Businesses across the UK will be offered additional financial support as part of the government’s next stage of tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Elements of this extended support plan, include grants for those businesses forced to close as a result of the national lockdown, mortgage holidays, an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and increased grants through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will remain open until the end of April 2021 in response to the government’s lockdown measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The Job Support Scheme, which was due to come into effect on 1 November 2020, has now been postponed until the furlough scheme comes to an end.

  • All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE scheme can claim the grant;
  • To be eligible to be claimed for under this extension, employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 on 30 October 2020;
  • This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment for that employee to HMRC must have been made between 20 March and 30 October 2020;
  • Employees will continue to pay employees for all worked hours, subject to their employment contract;
  • Employers will be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions;
  • For hours not worked by the employee, the government will contribute up to 80% of wages, up to a cap of £2,500; and
  • Businesses will have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part-time basis or furlough them full-time.

How to claim

Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) delivers financial support to those that are self-employed or a member of a partnership in the UK and have lost income due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The third SEISS grant has now closed for all new applications.

There will be a fourth SEISS grant, covering February 2021 to April 2021, the details of which will be announced on 3 March 2021. 

One-off Grants for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure 

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will be entitled to a further one-off grant of up to £9,000, depending on the rateable value of their business premises.

The cash is provided on a per-property basis to support businesses through the latest restrictions and should be applied for through your Local Authority.

Further details on the one-off grant can be found here.

Local Restrictions Support Grant

The Government has provided funding to local authorities, under the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG), for businesses required to close during the current national lockdown.

This grant is an extension of the Local Restrictions Support Grant schemes for businesses that were required to close in November and during Tier 4 restrictions.

The amount of grant payable is based on the business property’s rateable value as shown in the business rates list at the start of the national lockdown on 5 January 2021.

Applications should be made directly with your local council, find out more here.

Additional Restrictions Grant

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) is available to those businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes, such as the Local Restriction Support Grant, but are still severely impacted by the national lockdown restrictions.

This is a discretionary grant and local authorities determine the way in which the ARG is distributed to businesses and the associated eligibility criteria.

Applications should be made directly with your local council, find out more here.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

  • Offers financial support to smaller businesses across the UK that are losing revenue as a direct result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic;
  • From 6 April 2020, the government expanded CBILS to enable more viable businesses negatively affected by COVID-19 to apply for a loan or overdraft facility;
  • Being unable to provide sufficient security for the loan financing required is no longer a condition to access the scheme;
  • Will be delivered by lenders that partner with the British Business Bank, the full rules of the Scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website;
  • The lender receives a guarantee of 80% of the loan amount from the government;
  • UK-based businesses with a turnover of no more than £45million are eligible for a loan of up to £5 million;
  • The borrower remains liable for 100% of the debt; and
  • The Government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments and arrangement fees of the facility, in most cases.

How to apply

  • Contact your bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them; and
  • The scheme has been extended and now runs until 31 March 2021.

Further details on the scheme, along with the updated eligibility criteria can be found here.

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)

  • The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme is delivered through British Business Bank accredited lenders and partners;
  • It is designed to support the continued provision of finance to UK mid-sized and larger UK businesses, with a group turnover of more than £45 million, who are suffering disruption to their cashflow due to lost or deferred revenues as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak;
  • Facility to borrow up to 25% of turnover, up to a maximum of £200 million, for term loans and revolving credit facilities;
  • The maximum size for invoice finance and asset finance facilities is £50m;
  • Companies borrowing more than £50 million will be subject to restrictions on dividend payments, senior pay and share buy-backs during the period of the loan;
  • No personal guarantees are permitted for facilities under £250,000. For facilities of £250,000 and over, claims on personal guarantees cannot exceed 20% of losses after all other recoveries have been applied;
  • Finance terms are from three months to three years; and
  • The borrower always remains 100% liable for the debt.

How to apply

  • Businesses should approach an accredited lender at their earliest opportunity – details of lenders can be found here; and
  • If one lender is unable to offer your business a loan through the scheme, you are still able to approach other lenders; and
  • The scheme has been extended and now runs until 31 March 2021.

Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan scheme

The Bounce Back Loan scheme provides support of up to £50,000 for small and medium sized- enterprises (SMEs) located in the UK and negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Loans range from £2,000 up to a maximum amount of £50,000;
  • Businesses will be able to access loans worth up to 25% of turnover;
  • Loan terms can be a maximum period of 6 years;
  • Loans will be interest free and fee free for the first 12 months;
  • The interest rate for the loan is set at 2.5% per annum;
  • No repayments will be due within the first 12 months;
  • Lenders are not permitted to take personal guarantees; and
  • The borrower remains 100% liable for the debt.

All those businesses that borrowed less than the maximum amount available to them through the Bounce Back Loan will be eligible to ‘top-up’ their existing loan.

  • Businesses will be able to access this ‘top-up’ only once;
  • The top-up will be available from week commencing 9 November 2020.

How to apply

  • BBLS is available through a range of British Business Bank accredited lenders and partners, listed on their website;
  • Application to the scheme is via a short online form; and
  • No forward looking test of business viability or complex eligibility criteria; and
  • The scheme has been extended and now runs until 31 March 2021.

Further details, including eligibility criteria, can be found here. 

Business Rates holiday 

  • Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year; and
  • Business rates relief can be estimated using the business rates calculator 

How to apply

  • There is no action required as this will be administered by your local authority; and
  • This will only apply for to your business rates bills for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Time to Pay

  • A Time to Pay Arrangement enables the cost of your tax bill to be spread into monthly payments, up to a 12-month period;
  • The online service can be used once your 2019-20 tax return has been completed, by setting up a direct debit to pay any tax that is due for payment on 31 January 2021;
  • The online Time to Pay facility was previously available for paying tax liabilities up to £10,000; and
  • From 1 October 2020, the threshold to use the online service has been increased to £30,000.

Further details on Time to Pay and Self-Assessment tax return deadlines can be found here.

VAT Deferral Payment Scheme

The VAT deferral new payment scheme will open between 23 February 2021 and 21 June 2021.

The scheme enables VAT payments deferred between 20 March and 30 June 2020 to be paid in equal instalments, these can be between two and eleven instalments, depending on when the scheme is joined.

VAT can either be paid through the deferral scheme OR paid in full, on or before 31 March 2021.

Further details on the scheme can be found here.

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

  • The scheme enables employers to claim the applicable rate of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020; and
  • The repayment will cover up to two weeks of SSP, starting from the first qualifying day of sickness.

Further details on the scheme, along with eligibility and how to apply can be found here.

Mortgage holidays

Mortgage payment holidays have been extended beyond the 31 October 2020.

If a borrower has been negatively impacted by coronavirus, and has not yet had a mortgage holiday, they will be eligible for a six month payment holiday.

For those borrowers that have already started a mortgage payment holiday, there will be the option to increase to six months, without this being recorded on their credit file.

Insurance claims

  • Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered; however
  • Please contact your insurance provider to check the specific terms and conditions of your policy.

Universal Credit (UC)

Download our factsheet on Universal Credit and how this is calculated.

Extension for filing accounts

In addition to the financial support measures detailed above, if your accounts will be late because your company is affected by COVID-19, you can apply for an automatic and immediate 3 month extension to file your accounts with Companies House.

At M+A Partners we are closely monitoring the developing situation and support available for businesses and will keep this page updated with the latest guidance.

Please be aware of fraudulent schemes

You will access Government support schemes only through GOV.UK. If someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you can claim financial help or are owed a tax refund, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it is a scam.

Helpful links: