Now we are a few weeks into lockdown, several of the support schemes that the government announced have now been implemented. If you run a business but have yet to receive support under any of these schemes, check the details below. 

Rates grants

All businesses with premises eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rates Relief are due a grant of £10,000. If you are in retail, hospitality or leisure, then you are potentially eligible for a grant of up to £25,000. 

Funds for this have been provided to councils, but unclear guidance from government has meant some variation of implementation of the scheme. Hastings Council have been contacting eligible business rate payers to make online applications. If you believe you have an eligible business in Hastings, you can apply for the grant here. 

For those of our readers not located in Hastings, you can check the appropriate local council by entering your postcode here The district council site arising from this search should have details for your area. 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

This scheme is intended to cover wages for employees where a business has no work for them during the lockdown. It covers 80% of normal wages, plus the associated Employer’s National Insurance and Employer’s Pension Contributions. 

It has been possible to make applications under this scheme since 20 April 2020. Before the scheme was implemented, it was stated that payments would be made within 6 days of application. This promise has been carried through, with repayments being made promptly under the scheme. 

If you have an accountant that prepares payroll for you, then they should be able to make a claim on your behalf. Given the work involved, it is possible they will charge a fee for doing this. Alternatively you can make the claim online yourself. You will need to register a business tax account for PAYE Online to do this. If you do not have an online business tax account already, you can create on online here. These would normally require a code to be sent by post before they can be used, but the system is currently set up so that they work immediately. 

Loan Schemes

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has been in place for several weeks now. The government guarantess 80% of the loan value under this scheme and also covers interest and fees for the first 12 months. There were some initial problems with businesses obtaining loans under this scheme, with banks demanding financial information and personal guarantees in as similar way to ordinary loans. The government contacted banks about these issues, and these loans should now be easier to obtain. 

A new scheme has recently been introduced. Called the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), this is intended to help businesse get back to full capacity once the lockdown is over. The maximum loan under this scheme is £50,000 (capped at 25% of business turnover if lower) and there are a number of other qualification criteria. The earliest application date for this new scheme is 4 May 2020. If a business would be eligible for BBLS but has already applied for CBILS can get them converted. As these loans will be 100% guaranteed by the government and there will be a 12 month automatic capital repayment holiday (only optional under CBILS) BBLS are likely to be cheaper.

Not all lenders will offer both schemes. You should contact your bank to see what loan schemes they can offer. 

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