to £50,000. Those applying must have already filed their tax return for 2019. You can check your eligibility using the new online checker tool and make a claim online here. Those eligible will have the money paid into their bank account by 25 May, or within six working days of completing a claim.

On 29 May the Chancellor announced the extension of the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Applicants will be eligible for a second round of one-off payments worth 70% of a self-employed person’s average monthly trading profits to cover three months’ worth of income, capped at £6,570.

Self-assessment payments can be deferred until 2021. 

Other

The Governmentplans to make changes to company insolvency law to enable UK companies undergoing a rescue or restructure process to continue trading, to help them avoid insolvency. This will be brought into law in the coming weeks and be retrospective from 1 March 2020 for three months.

The Government will temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance, ensuring the majority of insurance coverage will be maintained across the market. Find out more

How is COVID-19 impacting business?

The Government is closely monitoring developments in relation to potential economic impacts on the UK economy and individual businesses and supply chain and we are keen that our members feed back any specific concerns.

We welcome information on:

  • The impacts across supply, demand and labour markets
  • Actions being taken by firms to address these impacts
  • Any gaps in the Government response from your perspective

Please send your business intelligence or any questions you may have to covid19@adsgroup.org.uk. We understand that individual company information may be commercially sensitive, and it will be treated accordingly. For any questions we will attempt to get back to you as soon as possible, and any common queries will be answered within the Member FAQs section of this Hub.