Posted: Fri 9th Jul 2021
Over a year on from the first coronavirus lockdown, several government business funding schemes are still available or will be opening for applications soon. Here's a guide to what's on offer.
Get advice on dealing with the business impact of coronavirus here.
UK-wide: Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) fifth grant
To be eligible for the fifth SEISS grant, you must be self-employed or a member of a partnership. Limited company directors can't apply.
You must have traded in the 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021 tax years and submitted your 2019 to 2020 self-assessment tax return by 2 March 2021.
For self-employed people suffering a loss in turnover of 30% or more, the grant will be worth 80% of three months average trading profits, capped at £7,500. For those experiencing a drop in turnover below 30%, the grant will be worth 30% of three months average trading profits, capped at £2,850.
You will be able to claim the fifth grant from late July.
UK-wide: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, also known as the furlough scheme, is open until the end of September. Until June, the government covered the full 80% of wages for employees on furlough.
In July, the level of grant covered by the government is 70%, up to a maximum £2,187.50. Employers must cover the remaining 10%, up to £312.50.
The government contribution falls again in August and September to 60%, up to a maximum £1,875, with employers contributing 20%, up to £625.
Employers also pay employer National Insurance Contributions and pension contributions for the hours the employee does not work.
UK-wide: Recovery Loan Scheme
Businesses can apply for loans and overdrafts between £25,001 and £10m and invoice finance and asset finance between £1,000 and £10m. The government will provide an 80% guarantee to lenders but borrowers remain 100% liable for the debt.
Finance terms are up to six years for term loans and asset finance facilities. For overdrafts and invoice finance facilities, terms are up to three years.
Business owners need to show their business is viable, although the British Business Bank said lenders "may disregard any concerns over its short-to-medium term business performance due to the uncertainty and impact of COVID-19".
Unlike the previous schemes, there is no period during which businesses do not have to make repayments. For funding through the Recovery Loan Scheme, interest and fees need to be paid by the business from the outset.
The scheme is due to run until 31 December 2021.
UK wide: Bounce Back Loans Pay As You Grow
If you borrowed finance through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, you can take a six month repayment holiday. With the loans interest free and with no repayments for 12 months, extending repayments means businesses have a total of 18 months before they have start to paying the money back. The option is available once during the term of the loan.
Companies can also extend the loan term from six to 10 years and cut monthly repayments for six months by paying interest only. The latter option is available up to three times.
England: Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)
Through the ARG scheme, councils have the freedom to determine the eligibility for the grants but the government is encouraging them to support:
businesses severely impacted by restrictions but not eligible for the Restart Grant scheme which is for firms paying business rates.
businesses from sectors that remain closed or severely impacted, even if they have already had a Restart Grant. That includes the travel and tourism sector, wedding industries, nightclubs, theatres, events industries, wholesalers, English language schools, breweries, freelance and mobile businesses including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding related businesses.
Councils have until 31 July 2021 to hand out the funding.
Full government guidance is here.
England: Business rates relief
Eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England receive 66% business rates relief from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, capped at £2m per business for properties that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021, or £105,000 per business for other eligible properties.
Scotland: Business rates relief
Retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation businesses pay no business rates during 2021-22.
Scotland: Route Map Extension Restrictions Fund
On 22 June, the Scottish government announced that local authorities will be kept at the current protection levels for an additional three-week period from 28 June 2021 with the next review on 13 July. Additional financial support is offered for eligible businesses that are subject to ongoing restrictions at protection levels 1 and 2.
The fund provides grants of up to £750 per week, depending on rateable value, sector, and the duration of the restrictions to specific businesses that previously received financial support through the Strategic Framework Business Fund.
Wales: Economic Resilience Fund
The Welsh government has announced further grants of up to £25,000 for businesses that remain closed or severely impacted by restrictions shown via a greater than 60% impact on turnover compared to the corresponding timeline in 2019 or equivalent.
The Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) will provide support for businesses, social enterprises, charities and associated supply chain businesses that continue to experience a severe negative impact as a result of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. The grants will help meet operating costs (excluding staff wages) for the period 1 July 2021 to 31 August 2021.
Applications for the ERF for businesses with a turnover of more than £85,000 are open until 12pm on 27 July 2021.
Local authorities across Wales will reopen applications for those businesses that are eligible with a turnover of less than £85,000 on 26 July 2021. This grant application will remain open until 9 August 2021.
For businesses that meet the criteria, the following grants are available:
Wales: Business rates relief
Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses and charities in Wales pay no business rates in 2021-22.
Northern Ireland: Retail, Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Top-Up Scheme
The Retail, Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Top-Up Scheme provides financial support of up to £10,000 to businesses that received the £25,000 Retail, Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Grant in 2020 and have not been paid under the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme or Covid Restrictions Business Support Scheme: Part B, subject to some exclusions.
Northern Ireland: Small Business Support Grant Top-Up Scheme
The Small Business Support Grant Top-Up Scheme provides financial support of up to £5,000 to businesses that received the £10,000 Small Business Support Grant in 2020 and have not been paid more than £5,000 under the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme or Covid Restrictions Business Support Scheme: Part B, subject to some exclusions.
The grant covers a wide range of businesses, including those which were allowed to remain open during the most recent restrictions, such as convenience stores, hardware stores, bakeries, financial services, engineering firms and coach services. The business must have been open and trading on 1 March 2021 to be eligible.
Get more support and advice on dealing with the business impact of coronavirus here.