We know that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is causing businesses no end of heartache – especially those forced to close during lockdown and those that have seen demand fall off at this difficult time. And with no current end in sight to the 3rd lockdown which began on the 5th January, it’s important that if you run a business or are self-employed that you are fully aware of the financial aid that you are eligible for.
Here we look at the different types of COVID-19 financial support available to both businesses and the self-employed.
As always, your exact circumstances will determine the support you are eligible for. Use the government business support finder for the most accurate guide to what support is available to you and your business.
Small business COVID-19 financial support
Closed Business Lockdown Payment
Ahead of the 3rd national lockdown, additional funding was announced to support businesses and jobs. The Closed Business Lockdown Payment was designed to support any business which is legally required to close, and which cannot operate effectively remotely, is eligible for a grant.
This includes a one-off grant to closed businesses:
- £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
- £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000
You can find out more about the closed business lockdown payment on the gov.uk site.
Statutory Sick Pay Rebate
If you are an employer, you may be able to claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) which you have paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The scheme covers up to 2 weeks of SSP for each eligible employee.
To qualify your business must
- be UK based
- be small or medium sized – employing fewer than 250 people (as of Feb 2020)
Business Rates Holiday 2020-2021
If you run a retail, hospitality or leisure business you may be able to access a business rates holiday. This means you won’t have to pay your business rates for the 2020-2021 tax year.
The good news is that if your business is eligible, you do not have to apply for this relief. Your local council will apply the discount automatically.
Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Aimed at SME’s this scheme helps businesses access loans and other types of finance up to £5million. The Business Interruption Loan Scheme has a number of features designed to make securing loans for businesses easier during the pandemic.
Key benefits include
- The government backs 80% of the finance to the lender
- The government pays any interest/fees for the first 12 months
- The scheme is open until the 31st March 2021
Find out if your business is eligible for the business interruption loan scheme
Bounce Back Loan Scheme
This scheme is designed to help smaller businesses access funds more readily. It allows small and medium sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and 25% of their turnover (up to a maximum of £50,000).
The key benefits include:
- The loan is 100% backed by the government
- There are no repayments due for the first 12 months
- There is no interest or fees to pay for the first 12 months
- Applications to the scheme are open until the 31st March 2021
Find out more about the bounce back loan scheme
The kickstart scheme is designed to provide businesses with financial support to create new 6-month placements for young people (16 to 24 years) currently on Universal Credit at risk of long-term unemployment.
Find out more about the Kickstart Scheme.
Self-employed COVID-19 financial support
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
The key support available to those who are self-employed is the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). If you are self-employed and getting less work or no work because of COVID-19 you may be able to claim a grant through the SEISS.
The SEISS was extended in 2020 to offer a further 6 months of support. The extension was split into 2 further payments:
- One covering November 2020 – January 2021. Claims for this grant have now closed.
- One covering Feb 2021 – April 2021. Exact details about this grant will be released on the 3rd
If you are eligible for the grant, it does not need to be repaid, but will be subject to income tax and self-employment national insurance.
HMRC work out if you are eligible and the amount of grant you may get. Whilst claims for the third grant have now closed and we await details of the fourth grant, you can still visit gov.uk to find out more information about the SEISS.
If you are looking for more information on any of these COVID-19 financial support schemes, the best place to visit is the gov.uk website where full details of the schemes and eligibility criteria can be found. You can use the business support finder for guidance on the support that is available to you and your business.
At Anthony Jones we also update our business insurance pages and our blog with information relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic and support businesses can access. We also look at key issues which may impact businesses at this time such as working in a COVID secure manner, remote working and the return to work.