Coronavirus-related loans, grants and finance for businesses
Here we've summarised the various loans, grants and finance being made available to businesses affected by the pandemic.
Updated 11 February 2021
In addition to the points on this page, there are also various deferrals of tax payment deadlines and reliefs currently in place. For a comprehensive list of support measures which have been introduced to support businesses in the current climate, see here.
What's new on 11 February - see the relevant section below:
Bounce Back Loan Repayments
The Chancellor has announced that his Pay as You Grow scheme is now operational. Announced in September, this enables bounce back loan borrowers to delay repayments by extra six months, extend the length of the loan or make interest-only payments for six months.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Through this Scheme the Government made grants available to businesses to cover 80% of the wages for employees not working, up to £2,500 a month. The grants were backdated to 1st March.
The Scheme had closed to new entrants from 30 June. Employers had until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June. From 1 July, employers could bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern, while still being able to claim the grant for the hours not worked. From this date, only employees that employers have successfully claimed a previous grant for will be eligible for more grants under the scheme.
From 1 August 2020, the level of Government grant provided through the Scheme was slowly tapered to reflect people returning to work. It followed this timeline:
June and July 2020: The Government paid 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions. Employers were not required to pay anything.
August 2020: The Government paid 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers paid ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represented 5% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
September 2020: The Government paid 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers paid ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represented 14% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
October 2020: The Government paid 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers paid ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represented 23% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed
The Job Retention Scheme from 1 November 2020
The extended Job Retention scheme is running from 1 November 2020. Originally announced to end on 31 March 2021, this was then extended in December to close on 30 April 2021. See here. The version of the Scheme running since November generally operates as the previous one did. Businesses are paid upfront to cover wages costs. The level of the grant has reverted to the amount available under the Scheme in August.
This means the Government pays 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions only for the hours the employee does not work.
Similarities to the previous Job Retention Scheme
Both flexible and full-time furloughing will be allowed. Employees can be on any type of contract and employers will be able to agree any working arrangements with employees. Employers are still able to choose to top up employee wages above the Scheme grant at their own expense if they wish.
Employers can claim the grant for the hours their employees are not working, calculated by reference to their usual hours worked in a claim period. These calculations are expected to broadly follow the same methodology as the previous Scheme.
When claiming the Job Retention Scheme grant for furloughed hours, employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of 7 consecutive calendar days. They will need to report hours worked and the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period. For worked hours, employees will be paid by their employer subject to their employment contract and employers will be responsible for paying the tax and NICs due on those amounts.
Agents, like accountants and tax advisers, are still permitted to process claims on a client's behalf.
Differences in this new version of the Scheme:
- There is no requirement for employers to have previously furloughed employees they now want to include in the Scheme.
- Employees who were previously excluded, as they were not included in a payroll RTI submission before 19 March 2020, can now be brought into the scheme provided they were included in a payroll RTI submission before midnight on 30th October 2020.
This should mean mean all employees included on a payroll in September 2020 are eligible and, provided the RTI submission for the October payroll was made on or before 30 October, new employees who started in that month can be included. If the October RTI submission was submitted on or after 31 October 2020 or has not yet been submitted by an employer, their new starters in October will not be eligible for the scheme.
Is the Scheme open to your organisation?
The Job Retention Scheme from 1 November is open to all employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes. Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the Scheme.
The Government expects that publicly funded organisations will not use the Scheme, as has already been the case, but partially publicly funded organisations may be eligible where their private revenues have been disrupted.
All other eligibility requirements apply to these employers. This means the Scheme is open to:
- recruitment agencies (agency workers paid through PAYE)
- public authorities
Where a company is being taken under the management of an administrator, the administrator will be able to access the Job Retention Scheme.
The Scheme is applicable to company directors. They too can be furloughed and still continue to perform their obligations as a statutory director (provided they don’t provide any executive services to their employer). Salaried individuals who are directors of their own personal service company (PSC) can also benefit from the Scheme. This is expected to help freelancers, contractors etc who have a limited company. See more information here
How and when to claim
Employers will need their Government Gateway user ID and password they received when they registered for PAYE online. If you do not finish your claim in one session, you can save a draft. You must, however, complete your claim within seven days of starting it.
All claims for periods from 1 July 2020 to 31 October 2020 had to be submitted by 30 November 2020.
Claims from 1 November 2020 must be submitted by 11.59pm 14 calendar days after the month you’re claiming for. If this time falls on the weekend then claims should be submitted on the next working day. See this timetable published by the Government:
|Claim for furlough days in:||Claim must have been submitted by:|
|November 2020||14 December 2020|
|December 2020||14 January 2021|
|January 2021||15 February 2021|
|February 2021||15 March 2021|
|March 2021||14 April 2021|
|April 2021||14 May 2021|
Job Support Scheme - postponed
In his Winter Economy Plan statement, the Chancellor announced a replacement for Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in the form of the Job Support Scheme (JSS). Given the Job Retention Scheme has now been extended till 30 April 2021, the Job Support Scheme is unlikely to be introduced until Spring 2021. For more information about what had been intended for the Scheme see here.
Job Retention Bonus - cancelled
In his Summer Statement, the Chancellor announced a Job Retention Bonus would be introduced to encourage employers to support those people who have been furloughed. The Job Retention Bonus was intended to give a one-off payment of £1,000 to UK employers for every previously furloughed employee who remained continuously employed through to the end of January 2021.
On 5 November the Chancellor extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) till 31 March 2021 and as a result cancelled the introduction of the Job Retention Bonus Scheme scheduled for February 2021. The CJRS' closing date was extended further in December and will now close on 30 April 2021.
For details on what had been planned for the Scheme, see here
Business and sector-specific grants
Note: The following grants may only apply to businesses in England, as they are connected to business rates. Rates in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are set by their devolved administrations.
Top up grants for businesses affected by the January 2021 national lockdown
On 5 January 2021, the Chancellor announced a further grant support package to help businesses affected by the Govermnent's national lockdown restrictions from 5 January 2021. This includes:
- one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring
- a £594 million discretionary fund also made available to support other impacted businesses
These measures are in addition to the previously announced further discretionary grant funding for Local Authorities, the Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month and the extension of the furlough scheme.
The one-off top-ups 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 of over £51,000
These sums relate to businesses in England, however the devolved administrations will receive additional funding to also provide similar support measures.
Local Restrictions Support Grant Schemes
After November's lock-down the Government announced 3 new grant schemes for those businesses affected by the Coronavirus restrictions. The grants from these schemes are distributed by Local Authorities. The grants are still available for those businesses facing restrictions under the lockdown measures.
- The Local Restrictions Support Grant (for open businesses) - LRSG (Open) - supports businesses that have been severely impacted due to temporary local restrictions. It is for businesses that have not had to close, but which have been severely impacted due to local restrictions (Local COVID alert levels: High or Very High). Eligible businesses may be entitled to a cash grant from their local council for each 14 day period under local restrictions. The level of grant is based on the rateable value of the business property on the date of the start of the local restrictions. For more information, including eligibility criteria and how to apply see here
- The Local Restrictions Support Grant (for closed businesses) - LRSG (Closed) - supports businesses that were required to close between 5 November and 2 December 2020 due to the national restrictions imposed by government.. Eligible businesses may be entitled to a cash grant from their local council for each 28 day period they are closed. Similar to the grant for open businesses, the level of grant is based on the rateable value of the business property on the first full day of restrictions - see the different levels of grants here. For more information, including eligibility criteria and how to apply see here.
- The Additional Restrictions Grant - this grant supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes or where additional funding is needed. In particular, it's deisgned to give support to closed businesses that do not directly pay business rates as well as businesses that do not have to close but which are impacted. It also enables Local Authorities to make larger grants than those stipulated in LRSG (Closed). For more information see here.
A new Christmas Support Payment was instigated by the Government for wet-led pubs (those that predominantly serve alcohol rather than provide food) and have been severely impacted over the festive season due to temporary local restrictions. Eligible businesses may be entitled to a one-off cash grant of £1,000 from their local council in areas under Tier 2 or Tier 3 local restrictions. For more information and eligibility criteria see here. Note: The closing deadline for applications for this Christmas Support Payment has been extended to 28 February 2021.
Job creation grants
On 8 July, the Chancellor's Summer Statement included a number of grants designed to encourage job creation and protection - particularly for young people.
The Kickstart Scheme was created to provide high quality six-month work placements for those aged 16-24, who are on Universal Credit and considered to be at risk of long-term unemployment.
Government funding for each job covers 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week plus the associated employer NICs and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions (a maximum of about £6,500). See more information here.
There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.
Funding is available following a successful application process. Previously, employers could only apply directly for a minimum of 30 job placements. Smaller organisations had to partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number and organisations, like Chambers of Commerces, co-ordinated partnerships to help these businesses utilise the scheme.
From 3 February 2021 the system changes, with the Government removing the minimum requirement of 30 vacancies for businesses to apply directly. To ensure all job placements continue to be of a high quality, the Government intends to apply rigorous checks on training support and finances. See here.
Employers can also choose to apply through a Kickstart gateway, including those supporting sole traders. Kickstart gateways already working with the scheme can continue to add more employers and job placements to their grant agreement.
Information about applying for the grant can be found here.
Employers who provide work experience for 16-24-year-olds in work placements and training will receive a payment of £1,000 per trainee. Provision of traineeships and eligibility for them will be extended to those with Level 3 qualifications and below, to ensure that more young people have access to training. Detail regarding the grant has yet to be published. For more information see here.
Payments for employers who hire new apprentices
Employers in England will receive a new payment of £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over.
The scheme will run from 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. These payments will be made in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the Government already provides for new 16-18-year-old apprentices, and any of those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan. More detail about the Scheme is expected from the Government. In the meantime, see here.
The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme
In Autumn 2020 the Chancellor announced the SEISS was to be extended from 1 November 2020, in the form of two new grants (known as the third and fourth grants, given the previous two already distributed since Spring 2020). The third and fourth grants would be available for three month periods covering:
- November 2020 to January 2021 and
- February 2021 to April 2021.
The Governmen't third taxable grant covered 80% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500.
The grant had been increased from the previously announced level of 40% of trading profits to 80% of trading profits, for 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021.
The scheme’s current terms are:
- The latest SEISS grants are only be available to self-employed individuals who were eligible for the past scheme, who are actively continuing to trade but are facing reduced demand due to Covid-19.
- The two taxable grants are paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period. The first grant covered the three-month period from 1 November 2020 until 31 January 2021.
- The Government provided a taxable grant covering 80% of average past profit for the 3 months to 31 January 2021 to a maximum of £7,500.
- The fourth grant will cover a three-month period from 1 February 2021 until 30 April 2021. The Government will review the level of the fourth grant and set this in due course.
The grants are subject to income tax and National Insurance contributions, but do not need to be repaid. Recipients are warned to be mindful of when the tax is due on the various grants - see this article.
Note: the closing date for claims of the third SEISS grant has now passed (29 January 2021). Details about the fourth grant will be announced by the Government on 3 March 2021.
Find out more about the SEISS here
Eligibility criteria for the Scheme:
The Scheme is open to a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership if:
they have been previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme first and second grant (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
their business has had a new or continuing impact from coronavirus between 1 November 2020 and 29 January 2021.
For more eligibility criteria see here
How to claim
The online service for the next (fourth) grant is not yet open.
Note: as was the case with the previous two grants, it'a self-employed person's accountant, tax agent or adviser cannot make the third and fourth claim on their behalf. A self-employed person must make the claim themself. Do get in touch with your Shipleys contact for advice ahead of making the submission.
If people have only just started out as a self-employed person and haven’t completed a tax return yet, they will not be able to benefit from the Scheme and are directed to make use of the new welfare arrangements, such as Universal Credit. See here
Loans and finance
In December the Chancellor announced that the closing date for the Government’s three Coronavirus business interruption loan schemes would be extended further to 31 March 2021. This extended the previously scheduled closing date of 31 January 2021. See here.
The Future Fund
The £500 million Future Fund is delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank. It provides UK-based companies with between £125,000 and £5 million from the Government, with private investors at least matching the Government commitment. The loans will automatically convert into equity on the company’s next qualifying funding round, or at the end of the loan if they are not repaid.
To be eligible, a business must satisfy these criteria:
- it is UK-incorporated - if your business is part of a corporate group, only the parent company is eligible
- it has raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last 5 years
- none of its shares are traded on a regulated market, multilateral trading facility or other listing venue
- it was incorporated on or before 31 December 2019
- at least one of the following is true:
- half or more employees are UK-based
- half or more revenues are from UK sales
To find out more from the British Business Bank and to apply, see here
On the 30 June 2020 the Government announced that more firms could now benefit from the Future Fund. In particular, companies which have participated in accelerator programmes are now eligible for scheme - see here.
The Future Fund is due to close to applications on 31 January 2021.
Targeted support for innovative small and medium-sized businesses via Innovate UK
The £750 million of targeted support for the most R&D intensive small and medium size firms is now available through Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme. Innovate UK, the national innovation agency, is accelerating up to £200 million of grant and loan payments for its 2,500 existing customers on an opt-in basis. (Note: continuity grants are available until 29 May 2020). Find out more here.
An extra £550 million will also be made available to increase support for existing customers and £175,000 of support will be offered to around 1,200 firms not currently in receipt of Innovate UK funding. The first payments will be made by mid-May. This package builds on the Government’s existing support for innovative, high-growth firms including:
- The £2.5 billion British Patient Capital fund
- The upcoming £200 million Life Sciences Investment Programme
- R&D tax reliefs
Sustainable Innovation Fund
On 27 June the Government announced a new Sustainable Innovation Fund. This £200m fund from the Government is open to companies across the UK who need urgent financial support to keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive. See here.
This funding, delivered through Innovate UK, forms part of the wider £750 million package of grants and loans announced in April to support innovative firms. It sits alongside the £500 million Future Fund (see above). Businesses can apply for support through the Sustainable Innovation Fund by visiting the Innovate UK website from Monday 29 June. See here
Business Interruption Loans
Government-backed loan support for businesses is currently delivered through four routes:
- Business Bounce Back Loan Scheme - Small businesses can borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The loans will be interest free for the first 12 months. View more information here.
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) for small to medium sized businesses, the Government will provide loans of up to £5m per business with no interest for 12 months. The British Business Bank has outlined more details of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) along with answers to frequently asked questions. View it here.
- Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) for larger businesses with a turnover of more than £45m impacted by COVID-19. This will be delivered through commercial lenders, with a Government guarantee of 80%. View more information here
- The Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) for large firms - the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies. This will support a company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow it to finance its short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.
The Business Bounce Back Loan Scheme
This loan scheme was designed to help small and medium-sized businesses borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The Government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.
Under the original BBLS arrangements, the borrower did not have to make any repayments for the first 12 months, with the government covering the first 12 months’ interest payments. The maximum loan repayment term was six years. At the end of September, the Chancellor announced under new ‘Pay as You Grow’ options for BBLS that:
- New and existing borrowers will have the option to repay their loan over a period of up to ten years.
- UK businesses will also have the option to move temporarily to interest-only payments for periods of up to six months. This option can be used up to three times.
Alternatively, businesses can pause their repayments entirely for up to six months, although this option is only available after six payments have been made and can be used just once.
On 8 February 2021, the Government announced that lenders will begin reaching out to borrowers to provide information on repayment schedules, and how to access the flexible repayment options. Lenders will directly inform their customers of Pay As You Grow, and borrowers should only expect correspondence before their first repayments are due.
Qualification criteria for the BBLS
You can apply for a loan if your business:
- is based in the UK
- has been negatively affected by coronavirus
- was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019
- is not in bankruptcy, liquidation or undergoing debt restructuring
You are not eligible to apply if your business:
- is a bank, insurer or reinsurer (but not an insurance broker)
- a public-sector body
- a further-education establishment, if you are grant-funded
- a state-funded primary or secondary school
- if you have secured funding from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - however, If you’ve already received a loan of up to £50,000 under the CBILS and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020.
Note: the Business Bounce Back Loan Scheme is now due to close to new applicants on 31 March 2021. See here.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
Details of the loan assistance can be viewed here and the lenders who are signed up for the Scheme can be viewed here. The British Business Bank has published this eligibility check for SMEs to complete ahead of contacting one of the lenders. View it here.
At the end of September, the Chancellor announced CBILS lenders will be allowed to extend the term of a loan up to ten years, while retaining the benefit of the 80% government guarantee.
In summary, to be eligible for a facility under CBILS, a small business (SME) must:
- Be UK-based in its business activity
- Have an annual turnover of no more than £45 million
- Have a borrowing proposal which the lender would consider viable, were it not for the current pandemic
- Self-certify that it has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Importantly, access to the Scheme has opened up to smaller businesses facing cashflow difficulties who previously would not have been eligible for CBILS because they met the requirements for a standard commercial facility. Businesses are encouraged to re-contact their lenders if they have previously been unsuccessful in securing funding.
Businesses will now need to apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) by 31 March 2021. See here.
The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)
The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) provides a Government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of 25% of a company's annual turnover up to a maximum of £200million.
The CLBILS is offered through a list of accredited lenders listed on the British Business Bank website. Facilities backed by a guarantee under CLBILS are offered at commercial rates of interest.The Government will provide lenders with an 80% guarantee on individual loans for businesses that would be otherwise unable to access the finance they need.
The elibility criteria is as follows::
- the business must be based in the UK
- the business has an annual turnover of over £45 million
- the business has not received a facility under the Bank of England’s COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (see below)
A business will also need to demonstrate
- it would be viable were it not for the pandemic
- it has been affected by coronavirus
- the loan will enable it to trade out of any short-term to medium-term difficulty resulting from coronavirus
- If you’re borrowing more than £50 million you must agree to restrictions on dividend payments, senior pay and share buy-backs during the period of the loan. Check the eligibility requirements.
- Lenders will need further information to confirm eligibility. All lending decisions remain fully delegated to the accredited lenders.
Businesses from any sector can apply, except for the following:
- banks and building societies
- insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
- public-sector organisations, including state-funded primary and secondary schools. Note: since 4 May 2020 further education establishments are eligible for the scheme.
For more information and to apply, see here.
Businesses will now need to apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) by 31 March 2021. See here
Eligibility for the Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF)
For larger businesses, details of the eligibility criteria for the Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) can be found here
The Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility will remain open until 22 March 2021. Where a company has exhausted all other options, and is of strategic importance to the UK, the government may also consider providing bespoke financial support.
On 9 October 2020 the Treasury introduced a new access review process for the CCFF. The Treasury will continue to assess the credit quality of firms in the CCFF and will now ask firms to provide an up to date credit rating when requesting financing from the scheme. Where the firm’s credit rating has dropped below investment grade, the Treasury will ask for additional information before deciding the appropriate level of support. Find out more here and here
Support for Exporters
The Government has released guidance for UK businesses trading internationally. See more here
In particular, financial support is available through UK Export Finance (UKEF). This organisation works with banks and insurance brokers to help companies of all sizes fulfil and get paid for export contracts. It provides guarantees, loans and insurance on behalf of the Government that can protect UK exporters facing delayed payments or transit restrictions.
Help from UKEF includes:
- Disruption due to late payments - UKEF can help businesses ease cash flow constraints by guaranteeing bank loans through its Export Working Capital Scheme
- Concerns about getting paid - UKEF offers an export insurance policy that can help you recover the costs of fulfilling an order that is terminated by events outside your control
- Raising finance - UKEF can also support finance for overseas buyers through the Direct Lending Facility Scheme, so they can continue to buy your goods and services
- Exporting to China - UKEF has over £4 billion of capacity to support UK firms exporting to China, as well as significant capacity across other markets affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to help cover these risks.
To find out if UKEF covers your region, email email@example.com
Other financing measures
In addition to the Government support, other lenders are initiating financing options to help businesses in areas such as spreading the cost of equipment purchases, short-term loans, finance against unpaid loans etc.
One particular resource we recommend is Capitalise. This is a a platform where businesses can find, compare and select the right lender in a matter of minutes. As well as finding lenders who specialise in your industry, you’ll also find lenders most likely to give you an offer.
Captilalise cover finance for a wide range of areas including asset finance (funding for any asset), invoice finance (using your invoices to get funding), merchant cash advance (using your credit card transactions to get funding), trade finance (paying for goods based on an order), working capital loans (to finance everyday operations) and property finance (to gain access to bridging loans, development and commercial finance).
Capitalise have also produced a good overview of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans - read it here.
Also talk to one of our team for introductions to other providers of finance.
Summary and can we help?
We will continue to monitor the announcements from the Government and update this page as new grants and funding sources emerge. In the meantime, please do get in touch with your usual Shipleys’ contact if you need any further advice or call one of our offices.
London: +44 (0)20 7312 0000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Godalming: +44 (0)1483 423607 or email email@example.com
Specific advice should be obtained before taking action, or refraining from taking action, in relation to this summary. If you would like advice or further information, please speak to your usual Shipleys contact.
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