Coronavirus: Grants and Financial Help for Small Businesses
The recent Coronavirus pandemic has seen businesses experience unprecedented financial struggles as they try to balance new government legislation, changes to the work environment and a wide-spread decline in cash flow.
While the hospitality, retail and leisure industries have undoubtedly taken the hardest hit, many small businesses, such as legal and accountancy firms, have also been struck by the quickly-changing consumer and client attitudes. The need for emergency financial help and government grants to support small and medium businesses through the COVID-19 crisis has been at the forefront of discussions in the last fortnight. The government has responded to the rising insecurity by promising upcoming grants and financial help for small businesses struggling to survive during the Coronavirus lockdown. As experts in finance and tax, CapEx Associates have put together this quick review of the latest financial support available to businesses in the UK.
What is the confirmed financial help for small businesses during the Coronavirus?
The government has approved a list of temporary, targeted measures to support public services and businesses through the challenging COVID-19 times. These include:
1. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
This scheme will allow employers to furlough employees, and the government will pay 80% of their monthly contracted salary. The payments can be backdated to March 1st, to protect the workforce and small businesses from having to make their employees redundant, due to financial instability. Once furloughed and put on the scheme, the employees should not be actively working and supporting the business. Applications for the scheme are expected to open in April.
2. 12-month business rates holiday
All retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England will be eligible for this holiday and will be exempt from business rates for the whole year.
3. Small Business Grant
This grant will be available for small businesses based in England. The business will need to be in receipt of either small business rate relief (SBRR) and/or rural rate relief (RRR), including tapered relief. Businesses that occupy a property in the local rating list will also be eligible. Businesses fitting the above-mentioned criteria, with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. Funds will be distributed by your local city council, so if you believe your business is eligible for the Coronavirus Small Business Grand, please visit your local council’s website for more information on how to claim.
4. Grants for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure
The second business grant scheme introduced by the government will be split into two sub-schemes, depending on the rateable value of the business.
£10,000 will be available to claim for retail, hospitality or leisure businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less. These grants will be available depending on the number of premises a business occupies - one grant per premise, so if your business has multiple venues/shops you might be able to claim for more.
£25,000 will be given to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value of greater than £15,000 but less than £51,000. Again, it will be one grant per premises.
However, it is important to note any businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 and over will not qualify for these government grants.
To check your business rateable value, refer to a previous bill or check via the Valuation Office Agency.
5. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
For small to medium businesses (SMEs), which have been losing revenue due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the government has introduced financial help through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). The loan scheme will be available through 40+ lenders accredited by the British Business Bank and can support businesses with facilities of up to £5 million. The loan will be available on repayment terms of up to six years. Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply on the official British Business Bank website.
What other funds and grants are available for small businesses in the UK?
Apart from the Coronavirus financial help and grants available for UK businesses, there are also other grants and support available permanently for businesses to help them further their company. If your business is currently in need of a cash influx, CapEx Associates can help you find out how to meet the criteria and access these funds. Below are just some of the business grants available to UK Businesses:
1. Regional Growth Fund
For funding of under 1 million, the Regional Growth Fund could be the right support for your growing business. To have this grant awarded, your business must be able to demonstrate a growth plan, create or protect jobs, invest in private capital and be based in England. To access this scheme, your business will need to apply through specific organisations, which have been awarded funding to offer grants/loans to eligible businesses.
2. Government Grants for small businesses
There are a number of government grants available for small businesses in the UK. They will be available on a regional basis, usually either by the UK government, Northern Ireland Assembly, Scottish Parliament or the Welsh Assembly. Each scheme is different and has its own application process, which is why it’s advisable to use the services of a specialist when applying for these business grants.
3. Startup Loans
Though you are probably not considering starting a new business in the current economic climate, if you have been trading for less than a year and your business has felt the blow of the Coronavirus lockdown, a Startup Loan might be able to provide that additional help you need to recover and continue trading. The average loan size will be £6000 and you’ll also receive mentorship and guidance from financial advisers, which can be invaluable for your business to compete on the post-Coronavirus market.
Stamp Duty Land Tax Refund to Help Your Business
If you have paid stamp duty on a commercial property, your business could be eligible for a Stamp Duty Land Tax Refund (SDLT Refund). Being able to claim Stamp Duty Land Tax refund could provide some much-needed cash flow and financial support for your business during the challenging times of COVID-19. Overpaid stamp duty is fairly common, as many solicitors, lawyers, accountants and small businesses are not aware of the tax specifications, and could be missing out on important details. Several cases of overpaid stamp duty are possible, such as when the 3% surcharge on additional dwellings does not apply to your business, or when the business has made a corporate property purchase over £500,000. To find out whether your business could be eligible for an SDLT refund it is best to contact tax refund specialists, as they will be able to review your business and advise on an individual basis, using years of experience in dealing with corporate finance.
If your UK business needs help or support when applying for business grants, financial help or Stamp Duty Land Tax refunds, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with CapEx Associates.