How will the government help my business? Now including BBLS update.

4 May, 2020 · 3 min read

Read the 2021 update: What government support is still available for my business?

The Coronavirus pandemic means this is a tough time for small businesses – but the government is stepping in with some measures to help you out. ANNA is taking a quick look at what’s on offer, whether you’re eligible and what you have to do next.

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Do you need a loan to cover your costs?

You may want The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

Any UK-based business can apply. Small businesses can get loans with 6-year payment terms. The government pays the loan interest in the first year. Even better, if the loan is under £250k then it can be unsecured.

ANNA has partnered with Funding Xchange to offer our customers access to funding where they need it through CBILS. They're a bit like MoneySupermarket for business finance, and compare the deals on 40 approved CBILS lenders. That means you can make sure you're comparing all the deals for your specific business needs.  Anyone can use the link above to get a quote, ANNA customer or not.

There is also a new scheme called the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS). This is aimed at any small business in the UK impacted by Coronavirus, and you can borrow from £2k up to £50k, with a limit of 25% of your turnover. This scheme is aimed being much easier to obtain than CBILS (less restrictions on borrowing ability) and the government is covering the first year of interest payments.

We have been doing some research on BBLS and found that many lenders are restricting applicants to their own customers - however HSBC are not doing this, and Barclays only require you to have a personal bank account with them (with reports that Santander may offer the same), so there are a few options for ANNA customers to apply. If you are an ANNA customer and need to know more, just ask in your ANNA app and our customer support team will provide the most up to date information for your case.

Are you a business with a property?

The good news is you’ll get protection against evictions:

  • Your business is protected from landlord evictions for any missed rent payments over the next 3 months
  • If you’re struggling, you’re encouraged to find a voluntary rent agreement with your landlord first

There’s also a business rate holiday

  • For any retails, hospitality or leisure business – plus nurseries too
  • There’s nothing to pay on business rates in 2020/21
  • It’s automatically applied to your council tax bill

If your business gets SBRR (small business rate relief) or Rural rate relief, you can get a £10k grant to cover your costs. Your local authority will write to you if you’re eligible.

If you’re based in England there are also cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. Once again, your local authority will write to you if you’re eligible.

  • £10k grant for rateable values less than £15k
  • £25k grant for rateable values between £15,001 and £51k

Do you employ staff?

The government doesn’t want you letting go of employees because you can’t afford to pay their ways, so it’s created a Job Retention Scheme. All UK businesses are eligible and can apply now. The government is also promising to pay businesses within 6 working days, so it's worth getting this claim in as quickly as possible.

  • You can nominate workers as “furloughed” through an online portal
  • The government will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2.5k a month

There is also government support for businesses paying sick pay.

It’s for businesses with less than 250 employees (as of 20 February 2020). Statutory sick pay will be refunded for any staff who are off sick due to COVID-19 for up to two weeks. The scheme hasn’t been set up yet, but an online portal will be in place soon. 

Do you pay VAT or pay tax through self-assessment?

There’s going to be a VAT holiday. That means that: 

  • Any VAT brought paid to you between 20th March and 20th June 2020 will not be owed back to HMRC until the end of the 2021 tax year.
  • You can still reclaim VAT you’ve paid as a business, as you normally would 
  • You don’t have to do anything – just don’t pay the VAT

Anyone who pays their income tax via self-assessment gets some time to sort things out. Income tax owed by 31 July 2020 will be deferred until 31 January 2021.

Do you invest in new product development or innovation?

The government has announced a £1.25bn investment pot aimed at UK businesses who work on innovation or product development, to keep the economy dynamic after lockdown is over and keep these businesses running. The pot is broken down into a £500m investment fund for high-growth companies, as well as £750m in grants and extra loans for small and medium sized enterprises focused on research and development.

Keeping you up-to-date

Because these are such unpredictable times, the government is creating new schemes all the time. So if anything we’ve written about changes, or new measures come in, we’ll update this guide to make sure you’re all clued up.

Since the government announced business help, they have also announced grants to help Freelancers and the Self Employed (specifically of Sole Trader status). You can read about this latest announcement here.

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