Insights on the key points that every business should be considering whilst continuing to operate in a crisis.
Here you will find information and guidance on government support, additional sources of finance and cash flow management.
CBILS for SMEs - The application deadline has been extended to January 31 2021.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) supports small and medium-sized businesses, with an annual turnover of up to £45 million, to access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to 10 years.
The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees. This means smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.
There are over 40 accredited lenders. If one lender turns you down, you can still approach other lenders within the scheme. If you are based in the North West our sister company GC Business Finance are an accredited provider of CBILS find out more here. Full details of this scheme can be found here.
If you’re not sure if CBILS funding is right for your business you can contact our Access to Finance team for impartial advice here.
GC Business Finance for SMEs
GC Business Finance is a delivery partner of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and can support North West based businesses with loans of £50,001 - £100,000 subject to eligibility, Greater Manchester based businesses can access CBILS funding from £50,001 up to £250,000.
- You are based in the North West
- Your application must be for business purposes
- You must be a UK-based SME with annual turnover of up to £45m
- Your business must generate more than 50% of its turnover from trading activity
- Your CBILS-backed facility will be used to support primarily trading in the UK
Find out more or apply today by clicking here.
For early-stage businesses in their first two years of trading, where the business falls outside of the CBILS lending criteria, the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme may be of support. This scheme is not specific to COVID-19, however in light of COVID-19, they are operating as normal and Second loans are also still available to eligible and existing customers.
The Start Up Loans Programme is available for businesses across the UK. Businesses must be less than 2 years old and can apply for loans of £500 - £25k per director. See all details for the Start-Up loan here.
Bounce Back Loans Scheme (BBLS) - The application deadline has been extended to January 31 2021.
BBLS is a scheme aimed at UK-based micro businesses which are experiencing lost or deferred revenues as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Loans range from £2,000 up to 25% of a business’ turnover; the maximum loan amount is £50,000 and the UK Government will provide a guarantee of 100%. The launch date was Monday 4th May.
On 24 September the Chancellor extended the scheme to 30 November for new applications and introduced new flexible repayment terms. On November 2, the government further extended the application deadline to January 31 2021.
You can find more information on BBLS here.
Future Fund - The application deadline has been extended to January 31 2021.
The government's Future Fund will provide loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. The scheme which is being delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank, launched on May 20 2020, and was initially open until the end of September 2020. On 24 September the Chancellor extended the scheme to 30 November for new applications. On November 2, the government further extended the application deadline to January 31 2021.
On 30 June, the government expanded eligibility for the fund allowing companies which have substantial UK economic presence (half or more employees UK based or half or more revenues from UK sales) but have been required to incorporate their ultimate parent company in a non-UK jurisdiction solely in order to participate in an Accelerator Programme to also qualify.
CLBILS & CCFF for Large Companies
The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) was announced on 3rd April 2020 and is a scheme that is designed to provide debt finance of up to £200m for larger businesses (with a turnover of more than £45m) across the UK, which are experiencing lost or deferred revenues as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The initiative supports a range of products from term loans and overdrafts to invoice finance and asset finance. On 24 September the government extended the scheme to 30 November 2020 for new applications. On November 2, the government further extended the application deadline to January 31 2021. Full details of the loan scheme can be seen here.
The Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF, the Facility) was announced on the 20th of March. The Bank of England will buy short-term debt from large companies, providing funding to businesses by purchasing commercial paper of up to one-year maturity. It will help businesses across a range of sectors to pay wages and suppliers, even while experiencing severe disruption to cashflows. It is available for companies, and their finance subsidiaries, that make a material contribution to the UK economy.
The scheme will close for new purchases from eligible issuers with effect from 23 March 2021. This means that the Facility will make no purchases of CP after 22 March 2021. The CCFF will close to new applications from counterparties and issuers looking to become eligible on 31 December 2020.
On 9 October 2020, HM Treasury and the Bank announced an enhanced process to monitor and review CCFF issuers' credit quality in advance of the closure of the CCFF.
Innovate UK Loans - Applications can be made until 13 January 2021.
Innovate UK is providing up to £210 million in loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and third sector organisations that have a challenge in continuing innovation activity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These range between £250,000 and £1,600,000 and are open for:
- applicants continuing existing projects with an Innovate UK award
- applicants with a new project that follows on from a project with an Innovate UK award (completed in the past 36 months)
- applicants continuing, completing or following on from innovation activity that has not been supported by an Innovate UK award in the past 36 months
Further information on eligibility criteria and how to apply for an Innovate UK loan, please see the government website.
Support for Exporting Businesses
On 8 September, the government announced a package of new measures to support businesses in the consumer and retail industry to export overseas as part of efforts to help the sector recover from Coronavirus. These include the launch of a Consumer and Retail Export Academy to help businesses export, via a digital learning syllabus. To view the full list of measures announced, visit the government website here.
If your business exports goods or services and has been impacted by COVID-19 these schemes may also be suitable for you:
- Grants for businesses who complete customs declarations – If you are an importer or exporter, or a business which completes customs declarations on behalf of your clients, there are 3 grants available. These grants support with training that helps your business to complete customs declarations and processes, hiring new staff who focus on customs declarations, and IT improvements.
- GM Export Fund - GC Business Finance provides loans to SMEs looking to trade overseas for the first time or expand their current levels of trade.
- Export Working Capital Scheme - Access to capital finance for export-related projects.
- Export Insurance Policy - Insurance from UK Export Finance to manage risk in challenging markets.
- Direct Lending facility - A loan from UK Export Finance for overseas buyers to finance the purchase of capital goods and/or services from UK exporters.
- The Department for International Trade – Guidance for UK business trading internationally and financial support.
Grant support for businesses affected by coronavirus restrictions
Due to the England-wide lockdown from November 5 to December 2, the government has introduced and extended business support grants. A summary of the different grants available at a national and local level for businesses affected by coronavirus restrictions is available through our guide, here.
All grants are allocated through the local authority, so please review your Local Authority's page to see what is available in your area.
Please note that phishing emails seeking to target those eligible for the extended business support grants have recently been reported. Guidance on recognising phishing emails and texts has been published by the government and additional resources are available through our dedicated Cyber crime awareness during the Coronavirus outbreak page.
Innovate UK Grants
Businesses can find out about UK Research and Innovation's Covid-19 related funding and projects through their website here.
Film & TV Production Restart Scheme
On July 28, Government announced a £500 million Film and TV Production Restart Scheme to support production struggling to secure insurance for Covid-related costs. The Scheme Rules and Explanatory Notes can be viewed by visiting the government website. The application form can be viewed and submitted through this link.
The registration deadline for this scheme is 23:59 GMT on 28 February 2021.
Green Homes Grant Scheme - extended until the end of March 2022
On August 28, the Government released details for the Green Homes Grant Scheme. This scheme allows homeowners and landlords to apply for a voucher towards the cost of improving energy efficiency and low carbon heating to homes. You can apply for the voucher from end of September 2020, this voucher will cover two-thirds of this cost (up to £5,000) or all the cost (up to £10,000) if the household is on low income.
As a first step, if you are a tradesperson or business that carries out energy efficiency or low carbon heating improvements, you should register for TrustMark.
Tradespeople can only begin work once a customer’s application has been approved and they have been issued with a voucher. Installers will be paid for the costs covered by the voucher once the work has been completed and you have confirmed you have received any customer contribution. The payment will come from the grant administrator and most installers will get the grant payment within 5 working days.
For more information on how to carry out work under the Green Homes Grant scheme, see here. For further details about what work the voucher can be used for, visit the government website here.
On November 18, the government extended the scheme until the end of March 2022.
Business Rates relief for businesses operating in specific industries - retail, hospitality, leisure and children’s nurseries
Businesses in the retail, hospitality, leisure and children’s nursery sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. You’re eligible if your property is a:
- restaurant, café, bar or pub
- cinema or live music venue
- assembly or leisure property - for example, a sports club, a gym or a spa
- hospitality property - for example, a hotel, a guest house or self-catering accommodation
and for nurseries,
- be on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
- provide care and education for children up to 5 years old
You can check here if your retail, hospitality or leisure business is eligible for business rates relief due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
You can check here if your nursery is eligible for business rates relief due to coronavirus (COVID-19)
You do not need to take any action. Your local council will apply the discount automatically. Contact your local council if you’re not getting a relief you think you’re entitled to.
Cash Management Guide
In these challenging times, managing your cash as a business owner is crucial. You can find a guide to managing cash flow from our Access to Finance team here.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Extension (CJRS) - Funding for businesses to retain staff
On November 5, the government extended the furlough scheme which will now run until 31 March 2021.
The latest details including eligibility can be found here.
The Self-employment Income Support Scheme – Open until end of April 2021
The Self-employment Income Support Scheme is a grant for the self-employed, sole traders and partners operating within a partnership trading structure, who have lost income due to coronavirus.
Full details of the scheme can be found here.
If you are Self-Employed, the Greater Manchester EnterprisingYou programme can offer expertise and advice. Find out more here. The programme is also running a webinar on November 6 where you can hear first-hand examples of how the self-employed in Greater Manchester have been supported and how EnterprisingYou helped people during lockdown.
Statutory Sick Pay Scheme (SSP)
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme allows qualifying employers to claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19). The online service you can use to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) can be accessed, here.
You can use the scheme as an employer if:
- you have already paid your employee’s sick pay
- you’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
- you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
- you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020
Full details on how to check eligibility and claim Statutory Sick Pay paid to your employees due to coronavirus can be found on the government website here.
Test and Trace Support Payment scheme - Self-isolation Pay
On August 27, a new support measure was announced to help people on low incomes who need to self-isolate and are unable to work from home. Eligible individuals who tested positive for Coronavirus were to receive £130 for their 10-day period of self-isolation. Other members of their household, who had to self-isolate for 14 days, would be entitled to a payment of £182. The scheme was first trialled in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle, and Oldham.
On September 20, the scheme was updated. People will be required by law to self-isolate from September 28, supported by payment of £500 for those on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result. You can access the scheme through your Local Authority. Those who start to self-isolate from September 28 will receive backdated payments once the scheme is set up in their Local Authority.
You cannot currently apply for the scheme if you have been notified to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace app but you have not been contacted by NHS Test and Trace by phone, email, letter or text message.
For more information on eligibility and how to claim financial support under the scheme please see here.
On September 2, the Government opened applications for the Kickstart Scheme. This scheme aims to create new 6-month job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. Any organisation of any size can apply for funding as long as the roles offered are new jobs.
Funding is available for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.
Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements. You can find out how to apply here. If you are unable to offer this many job placements, you can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number.
To support businesses, the government has published a series of tips for making a successful Kickstart Scheme application.
To help businesses benefit from Kickstart, the Growth Company has developed three support packages including:
- Being a Gateway organisation - to help businesses access the scheme regardless of how many placements you are able to offer
- Being a Kickstart Service Partner offering on-placement support, such as individual learning plans and careers advice/support
- Employment services - enabling businesses to host placements without having to worry about employment contract and HR-related requirements.
For more information and to register your interest in a Kickstart application, visit the Growth Company's dedicated page.
On July 8, the government announced the launch of a new incentive to encourage employers to create new apprenticeships and hire young people.
Employers hiring an apprentice between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021, will receive a one-off payment of:
- £2,000 for apprentices aged 16 to 24
- £1,500 for apprentices aged 25 and over
For more information on how to apply, visit the government website.
R&D Tax Relief
Research and Development (R&D) Tax Relief
The R&D tax relief scheme is not COVID-19 specific. The scheme is designed to encourage innovation in the UK by allowing businesses to offset research and development investments against corporation tax. For every £1 of identified R&D cost you could save 26p in Corporation Tax. Find out more here.
Payment holidays for VAT and self-assessment tax
If you’re a UK VAT registered business and have deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June 2020 you have the option to:
- pay the full amount by the end of March 2021.
- Make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022
Businesses which deferred VAT due in March to June 2020 will be able to spread out their VAT bill over eleven smaller interest-free payments during the 2021-22 financial year using the government's VAT deferral "New Payment Scheme". To take advantage of the scheme, businesses will need to opt-in.
The opt-in process will be set up by HMRC in early 2021, but the government has published guidance on key actions businesses must take before opting in.
Please note that the scheme does not cover payments for VAT MOSS or import VAT and you will still need to submit your VAT returns to HMRC on time. Full details can be found here.
If you complete a self-assessment tax return the deadlines for paying your tax bill are usually:
• 31 January - for any tax you owe for the previous tax year (known as a balancing payment) and your first payment on account
• 31 July - for your second payment on account
Because of Coronavirus (COVID-19), individuals were able to delay making their second payment on account. If you chose to delay, you can pay your deferred July 2020 payment on account any time up to 31 January 2021.
On 24 September, the government announced that taxpayers with up to £30,000 of Self-Assessment liabilities will be able to benefit from an additional 12-month extension from HMRC on the “Time to Pay” self-service facility. This means that payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid in full until January 2022
Full details can be found here.
VAT: reduced rate
The government announced on 8 July 2020 that VAT registered businesses can apply a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT to certain supplies relating to hospitality, hotel and holiday accommodation and admissions to certain attractions. This reduced rate originally applied to supplies that were made between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021.
On 24 September, the Chancellor extended the temporary reduced rate of VAT for the hospitality and tourism sectors until March 31 2021.
You can find further information here.
The Trade Credit Insurance Guarantee
On May 13, the Government announced that it is finalising a scheme to provide the continuance of trade insurance cover. Additional commentary from the Association of British Insurers can be found here.
In summary, Trade Credit Insurance usually covers business-to-business transactions, particularly in non-service sectors such as manufacturing and construction. It insures suppliers selling goods against the company they are selling to defaulting on payment. Due to Coronavirus and financial challenges, these suppliers risk having credit insurance withdrawn, or premiums increasing to unaffordable levels. The scheme is intended to temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance, covering most of the market.
Further details were released on June 4, stating the scheme will provide up to £10 billion of government guarantees, and is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020 running until 31 December 2020, with a possible extension.
The scheme will be delivered through a reinsurance agreement that is open to all insurers currently operating in the UK market, covering both domestic and overseas trade with payment terms of up to 2 years. Implementation of the scheme is subject to state aid approval.
QUALIFYING BUSINESSES CAN ACCESS MORE THAN ONE FORM OF SUPPORT.
Businesses and self employed people can use the government's latest business support finder tool to determine what financial support is available to them during the pandemic.
Past financial schemes - currently not available
Small Business Grants Fund & Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund - Both Funds are now closed.
Under the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) all eligible businesses in England in receipt of either Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system will be eligible for a payment of £10,000.
Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) eligible businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for a cash grants of £10,000 or £25,000 per property.
Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to and including £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.
Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme. Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in this scheme.
Full details of both schemes can be found here.
The scheme is being administered by the Local Authorities and payments have been reaching businesses since the beginning of April. Many Local Authorities have launched on-line forms to enable businesses to upload information needed in order to process the payments, so we recommend that you view your business’ Local Authority website to understand its claim process. You can find contact details for Greater Manchester Local Authorities and the North West here.
Innovate UK Grants & Loans
Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme would provide £750 million of targeted support for the most R&D intensive small and medium size firms. £200 million of grant and loan payments were for its 2,500 existing Innovate UK customers on an opt-in basis. An extra £550 million were also made available to increase support for existing customers and £175,000 of support were offered to around 1,200 firms not currently in receipt of Innovate UK funding. The first payments were made by mid-May. You can find more information here.
On 27 June, HMG unveiled a £200 million package to help innovative businesses bounce back. The Sustainable Innovation Fund will be open to companies across the UK to help companies recovering from the impact of Coronavirus, to keep cutting-edge projects and ideas alive. This funding, delivered through Innovate UK, forms part of a wider £750 million package of grants and loans announced in April to support innovative firms.
Businesses could apply for grant support by visiting the Innovate UK website, Round 1 of the competition which opened on June 29 and had a closing deadline on July 29. Each organisation working alone or in a collaboration could claim a maximum of £175,000.
Within the Sustainable Innovation Fund there is also up to £10 million available for ‘SBRI phase 1’, which is meant to help UK businesses and the public sector recover from COVID-19. It is expected that projects in this phase to range in size up to total costs of £60,000, including VAT. The competition opens on Monday 29 June and closes August 5.
The Sustainable Innovation Fund is now closed.
COVID-19 Emergency Surplus Food Grant - Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the grant have now closed.
On 3rd April 2020, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced a £3.25m fund to support food redistribution organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The support aims to ensure that people in need and those belonging to vulnerable groups get the necessary food supplies, whilst minimising food waste.
The COVID-19 Emergency Surplus Food Grant scheme will be made available through the Resource Action Fund administered by sustainability not-for profit WRAP and will be delivered in three phases, with the first one commencing on the 3rd April and the other two on Thursday 9 April. Additional details on the new grant scheme can be seen here.
Small Business Recovery Fund - Expression of interest deadline closed
On July 30, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government announced a £20 million fund to help SMEs across England get back on track. Businesses were able to apply for grants between £1,000 to £3,000, with grants of £5,000 available in exceptional circumstances. The grant had to support the purchase of either professional advice, or the purchase of new technology and equipment to help with business recovery. The deadline for Expressions of Interest for the Small Business Recovery Grant was Wednesday 9th September at 5pm.
Culture Recovery Fund: Grants programme - The fund closed for applications on September 4 2020.
The Culture Recovery Fund is open to arts and cultural organisations, including charitable and non-profit organisations as well as private organisations and commercial for-profit ventures. Local Authorities, Universities and other Public Sector bodies who run or maintain cultural services can also apply. You can find more information on eligibility and how to apply for a grant at Arts Council England. Grants are from £50,000 up to £3 million.
Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas - Applications closed on Friday 30 October 2020.
To support independent cinemas in England whose businesses have been unavoidably interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and will continue to be disrupted upon re-opening, the government has launched the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas.
The Fund which will be administered by the British Film Institute (BFI) will have two components – one off Safety grants to help cinemas make their venues safe for staff and audiences and Business Sustainability grants to underpin ongoing organisational viability.
For more information and to apply for the fund visit BFI's dedicated website, here.
Transport-Technology Research and Innovation Grants (T-TRIG) - The grant programme closed for applications on October 11 2020.
Creative transport start-ups with a focus on decarbonisation or COVID-19 recovery can bid for the Department for Transport's Transport-Technology Research and Innovation Grants (T-TRIG). The grants programme will be delivered by The Connected Places Catapult and SMEs can apply for 100% funding for a project within scope.
This page is intended to be a summary of the financial support package provided to businesses and the self-employed during the COVID-19 difficulties. It will be updated as soon as practically possible after new information is made available by Central Government and its partners, but we cannot be held responsible for errors and omissions that may occur.