Access the government support you're entitled to

A small business owner accesses COVID-19 business support online

The Government has announced an unprecedented package of measures aimed at supporting workers and businesses. A vast amount of information has also been produced for businesses. Knowing where to start can be tricky.

Below we have compiled some particularly useful links, including sets of FAQs, to the various support measures your business may be entitled to.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 

HMRC reimbursement of up to 80% of furloughed workers' wage costs. See these FAQs on the furlough leave scheme. Acas has produced a free-to-download furlough letter template.  

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

This scheme provides the lender with an 80% government-backed guarantee on a range of financial products that are interest-free for the first 12 months, delivered through around 50 banks and other lenders. The British Business Bank has answered FAQs on the loan scheme. There are separate finance arrangements for larger firms. The Prince's Trust also has a relief fund for 18-30-year-olds running a business.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

Businesses can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The loans will be interest free for 12 months and no repayments will be due in the first 12 months. Businesses can apply online by completing a short form.

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Defer your VAT payments

Payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 can be deferred (you will still need to submit your VAT return). You can use the HMRC Time To Pay scheme for taxes generally. The HMRC helpline is 0800 0159 559.

Help with Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) 

Reclaim employee's coronavirus-related SSP for two weeks. See this SSP factsheet and FAQs.

Business rate reliefs

Business rate relief and grants have been announced for retail, hospitality, leisure businesses and child-care nursery businesses. No business rates are payable for 2020/21.

Rates relief and grants are also available for businesses paying little or no business rates - for example, 100% relief for businesses in England with a rateable value up to £12,000.

Extend your filing date

Apply for a three-month extension to file your accounts with Companies House.

Claim protection from eviction

Commercial tenants who cannot make their rent payments are protected from being evicted for missing a rent payment for the next three months.

Mortgage repayment holiday for residential landlords

Claim a three-month mortgage payment holiday if rent cannot be paid.

Help for exporters

Exporters can get help from UK Export Finance's Export Working Capital Scheme and other support measures (see section 2.1).

Assistance with redundancy payments

Redundancy payments financial assistance may be available from the Redundancy Payments Service, in limited situations.

Other support

Sector-relevant information from is available from several organisations. For example:

UK Hospitality has explained how pubs can become hot food takeaways without needing planning permission.

The Association of Convenience Stores has guidance on home delivery services.

National and local small business organisations (eg Chambers of Commerce) have advice too. If your business is involved in the charity sector, a key website is The National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

All sorts of regulations, licences, fees and deadlines have been relaxed, so it is also worth looking at the GOV.UK website and your local council website.

Rules and support vary depending on where your business is based:

Most high street banks are offering support packages, including repayment holidays and dropping fees, eg Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds (including this guide), NatWest, Santander, TSB.

Association of British Insurers (ABI) has produced Business insurance FAQs, on issues including cover for business interruption due to a 'notifiable or infectious disease'. However, most commercial insurance policies (including for denial of access) are highly unlikely to cover COVID-19.

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