Updated: What Financial Help Is Available For Businesses During Coronavirus?

Updated: 17th March 2020

The Small Enterprise Grant has been increased from £3K to £10K plus the ability to apply for an additional grant of up to £25K will be available for anyone without pandemic insurance cover (neither need to be paid back at any point). No details yet on how to apply.

The Business Rate Relief no longer only applies to venues with a rateable value under £51K, all venues will now get full rate relief for the whole year.

Government Underwritten Loans. Amount of money available has been increased although again no update on when you will be able to apply for these.

This is going to be a rough ride so all and any help will be welcome. We look at what is out there now.

Last week’s budget addressed the coronavirus impact on small businesses – these are businesses with less than 250 employees, so most of you out there.

We have looked at the key ones here, as announced by the chancellor Rishi Sunak. It should be noted before you get to excited that some of these are currently promised but not actually available, as no systems have been put in place to claim them. Sorry if you were hoping for a quick boost to your bank account, it isn’t going to work like that but at least you can plan for when they are available.

Useful Now

Business Rate Relief

No business rates will be charged for companies in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors with a rateable value less than £51,000 in 2020-21, including bars, restaurants, coffee shops and hotels. For pubs a £5,000 business rate discount will apply for any pub with a rateable value below £100,000 in England.

This amounts to around 45% of all business premises in England. The local authorities will be provided with money from the government to cover this.

In Scotland no official plan has yet been released but there is a hotline number you can call for advice – 0300 303 0660.
Wales have said that they will be announcing a plan shortly but no news currently.
Northern Ireland powers that be are being put under heavy pressure to follow England’s lead but no news currently.

Action needed – none if you are in England. It will automatically take effect.

Tax Relief

HMRC have put together a plan for those struggling to pay their tax bill. We have looked into this in more details here

Basically, it will be looked at on an individual basis, but the advice is to get ahead of the curve and speak to HMRC sooner rather than later.

Action needed – call the HMRC hotline on 0800 0158 559 – Mon to Fri 8am – 8pm and Sat 8am – 4pm

Help Coming Soon

Diageo Financial Support

As of Monday 23rd you will be able to apply for up to £600 from the £1M war chest Diageo have announced to help pay staff wages.

All details can be found here.

Small Enterprise Grants

In the budget it was announced that business who are exempt from paying business rates in England 2020-21 (see above) will be eligible for a £3,000 grant to cover costs.

This is obviously welcome news and will go towards the short fall from a drop in customers and any potential shutdown if enforced. The bad news is there is no news on how or when businesses will be able to access these grants.

Unfortunately, this is again only applicable in England – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have to wait to see what happens for them.

Action needed – Wait. We will keep an eye on proceedings and let you know as soon as anything happens.

Sick Pay Coverage

There is an article here explaining the ins and outs of sick pay during the coronavirus period but basically staff can get 14 days self-isolation sick pay – just under £200 per staff member.

The government has pledged to pay back employers who have to pay this out which is great. Not so great, and I know you saw this coming, there is, as yet, no way to claim this money. In fact the government have warned it could take months.

Action needed – Wait and hope. We will of course keep you updated with any news.

Government Underwritten Loans

The government has offered to underwrite loans to businesses adversely affected by coronavirus. A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme will see the government guaranteeing debt to encourage lenders to give loans to companies that would otherwise be deemed to risky.

The government will guarantee up to 80% of a loan, up to £1.2 million per small business. There will be no fee for this guarantee from the government or any ongoing charges. However, the borrower will still be 100% liable for the loan.

More than 40 lenders including the big four banks – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS – provide funds under the scheme as either loans, overdrafts or asset-based lending secured on equipment or invoices.

The government have said that the ability to apply for this will be live ‘within weeks’ but experts are saying it might be too complicated and take too long to be properly effective.

Action needed – Wait for the announcement but in the meantime, you can start planning how much you need, and for what, in preparation for the loan process.

Whilst this isn’t immediately putting money in your pockets it is at least some light on the horizon.

This story is correct as of March 16th.

If you have any areas you would like BarLifeUK to look into regarding coronavirus that you don’t see covered in the coronavirus section please email simon@barlifeuk.com and we will try to find an expert to answer them and get back to you.