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Coronavirus: Managing Finance and Cashflow

Local Restrictions in Greater Manchester

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on 30 July that due to an increasing number of Coronavirus cases, local restrictions are introduced in Greater Manchester and the new guidance is enforced as of July 31. See here for more information. 

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.


Impartial Advice and Guidance on Financial Support Available

The Business Growth Hub remains #HereForBusiness offering support and guidance to organisations on the current challenges and market changes relating to COVID-19.

  • Businesses located across Greater Manchester and Lancashire can obtain fully-funded financial advice from the Growth Hub’s Access to Finance team.
  • If you are based in the North West, GC Business Finance can provide loans and equity investment including the latest CBILS funding. For more information on all business loans provided by GC Business Finance please click here. For further information on GC Business Finance CBILS loans, eligibility and how to apply please click here. 
  • If you are Self-Employed, the Greater Manchester EnterprisingYou programme can offer expertise and advice. Find out more here.


Should you want any more information you can contact our experienced and specialist teams for one-to-one support and guidance to discuss individual business needs.

Call us on 0161 359 3050
Or email

What support is available



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 6 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.


Start-up Loans 

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)

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 is Monday 4th May. 

If a business has already received a loan of up to £50,000 under CBILS and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme, this can be arranged with the lender until 4 November 2020.

You can find more information on BBLS here. 


Future Fund 
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 will be open until the end of September 2020.

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.

You can find more information here. Applications must be made online at the Future Fund Portal.   


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. Full details of the loan scheme see 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 operate for at least 12 months and for as long as steps are needed to relieve cash flow pressures on firms. Full details of the corporate financing facility can be found on the Bank of England and UK Finance websites.


Support for Exporting Businesses

If your business exports goods or services and has been impacted by COVID-19 these schemes may 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. 



Small Business Grants Fund & Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund

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.

Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund or also known as Top-up fund  

On 2 May, Government confirmed additional funds up to £617 million will be distributed to local authorities in England.  This top-up is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. 
Government are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates. Local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need. The allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities.
Eligible businesses must be under 50 employees and have seen a significant drop of income due to the restriction measures imposed because of COVID-19. On the 23rd May, the government announced that businesses eligible for the Self-Employement Income Support Scheme will also be eligible to apply for a Top-up grant. 

There will be three levels of grant payments. The maximum will be £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000. Local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. 

For details to date, see here

The scheme is being administered by the Local Authorities. 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 with provide £750 million of targeted support for the most R&D intensive small and medium size firms.  £200 million of grant and loan payments will be for its 2,500 existing Innovate UK customers on an opt-in basis. An extra £550 million 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. The first payments will be 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 can apply for grant support by visiting the Innovate UK website, Round 1 of the competition opens on June 29 and has a closing deadline on July 29. Each organisation working alone or in a collaboration can 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. 

COVID-19 Emergency Surplus Food Grant

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 

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 will be able to apply for grants between £1,000 to £3,000, with grants of £5,000 available in exceptional circumstances.  The grant must support the purchase of either professional advice, or the purchase of new technology and equipment to help with business recovery. To register your interest for the grant, please see here

Culture Recovery Fund

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.

This scheme is part of the larger Culture Recovery Fund which 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.

Business Rates

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:

  • shop
  • 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 (CJRS) - Funding for businesses to retain staff

This is commonly referred to as furloughing. The scheme has been announced and many businesses have already started the furloughing process. The funding is claimable online with the system launched on 20 April. The latest details including eligibility and the details that will be needed to make a claim, can be found here.


The Self-employment Income Support Scheme

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.

Enhanced Statutory Sick Pay Scheme (SSP)

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay qualifying employers the current rate of SSP that they pay to current or former employees for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020. The online service you’ll use to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be available from 26 May 2020. You can access the service, here
You can use the scheme as an employer if:

  • 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 can be found here.

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 a VAT payment due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, you have the option to:

  • defer the payment until a later date in which case HMRC will not charge interest or penalties on any amount deferred
  • pay the VAT due as normal

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), you can delay making your second payment on account. If you choose to delay, you’ll have until 31 January 2021 to pay it. 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 is temporary and will apply to supplies that are made between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021.You can find further details by sector and supplies 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.  


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.

More information is available on the UK Government’s Coronavirus Business Support website. For more personalised advice call us on: 0161 237 4128 or email us at:




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.