Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- The Chancellor has announced that a new temporary Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank
- Will launch by the start of next week to support businesses to access bank lending, overdrafts, asset finance and invoice finance up to a value of £1.2 million.
- On 17 March, the Chancellor went further by increasing the value of these loans to £5 million.
- The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a perlender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.
- The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and will also cover the first 6 months of interest payments and fees.
- Businesses will be able to get finance under the scheme from a large number of providers, including the main high street banks, as of next week.
- A list of lenders who will be offering finance under it can be found on the British Business Bank website: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/
Small Business Grant Funding
The Chancellor announced this week:
- All businesses currently eligible for small business rate relief or rural rates relief will receive a one-off grant of 10,000 each.
- For a property with a rateable value of £12,000, this is over 80% of their rateable value, or comparable to 10 months of rent.
- All active businesses currently in receipt of these reliefs will be eligible for this grant.
- All eligible small businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors will receive a cash grant – not just those in receipt of SBRR. Businesses in these sectors with a property with a rateable value below £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000, while businesses in these sectors with a property with a rateable value of between £14,999 and £51,000, will receive a flat grant of £25,000.
- The Treasury are working with local authorities to deliver these grants as quickly as possible. Local authorities will need to contact these businesses to collect their bank details in order to make the payment, as they do not already hold these.
- The Business Secretary will write to all local authorities this week to set out the outlines of these grant schemes. Constituents should be directed to their local authority for more information.
Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance
- SSP will be payable from day 1 instead of day 4 for affected individuals.
- To support individuals affected by COVID-19, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will now be available directly from employers for eligible individuals either diagnosed with COVID-19 or who are unable to work because they are self-isolating in line with government advice.
- From this Friday onwards, those who are advised to self-isolate will be able to obtain an “isolation note” by contacting NHS 111 online, rather than visiting a doctor. This can be used by employees where their employers require evidence.
- Where individuals need to check their eligibility for sick pay, they should speak to their employer about their entitlements, and can visit www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay
- Self employed or people earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week, can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance:
- For the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for those who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating according to government advice, ensuring self-employed claimants will receive support;
- People will be able to claim Universal Credit and access advance payments upfront without the current requirement to attend a jobcentre if they are advised to selfisolate;
- Contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be payable for eligible people affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating in line with advice from Day 1 of sickness, rather than Day 8.
As this is a rapidly changing situation, for the latest updates please go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses
Additionally, the HMRC have set up a Helpline 0800 0159 559 for all inquiries.