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Finance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for Employers and Businesses

Finance

This page will be regularly updated with financial information and guidance for businesses and employers during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The guidance will include information published by the Government around emergency funding for businesses.

Fact sheet

View our updated fact sheet for financial support for businesses during the Coronavirus crisis.

Click here to view

Small business grant scheme

District and Borough Councils in East Sussex have been fielding hundreds of calls from local businesses and working flat out to prepare to pay grants as announced by the government. These include the small business grants of £10,000 and the £25,000 grants to businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors.

It is up to each District and Borough Council to process the scheme for their own area, so businesses need to ensure they read the guidance provided by their local council. Businesses can apply by completing the forms on their local councils website:

Business support packages: latest updates

Click here to access the Government’s hub of Coronavirus business support.

The hub brings together key information for businesses including on funding and support, business closures, your responsibilities as an employer and managing your business during coronavirus. The hub also includes information for self-employed people and sole traders.

Funding and support

  • Financial support for businesses – click here
  • Claim for your employee’s wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – click here
  • Apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – click here
  • Defer your VAT payments – click here
  • Prevent your business from being evicted – click here

Support for the retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery sectors

  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 – click here
  • 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England – click here

Self-employed people and sole traders

  • Claim a grant through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme – click here
  • Self-employment and Universal Credit – click here
  • If you cannot pay your tax bill on time – click here
  • Carry out work in people’s homes safely (tradespeople) – click here
  • Drivers’ hours rules relaxations – click here
  • Negotiate a mortgage payment holiday – click here

Your responsibilities as an employer

  • What you need to do and how to keep your employees safe – click here
  • Claim for your employee’s wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – click here
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): employer guide – click here
  • Claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) – click here
  • Find out what to do if your employee needs time off to look after dependants – click here
  • Which expenses are taxable if your employees work from home – click here
  • Apprenticeships: how they can continue – click here
  • Guidance for Tier 2, 4 and 5 visa sponsors of people affected by coronavirus – click here

Managing your business during coronavirus

  • Cleaning your workplace safely – click here
  • Handwashing advice posters – click here
  • Rules that have been relaxed to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic – click here
  • Construction sites and safe working – click here
  • Farmers, landowners and rural businesses – click here
  • Food businesses – click here
  • Freight transport businesses – click here
  • Medical and healthcare industry – click here
  • Shipping and sea ports businesses – click here
  • Supported accommodation, residential care and home care – click here
  • Transport businesses – click here

Business closures

  • Businesses that must close – click here
  • If you’re staying open for business: safe working guidance – click here
  • Closing holiday accommodation to temporary residents – click here

Bank of England package of measures

The Bank of England has announced a comprehensive package of measures to help UK businesses and households bridge across the economic disruption that is likely to be associated with COVID-19.

Interest rates have been reduced from 0.75% to 0.25% and additional funding will be available for banks to increase lending, especially to SMEs.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

This scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to apply for loans of up to £50,000. Click here for more information.

Click here to download the Fact sheet for SMEs.

Clean Growth Fund

Government launches new £40 million Clean Growth Fund to supercharge green start-ups

The government is launching a new effort to support green start-up companies, joint-funding a £40 million venture capital fund to supercharge the development of next generation clean, low-carbon technologies.

The Clean Growth Fund (click here) will contribute towards the UK’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050 and will be accessible to UK-based companies driving green technology across the power, transport, waste, and building energy efficiency sectors. Potential examples of projects the fund could support include:

  • energy storage and smart grid systems to bolster resilience in the power system
  • renewable heating and ventilation technologies across homes and commercial buildings
  • bio-fuels and bio-energy systems

With £20 million of government investment matched pound for pound by CCLA, one of the UK’s largest charity fund managers, the fund could reach £100 million by Autumn 2021 through private sector fundraising.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme launched on the23rd March. This will cover loans and overdrafts. The maximum is £1.2 million and there is no fee payable to the Government. This is borrowing that must be repaid, these are not grants.

The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the Government-owned British Business Bank. There are 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks.

The Scheme will support business loans and overdrafts of up to £5 million in value by providing a guarantee to the lender. The Government will not charge businesses for this guarantee. The scheme will also cover asset finance and invoice finance.

The decision on whether to offer finance is taken by each individual lender, not by government. Businesses remain responsible for repaying any borrowing that they take out.

In order to access the scheme, businesses should contact their finance provider, not the British Business Bank.

To access the scheme, you should talk to your bank or finance provider as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them. This will help your finance provider to act quickly once the scheme has launched. If you have an existing loan with monthly repayments you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to help with cash flow.

Coronavirus business support finder tool

Government launches new coronavirus business support finder tool

A new ‘support finder’ tool will help businesses and self-employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic.

The finder tool on GOV.UK will ask business owners to fill out a simple online questionnaire, which can take minutes to complete, and they will then be directed to a list of all the financial support they may be eligible for.

Click here to use the tool

Facebook Small Business Grants Program

Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where the company operates.

Financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £330 billion support package for business and workers to protect against the economic emergency caused by the coronavirus.

This includes unlimited loans and guarantees to support firms and help them manage cashflows through this period. The Chancellor will make available an initial £330 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of UK GDP.

This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:

  • a statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

Funding boost for hi-tech, innovative companies and start-ups

Innovative businesses and start-ups are set to benefit from a £40 million government investment to drive forward new technological advances.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced that the government is doubling investment in the Fast Start Competition with an additional £20 million.

The competition aims to fast-track the development of innovations borne out of the coronavirus crisis while supporting the UK’s next generation of cutting-edge start-ups – helping to build the businesses of tomorrow and propel their future prosperity.

Click here for more information.

Future Fund

£500 million Future Fund opens for application

UK-based companies can now apply for a convertible loan of between £125,000 and £5 million, to support continued growth and innovation in sectors as diverse as technology, life sciences and the creative industries and to help them through the Coronavirus outbreak.

Click here for more information.

Innovation and enterprise

£1.25bn for the ‘innovation and enterprise’ the UK needs for post COVID-19 economic recovery

The government has announced a £1.25bn package to support innovative companies lead the UK economic recovery.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced two schemes, both due to launch in May. They comprise:

  • a new £500 million loan scheme for high-growth firms, called the Future Fund, and
  • £750 million of targeted support for small and medium sized businesses focusing on research and development.

Rishi Sunak said the targeted and tailored help would ensure firms in some of the most dynamic sectors of the UK economy – ranging from tech to life sciences – are protected through the crisis so they can continue to develop innovative new products and help power UK growth.

Delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank, the fund will provide UK-based companies with between £125,000 and £5 million from the government, with private investors at least matching the government commitment. These loans will automatically convert into equity on the company’s next qualifying funding round, or at the end of the loan if they are not repaid.

The £750 million of targeted support for the most R&D intensive small and medium size firms will be available through Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme, Innovate UK.

More information on the detail behind the scheme can be found in the headline terms – click here.

Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund

The Discretionary Grant Fund supports small and micro businesses in England that are not eligible for other grant schemes. Guidance has been updated to includes details on eligibility points.

To be eligible, your business should have ongoing fixed property-related costs, and occupy property (or part of a property) with a rateable value or annual mortgage/rent payments below £51,000.

Find out more here.

Money Advice Service

Coronavirus and your money

If you have to take time off work because of coronavirus there are a number of support measures in place. Follow the link below to find out more.

Coronavirus – what it means for you and what you’re entitled to

The spread of coronavirus, also called COVID-19, in the UK and across the world could have implications for your work, benefits and travel plans. This guide will look at your rights to sick pay, what benefits you can claim if you’re self-employed or not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

Support for those affected by COVID-19

The Chancellor announced a package of measures to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19.

  • A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses with a turnover of no more than £41 million to apply for a loan of up to £1.2 million, with the Government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. This will unlock up to £1 billion pounds to protect and support small businesses.
  • 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. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.
  • A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities to receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement.
  • There will be a £3,000 cash grant to 700,000 of our smallest businesses, delivered by Local Authorities, and worth a total of £2 billion.
  • Finally, the Government is temporarily increasing the Business Rates retail discount in England to 100% for 2020-21 for properties below £51,000 rateable value. Nearly half of all business properties will not pay a penny of business rates.

Trade Credit Reinsurance scheme

Government steps in with £10m scheme to back trade credit insurance

The UK government is to guarantee trade credit insurance to ensure that the market does not seize up because of the coronavirus crisis.

Trade credit insurance safeguards companies against the risk that their customers go bust before paying for goods they have ordered, helping businesses to trade with confidence. It covers about £171bn of business activity in the UK, between 13,000 suppliers and 650,000 customers.

But insurers have warned they face huge claims because of the COVID-19 crisis as companies under stress fail to pay their bills.

The government has now said it will provide guarantees of up to £10 billion to Trade Credit Insurance schemes for business-to-business transactions. The Trade Credit Reinsurance scheme will support supply chains and help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic to trade with confidence, safe in the knowledge that they will be protected if a customer defaults or delays on payment.

The scheme is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020, and running until 31 December 2020, with the potential for extension if required.

Click here to find out more.

Women in Innovation 2020: new funding announced

Innovate UK has announced a new wave of Women in Innovation Awards to find and support the UK’s most promising female innovators. Up to 10 women will secure £50,000 each as well as a bespoke programme of coaching, mentoring and innovation growth support. Click here for more information.

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