It’s been a tricky 12 months and cashflow has been tight for many businesses. Knowing what you are eligible for is a great way of protecting your business and ensuring you are as financially robust as possible. And the starting point for this is to access all of the available support and funding from the Government.

So, what is available to you? The support is being updated and there is likely to be a further announcement in the Budget on 3 March 2021. At the time of writing this guide in late January, this is the support available.

SUPPORT FOR EMPLOYERS

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

What is it?

The “furlough” scheme helps fund wages for staff who are not required by the business during coronavirus due to reduced trading. Furlough can also be used to pay staff who are unable to work due to childcare requirements.

Who is eligible?

Any employer with a UK, Isle of Man or Channel Island bank account, and a UK PAYE scheme can claim furlough.

The furlough can cover any employee who was employed on 30 October 2020, and had been included on a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between 20 March and 30 October 2020.

How much can I get?

The Government will fund 80% of an employee’s usual salary for the hours that they don’t work. If they work part of the month, you will pay for the hours that they do work and claim furlough for the hours that they don’t.

The maximum claim is £2,500 per month for each employee furloughed.

You must still pay any Employers National Insurance and Pension contributions.

How do I claim?

You claim online at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Is there a deadline?

The scheme is currently intended to run until 30 April 2021.

Claims are made monthly. The deadline for each month’s claim is the 14th of the following month. For example, claims for furlough days in January 2021 must be claimed by 14 February 2021.

Statutory Sick Pay

What is it?

The Government will pay up to 2 weeks of SSP for anyone who is off sick due to coronavirus.

Who is eligible?

Any business who had a PAYE scheme on or before 28 February 2020, and had less than 250 employees in the scheme on that date.

The scheme covers employees unable to work because they have coronavirus, or because they are self-isolating or shielding.

How much can I get?

2 weeks of SSP for any employee unable to work due to coronavirus.

How do I claim?

You can claim online at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-your-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

Is there a deadline?

There is not currently a deadline.

SUPPORT FOR PAYING TAXES

Deferring VAT payments

What is it?

All businesses were allowed to defer VAT due to be paid between 1 April and 30 June 2020. At the time, it was announced that this VAT must be paid by 31 March 2021.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, this VAT can now be spread across 11 equal monthly instalments, with the final instalment to be paid by 31 January 2022. There will be no penalties or interest charged.

Who is eligible?

All businesses who deferred VAT in 2020. However, you are only eligible if you are up to date with your VAT returns.

How much can I get?

There’s no grant – it’s simply an offer to defer your VAT payments from Summer 2020 and spread them over 11 months.

How do I claim?

You will need to opt in via your Government Gateway before 31 March 2021. The process to opt in is not yet open.

Is there a deadline?

The deadline to opt in is 31 March 2021. The deadline to pay the final instalment is 31 January 2022.

Deferring other taxes

Although there are no defined schemes, you can negotiate a Time to Pay agreement with HMRC to spread the payments of any taxes. There will be no penalties but interest will be charged.

SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES CLOSED DURING LOCKDOWN

Local Restrictions Support Grant

What is it?

An ongoing payment while you are closed during Lockdown.

Who is eligible?

A business that:

  • is based in England
  • occupies property on which it pays business rates (and is the ratepayer)
  • has been required to close because of the national restrictions from 5 January 2021 onwards, or between 5 November and 2 December 2020
  • has been unable to provide its usual in-person customer service from its premises
  • is not in administration, insolvent or in the process of being struck off the Companies House register

For example, this could include non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities, tourism and hospitality businesses. It could also include businesses that operate primarily as an in-person venue, but which have been forced to close those services and provide a takeaway-only service instead.

Eligible businesses can get one grant for each non-domestic property.

How much can I get?

The amount depends on your rateable value and is based on 42-day periods where the restrictions are in place.

  • Rateable value of up to £15,000 – £2,001 for each 42-day period
  • Rateable value of £15,001 to £50,999 – £3,000 for each 42-day period
  • Rateable value of £51,000 and over – £4,500 for each 42-day period

How do I claim?

The grant is being paid by local councils, so the claim is via your local council’s website.

Is there a deadline?

There is no stated deadline, but claim as soon as possible.

Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment

What is it?

An one-off payment for businesses closed during Lockdown.

Who is eligible?

The eligibility criteria are the same as the Local Restrictions Support Grant for closed businesses.

Eligible businesses can get one grant for each non-domestic property.

How much can I get?

The amount depends on your rateable value and is a one-off payment.

  • Rateable value of up to £15,000 – £4,000
  • Rateable value of £15,001 to £50,999 – £6,000
  • Rateable value of £51,000 and over – £9,000

How do I claim?

The grant is being paid by local councils, so the claim is via your local council’s website.

Is there a deadline?

There is no stated deadline, but claim as soon as possible.

SUPPORT FOR HOSPITALITY BUSINESSES

Most support is covered by the grants for closed businesses above. However, there is an extra grant for pubs that were closed over the Christmas period.

Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs

What is it?

A one-off payment for pubs that were forced to close over Christmas.

Who is eligible?

Your pub may be eligible if you:

  • are based in England
  • derive less than 50% of your sales from food
  • are in an area subject to Tier 2 or Tier 3 local restrictions since 2 December 2020
  • were established in the pub before 1 December 2020

How much can I get?

A one-off payment of £1,000.

How do I claim?

The grant is being paid by local councils, so the claim is via your local council’s website.

Is there a deadline?

It does depend on your council. Liverpool City Council’s deadline is 31 January 2021.

SUPPORT FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

What is it?

Ongoing payments to cover lost earnings for the Self-Employed. The scheme has been paid in 3-monthly instalments – the 3rd grant is currently available to cover 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021. There will be a 4th grant for 1 February to 30 April 2021.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for the third grant you must be a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership. You cannot claim the grant if you trade through a limited company or a trust.

If you claim Maternity Allowance this will not affect your eligibility for the grant.

You must have traded in both tax years:

  • 2018 to 2019 and submitted your Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year
  • 2019 to 2020

You must either:

You must also declare that:

  • you intend to continue to trade
  • you reasonably believe there will be a significant reduction in your trading profits

How much can I get?

The grant will cover 80% of your average trading profits. This will be based on your taxable profits for the tax years ended 5 April 2017, 2018 and 2019. If you traded for less than the three years, your profits will be amended accordingly.

The claim for the 3 months is capped at £7,500.

How do I claim?

You can claim online at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme

Is there a deadline?

The deadline for the current grant is 29 January 2021.

SUPPORT THROUGH LOANS

Bounce Back Loan

What is it?

A loan backed by the Government with a low interest rate of 2.5% per annum. The

The Government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

When repayments do start, they can be over 6 years or 10 years from the date of borrowing. You can repay early with no penalty.

Who is eligible?

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • was established before 1 March 2020
  • has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus

If your business was classed as a business in difficulty on 31 December 2019 you’ll need to confirm that you’re complying with additional state aid restrictions.

How much can I get?

You can borrow from £2,000 to £50,000. The maximum you can borrow is 25% of your annual turnover.

How do I claim?

You can borrow through your bank. 29 banks/lenders have signed up to the scheme.

If your bank is not part of the scheme, you can find another lender at https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-schemes/bounce-back-loans/for-businesses-and-advisors/

Is there a deadline?

You must take out the loan by 31 March 2021.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

What is it?

It’s the “big brother” of the Bounce Back Loan., allowing borrowing up to £5 million.

The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months.

The loan can be repaid over 6 years from the date of borrowing.

Who is eligible?

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • has an annual turnover of up to £45 million

You need to show that your business:

  • would be viable were it not for the pandemic
  • has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus

If you want to borrow £30,000 or more, you also need to confirm that your business wasn’t classed as a business in difficulty on 31 December 2019.

How much can I get?

Up to £5 million.

How do I claim?

You can borrow through an approved lender. These are shown at https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils-2/for-businesses-and-advisors/

Is there a deadline?

You must take out the loan by 31 March 2021.

SUMMARY

As you can see, there are a number of forms of support.

However, there are some groups who do not qualify for any grants and these have been highlighted over the past months – it’s estimated that up to 3 million people or businesses are not eligible for any grants and must rely on the loan schemes.

These include newly self-employed people who did set up after 5 April 2019, and many Limited Company Directors with no business premises.

There will be further announcements in the 3 March 2021 Budget, so please do keep an eye out for additional support.