Posted: 30/04/2020

New government support available to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic


For smaller businesses that don’t qualify for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), the government has announced that small and medium-sized businesses will be eligible to apply for bounce back loans worth up to £50,000. 

It is a new scheme that allows businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 to help them through the COVID-19 crisis. The loans will be 100 percent backed by the government, unlike under the CBILS which is 80 percent.

The scheme will launch for applications on Monday, 4th May and businesses will be able to apply after filling out a short online form. The government has said that funds will be deposited into bank accounts within 24 hours of application.

Find out more and apply here.

Other help available

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – If your turnover is below £45 million you can access government-backed loans of up to £5 million from commercial banks. This scheme will last for six months. You can approach one of 40 accredited lenders. More information via the British Business Bank.

Retail Grants – If you’re mainly a shop or café you will be eligible for a one-off payment. If your property has a rateable value of £15,000 and under (or you already get small business rate relief or rural rate relief) you will get £10,000. If your property has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 you will get £25,000. Councils have this cash and are distributing it through different processes. If unsure, contact your local authority. 

Business Rates holiday – If you are based in England and mainly operate as a shop or café then you don’t have to pay business rates in the tax year starting 6 April 2020. Your council should send you a new bill for zero pounds. Remember to cancel any direct debits or standing orders. Schemes vary elsewhere in the UK.

Job Retention Scheme – The government will reimburse you for payments to furloughed workers in March, April and May that cover 80 per cent of their wages up to £2,500 a month plus associated minimum employer contributions to national insurance and auto enrol pensions. An online system to claim this cash was promised by the end of April. For full technical detail of the scheme see the HMRC website.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme – You can claim a one-off payment of up to £7,500 to cover April, May and June. The amount will be based on a proportion of your average profits over the past few years. You need to have submitted your self-assessment form for 2018/19 and have traded in the 2019/20 tax year.Your trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and represent more than half of your total income. HMRC will contact eligible businesses in May.

VAT deferral – There is no need to pay VAT between 20 March and 20 June but you will have to make it up by end of the tax year. 

General tax support – If you struggle to pay tax then contact the HMRC and they will consider ways to help you.

Statutory Sick Pay rebate – If you have less than 250 employees and any of them self-isolate following government advice you can claim back the cost of paying them statutory sick pay. The system to get hold of this cash was not set up as of 9 April.

Read more in May’s edition of Fine Food Digest – read online here.

For the latest business guidance and marketing advice, subscribe to the Guild of Fine Food support ebulletins here.

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