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Government Support for Businesses

The following support is available on business rates and cash grants. See ‘devolved administrations’ for details in Scotland and Wales.

  • Small Business Grant Fund - £10,000 one-off cash grant for stores eligible for Small Business Relief or Rural Rate Relief.
  • Retail Grant Fund - £10,000 one-off cash grant for stores up to £15,000 rateable value, except those eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund. £25,000 one-off cash grant for stores between £15,000 - £51,000 rateable value.
  • Business Rates Holiday – 100% business rates relief for 2020/21 business rates bills.

We have developed a flow chart for businesses on the grants available to them, which you can download here. 

Additional business support for retailers trading anywhere across the UK includes:

  • Business Interruption Loan Scheme – allowing retailers to borrow up to £5 million, interest free for up to 12 months, with no personal guarantees required for loans under £250,000. All retailers are eligible, regardless of regular commercial financing options.
  • Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme - provides a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make the loans. Firms with turnover of more than £250 million can borrow up to £200 million. Businesses should consider applying through their lender’s website in the first instance. More information is available here.

  • Corporate Financing Facility – larger retailers can apply for the Bank of England to purchase short-term corporate debt (commercial paper) to raise working capital for cashflow purposes.
  • Bounce Back Loan Scheme - provides microbusinesses with loans for 25% of their turnover, up to a maximum of £50,000. The Government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for these loans and will pay the interest for the first twelve months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. More information is available here.
  • Commercial Renter Protection – until 30th June, businesses cannot be evicted for unpaid rent and landlords cannot issue statutory demands or winding up petitions to gain payments. Landlords cannot use the Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) regulations to send in bailiffs unless more than 91 days’ rent is due. This is not a rental holiday and landlords will still be owed rent.
  • Commercial Renter Protection – landlords cannot begin or proceed with eviction procedures where tenants miss a rent payment over the next three months. Tenants in distress are advised to contact their landlord to agree rental holidays or deferred payment plans.
  • Statutory Sick Pay – the Government is providing sick pay funding for retailers with up to 250 employees, enabling these retailers to reclaim up to 14 days of sick pay for COVID-19 related absences. Procedures to claim the funding are currently being developed.
  • VAT Payments – retailers do not have to pay VAT from April until the end of June. Retailers will have until the end of the year to pay those bills.
  • Filing Accounts – businesses will be given an additional 3 months to file accounts with Companies House. You will still have to apply for a 3-month extension to be granted, but those citing issues around COVID-19 will be automatically and immediately granted an extension. More information and how to apply is available here and more information on support from Companies House is here.
  • HMRC Time to Pay Service- a dedicated helpline to support businesses in financial distress due to the coronavirus with their tax affairs. If you are concerned about making tax payments due to COVID-19, you can call the helpline on 0800 024 1222.

The Bank of England have also announced a 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 0.1%.