Further support announced for small businesses

Following the announcement on Monday, January 4 that England and Scotland would be placed in lockdown, further support for small businesses has been unveiled.

To support businesses through this period, chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced £4.6bn of grant funding. This includes a one-off top-up grant for leisure, hospitality and retail businesses of up to £9,000.

They’ll 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.

A £594m discretionary fund is also being made available to support other businesses affected by the lockdown. As with the other grant funding, small businesses will need to apply through their local authority.

This new lockdown support is in addition to existing funding, as listed below.

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)

  • Available for businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes or where additional funding is needed.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)

  • Loans of between £2,000 and £50,000, up to 25% of turnover.
  • The government guarantees 100% of the loan with no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year.
  • Companies can now apply for a top-up in cases where they initially did not borrow the full amount available.
  • Available until the end of March.

Business rates relief

  • Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-2021 tax year.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

  • Offers access to loans of up to £5m.
  • 80% of the loan is guaranteed by the government.
    Government pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months..
  • Available for businesses with annual turnover of up to £45m.
  • Available until the end of March.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

  • 80% of employees’ monthly salary covered for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.
  • Employees do not have to be furloughed full-time to qualify. Employers will have flexibility to use the scheme for employees for any amount of time or shift pattern, furloughing employees on either a full-time or part-time basis.
  • No employer contribution for hours not worked, employers only have to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions.
  • Available until end of April 2021.

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