Just thinking about how much the government has forked out during the COVID-19 crisis is scary; never mind hearing the numbers (it was £284 billion at the end of 2020, just FYI). But the funny thing about the economy is that you have to borrow to build.
Small businesses have relied on government-backed financial support this past year, with schemes such as the Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme keeping them afloat. However, the time has come to tighten eligibility, so these came to end as of March 31st.
The wounds of the pandemic are still being felt for many, so the question is then, what help is available to get through this next stage?
What are your needs?
Before you look at the options available, it’s worth thinking about what will be the most beneficial to you. Do you need immediate short-term support or medium-term financing? Will a one-off payment be enough or will you need finance again at some stage in the near future?
Once you know what your needs are, you can look at what new financial support schemes are available and choose the one that suits you best.
- The Recovery Loan Scheme – replaces the loan schemes that have just closed, and the government will guarantee up to 80% of loans from £25,000 to £10m. The scheme is open until 31st December 2021.
- Restart Grant Scheme – a £5bn fund set up for non-essential retailers and hospitality and leisure businesses. If eligible, they could receive grants of up to £6,000 and £18,000 respectively, per premises.
- Business rates relief – businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Check eligibility here.
- Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – to claim the fourth grant, you must be a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership. You also have to show evidence that supports a reduction in business activity, capacity, demand or inability to trade due to Coronavirus between 1st February 2021 and 30th April 2021. The 4th grant can be claimed up to 1 June 2021, for further details: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme . A further 5th grant will cover the period May to September 2021 and further details are awaited.
Keep yourself informed & seek advice
2021 is looking better than 2020, but it’s still a rough road ahead. Especially for businesses. To help plan for an uncertain future, always keep up to date with announcements, check the Gov.uk website, and always consult your financial advisor for advice before applying for a scheme.
For more information or to discuss any issues raised above please contact Simon Bell by phone on 01376 571358 or email [email protected] . This article is written in general terms and therefore cannot be relied on to cover specific situations; applications of the principles set out will depend on the particular circumstances involved and it is recommended that you take professional advice before acting or refraining from acting on any material in this article.