Funding sources for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic

Blogs 11 Sep 2020

National grants and schemes available to small businesses and the self-employed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday 24 September, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak unveiled a Winter Economy Plan including the new Jobs Support Scheme to follow furlough, and a range of measures to support cash flow for small businesses. The next stage of economic support aims to protect jobs and the economy whilst managing the virus.

This guide is being continually updated as details of the new schemes are released. 

This content was last reviewed 25 September 2020

This guide contains information regarding national grants and schemes available to small businesses and the self-employed.

Grants and funding are also available at local authority level to help support businesses through the COVID-19 crisis. To find out what help and support is available in your area, we strongly recommend you contact your local council.

This information is updated regularly and is correct to the date shown above. We always recommend checking with your Local Authority for sources of local funding in addition to those mentioned here. 

FSB members should log into their dashboard to find details of their local FSB contacts, who can outline local support available.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Deadline: 31 October 2020
Available in: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was extended until 31 October 2020 to support employers with the transition back to work. From November 2020 the scheme will be replaced with the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme.

September 2020

  • The Government will pay 70 per cent of wages up to a cap of £2,190
  • Employers will pay 10 per cent of wages to make up 80 per cent total up to a cap of £2,500
  • Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions

October 2020

  • The Government will pay 60 per cent of wages up to a cap of £1,875
  • Employers will pay 20 per cent of wages to make up 80 per cent total up to a cap of £2,500
  • Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions

In September and October, you’ll still be able to place staff on flexible furlough, provided they’re eligible.

Our guide to the end of the furlough scheme explains how the scheme will change as it winds down, how flexible furlough works and what you need to do as an employer.

To encourage retention, a £1,000 Job Retention Bonus is available to employers for each furloughed employee that is kept on until January 2021. This is provided they are paid an average of £520 per month between November 2020 and January 2021.


Job Support Scheme

Starts: 1 November 2020 for six-months
Available in: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

This will follow the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme to support businesses facing lower demand in winter months. The Government will support employers with wages, allowing employees to work shorter hours rather than being made redundant. 

  • The new scheme must support viable jobs, therefore employees must work at least a third of their usual hours. 
  • Employers will pay these worked hours as normal, with the Government and the employer topping up the remaining wages, up to 77 per cent (one third each)
  • The level of grant will be calculated based on an employee’s usual salary, capped at £697.92 per month.
  • All SMEs are eligible, even if you haven’t used the furlough scheme. 
  • You can claim both the Jobs Support Scheme and the furlough scheme’s Job Retention Bonus
     

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme has been extended to 30 April 2021. The grant extension is for self-employed individuals who are currently eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and are actively continuing to trade, but are facing reduced demand due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The extension will provide two grants and will last for six months, from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period.

The first grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January. HMRC will provide a taxable grant covering 20 per cent of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £1,875 in total.

Deadline: TBC
Available in: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is open to those who are self-employed or a member of a partnership that has been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

To claim you must:

  • Be currently be eligible for the the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (Even if you did not claim)
  • Be currently actively trading and intending to continue to trade
  • Be impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus in the qualifying period (the qualifying period for the grant extension is between 1 November and the date of claim)

Limited companies or trusts cannot claim the grant. The Government has extensive advice on eligibility for the scheme which includes an eligibility checker on their website.

We are awaiting further guidance on applying for the grant from HMRC. 


Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

Deadline: 30 November 2020
Available in: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

If you meet the following criteria: 

  • UK based business
  • Negatively impacted by coronavirus
  • Existed by 1 March 2020
  • Not ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019
  • Have a tax return or business tax account

 You may be eligible for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, which allows SMEs to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.

 However, the following businesses are exempt:

  •  Insurer or re-insurer (but not insurance broker)
  • Bank
  • Public-sector body
  • Grant-funded further education establishment
  • State-funded primary and secondary school

Loans are capped at 25% of turnover, but there is no turnover limit. The government will guarantee 100% of the loan, with no fees or interest in the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 10 years, and no repayments will be due in the first 12 months. If you do decide to pay back in the first year, there is no penalty.

If you’ve already received a loan of up to £50,000 under Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and would like to transfer it to the Bounce Back Loan, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020.

The Pay As You Grow scheme will extend repayments of the Bounce Back Loan:
  • Extended loan terms are estimated to halve the average monthly repayment
  • Option of interest only repayments
  • No impact on credit rating
  • Those in financial difficulty can suspend repayments for up to six months

Further detals on the scheme are expected shortly.


VAT Deferral Payments

Deadline: 31 March 2022
Available in: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

On 24 September 2020, the Chancellor announced that businesses who deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June 2020 will now have the option to pay over the course of 11 payments up until the end of March 2022. 

This scheme will require you to opt-in, we will update on how you can do this when details are published. 


Deferral of Self Assessment payments on account

Deadline: TBC
Available in: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

Self-assessed income taxpayers can spread their outstanding tax payments over a 12 month period from January 2021. Payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.

If you owe less than £10,000, you might be able to set up a Time to Pay Arrangement online. This lets you pay your Self Assessment tax bill in instalments.

We will update this entry when further details are published. 


Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

Deadline: Not yet announced
Available in: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

If you’re an employer, you may be able to use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees’ coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

The repayment will cover up to two weeks, starting from the first day of sickness due to COVID-19. The scheme can be used if you had a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020, and you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020.

Check if you are eligible.


Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG)

Deadline: To be confirmed
Available in: Check with your Local Authority

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) supports businesses that were open as usual but were then required to close for at least 3 weeks due to local lockdown restrictions imposed by government. This funding is paid by the local authority and is not paid retrospectively.

Eligible businesses will get one grant for each eligible property within the lockdown zone.

Your business may be eligible if you:

  • Pay business rates for your property
  • Are in an area with additional restrictions and have been required to close due local restrictions which resulted in a first full day of closure on or after 9 September.
  • Have been closed for at least 3 weeks due to the lockdown
  • Have been unable to provide your usual in-person customer service from your premises

If your business is eligible and has a property with a rateable value of less than £51,000, you will receive a cash grant of £1,000 for each 3-week period your business is closed.

If your business is eligible and has a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, you will receive a cash grant of £1,500 for each 3-week period your business is closed.

The grant will be extended to cover each additional 3-week period, so if your business is closed for 6 weeks it will receive £2,000 or £3,000, depending on the rateable value of the property.

If your business is closed but you do not pay business rates or is not closed but has been severely affected you may be eligible for a discretionary payment of up to £1,500.

For more details and how to apply visit the GOV.UK website


Discretionary Grants and Funding

Other business grants are being administered by local authorities - any queries should be addressed to them directly. All businesses can speak to their Local Authority about business rates payment deferrals.

You can find contact details for your local authority on the GOV.UK website.


Scotland Specific Funding

In addition to the UK wide initiatives, there are a number of schemes specific to Scotland.

Sector specific support

There are various different sectoral support packages for the creative industries, social care, early learning and childcare and seafood fishing and processing industries. Full details of these can be found on the find business support website.

Business Rates

All non-domestic properties in Scotland will get a 1.6% rates relief from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. Retail, hospitality and leisure business will get 100% rates relief in 2020-21.

Aberdeen Lockdown

The Business Support Fund for those impacted by the lockdown in Aberdeen provides one-off grants to Aberdeen city hospitality businesses directly impacted by the local restrictions implemented on 5 August 2020. This funding is restricted to businesses specified in the local lockdown regulations.

A £1,000 grant is available for businesses with a rateable value of under £51,000 and a £1,500 grant is available for those businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000.

Local Authority Support

Some councils in Scotland are also providing additional help for local businesses. Approach your local authority or your Development Manager to find out what’s available. More information can also be found on the find business support website.


Wales Specific Funding

The Business Wales Government portal contains a fully searchable database of funding currently available to Welsh businesses during the pandemic.

Business Rates

All retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £500,000 or below will receive 100% non-domestic rates relief in 2020-21. This relief will be available from 1 April 2020 until 31 March 2021.

Sectoral support

There are various different sectoral support packages for agriculture, childcare, culture, creative and sports sector, life sciences, social business sector and taxi and private hire. Full details can be found on the Business Wales website.


Northern Ireland Specific Funding

NI Business Info provides links to the availability of funding for businesses based in Northern Ireland. 

Business Rates

Properties used for certain purposes will not be charged business rates from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 in Northern Ireland. The sectors are listed below, with examples of some of the qualifying uses:

  • Hospitality – including restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, public houses.
  • Tourism – including B&Bs (which pay business rates), guest houses, hotels, privately run caravan & camping sites, self-catering holiday accommodation, tourist attractions and facilities.
  • Leisure – including cinemas, theatres, leisure centres and facilities, museums, sports premises, sports grounds and associated sport clubs, clubhouses, and music venues.
  • Retail and retail services – shops of all types and sizes (excluding retail premises with retail floor space greater than 500m² Net Internal Area (NIA) and which is wholly or mainly used for the retail sale of food and household goods; and off-licences). Examples of services include hairdressers, barbers, nail and beauty services, fast food outlets, garden centres, travel agencies, car showrooms, auction houses, retail estate agents, and clothing, shoe or electrical goods repairs.
  • Childcare – children’s day-care and nursery premises.
  • Airports – Belfast City Airport, Belfast International Airport and City of Derry Airport.
Sectoral support

There are various different sectoral support packages for childcare and arts activity. Full details can be found on the NI Business Info website.

Digital Selling Capability Grant

This grant is available to help any small or medium sized business to enhance their digital offering.

Businesses can access a maximum grant of £20,000 to support 50% of eligible costs for projects with a minimum eligible expenditure of £10,000.

The call for applications is open until 6pm on Wednesday 7 October 2020.


Resources and links

UK wide

HMRC coronavirus helpline for businesses and the self-employed
Call: 0800 024 1222
Lines Open: Monday - Friday, 8am to 4pm

HMRC Time To Pay helpline:

Call: 0300 200 3835
Lines Open: Monday - Friday, 8am to 4pm

You can also use the dedicated coronavirus business support finder.

England

The UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has launched a dedicated business support helpline, where small business owners in England can get advice on how to minimise/cope with the impacts of coronavirus.

Call 0800 998 1098
Lines open Mon - Friday 9am - 6pm
Email [email protected]

Scotland

The Scottish Government coronavirus helpline
Call 0300 303 0660
Lines open Mon - Friday 8:30am - 5:30pm

Scottish Government COVID-19 hub
 Wales

Wales Business Helpline

Call 0300 060 3000
Lines open Mon - Friday 8:30am - 5:30pm
Welsh Government COVID-19 hub

Northern Ireland

NI Business info
Call 0800 181 4422
Lines open Mon - Friday 8:30am - 5pm

NI Government COVID-19 hub