Through two previous nationwide lockdowns, local restrictions and the tier system, many businesses have struggled to get off the ground since the pandemic first struck in March 2020. The latest news of a third national lockdown will likely leave many with more money worries, which is why the Government has today (January 5th) announced a new packet of funding, in addition to schemes introduced in 2020.

 

So, what support is available for your business during this time?

 

Grants for retail, hospitality and leisure

 

With venues such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants and swimming pools closed for the foreseeable future, the latest support scheme to be introduced is a grant to support those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

 

It is hoped that the grants, which will be worth up to £9,000 per property and be made available by local authorities, will give some reassurance to business owners with concerns of staying afloat if closed until the Spring.

 

The one-off funding will be granted to closed businesses as follows:

  • £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 over £51,000

 

Discretionary fund

 

As part of the additional funding set out today (January 5th), the Chancellor also announced a new £594m discretionary fund to be made available for councils to support other businesses that are not eligible for the above grants, but are still affected by the lockdown restrictions.

 

Furlough scheme

 

This time last year, many of us had never used the word furlough – fast forward 12 months, and it’s been the most popular funding scheme offered by the Government.

 

Now – to use its formal name – the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until April 30th, 2021 to continue supporting firms struggling to pay staff wages. The scheme allows companies to place employees on furlough and apply for a grant to cover a portion of their usual monthly wages.

 

Employers can currently claim for 80 per cent of an employee’s usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, for team members who were employed on or before October 30th, 2020. For full guidance on eligibility and how to claim, visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.

 

Business loans

 

Originally introduced during the first lockdown, business loans such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Bounce Back Loan helped firms of all sizes survive during restrictions. Both have now been extended until the end of March 2021.

 

The CBILS helps small and medium-sized businesses access loans and other kind of finance up to £5 million. The Government guarantees 80 per cent of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months. Several well-known, respected banks are now signed up as lenders for the scheme.

 

The Bounce Back Loan also supports small and medium-sized businesses adversely affected by Covid-19 by helping them borrow between £2,000 and up to 25 per cent of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000. The Government guarantees 100 per cent of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be set at 2.5 per cent a year.

 

If you already have a Bounce Back Loan but borrowed less than you were entitled to, you can still top up your existing loan – but these requests must be made by January 31st, 2021.

 

If you need support accessing grants during this time, speak to our team on 01642 244090 or email info@chuhanandsingh.co.uk.