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 has outlined 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 and will be in place until the end of October. The scheme has been extended to the end of October 2020, following extensive engagement with Government by ADS and others.
Currently, businesses can claim back 80% of salaries up to £2,500 per month. From 1 July, employers firms will be able to decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return to work, and move employees in and out of the furlough scheme as they see fit. However, this only applies to those members of staff already on the furlough scheme by 10 June, and workers must complete 3 full weeks on furlough before being eligible for a part-time return to work.
After 10 June, businesses will not be able to furlough worker either full or part-time unless they are already on the scheme.
From August, the Government will stop covering employer National Insurance and pension contributions.
From September, employers will be asked to make contributions to furloughed workers wages, as the Government grant will be capped at 70%, and then 60% of the employers wage, with the maximum amount also tapered off.
Update: Access to CBILS has changed as the European Commission has relaxed its State Aid rules so that small and micro businesses (fewer than 50 employees and turnover less than £9 million) will be exempt from elements of the ‘undertaking in difficulty’ test, and are now eligible for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Find out more
The following table outlines the changes:
|June and July||Government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICs) and pension contributions.|
|August||Government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions.|
|September||Government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions as well as 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.|
|October||Government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages up to a cap of £2,500.|
Job Retention Bonus
A Job Retention Bonus will be introduced to help firms keep furloughed workers. UK Employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.
Loan and grant schemes
Sustainable Innovation Fund – The Government has announced a £200m Sustainable Innovation Fund, funding up to £175,000 for companies who need urgent financial support to keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive. Find out more and apply for funding.
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.
The Government have announced £20 million in new funding to help smaller businesses recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. 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 available to 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
Kickstart Scheme – will be launched to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country. Those aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment, will be eligible. Funding available for each six-month job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week – and employers will be able to top this wage up.
Funding competition: Manufacturing made smarter: digital supply chain, feasibility studies – UK registered businesses can apply for funding towards feasibility studies into digital technologies to transform supply chains in UK manufacturing. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The competition opened on 6 July and closes on Wednesday 7 October 2020 11:00. Find out more
Funding competition – Manufacturing made smarter: digital supply chain, industrial research – UK registered businesses can apply for funding towards an industrial research project in digital technologies to transform supply chains in UK manufacturing. This funding is from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The competition opened on 6 July and closes on Wednesday 7 October 2020 11:00am. 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 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 and must make the application by 13 July 2020. 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 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. Applications for the second grant will open in August. The eligibility criteria are the same for both grants, and individuals will need to confirm that their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus. An individual does not need to have claimed the first grant to receive the second grant.
Self-assessment payments can be deferred until 2021.
The Government plans 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.
Trade Credit Insurance, which provides essential cover to hundreds of thousands of business-to-business transactions, will receive up to £10 billion of government guarantees. The scheme is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020. Find out more