During this uncertain time, the Northern Powerhouse have shared the below update outlining the support that eligible businesses can access.
For small and medium-sized businesses, the new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now available for applicants. This scheme, available here, will help any viable businesses with a turnover of up to £45m to access government-backed finance of up to £5m with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. Businesses can access the first six months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first six months of interest payments. The scheme is available through more than 40 accredited lenders, which are listed on the British Business Bank website.
The Bank of England has also opened its new lending facility for larger firms, called the Covid Corporate Financing Facility. The scheme, available here, is a cost-effective way to raise working capital for companies experiencing severe disruption to cashflows. It is open to firms that can demonstrate they were in sound financial health prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
These support schemes sit alongside the announcement by the Chancellor on Friday of a Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme which will provide a grant to keep their workers on rather than make them redundant. Under this scheme, salaries will be paid at 80% of their current level – up to a maximum of £2,500 – and grants will be made available by the end of April. The scheme will be backtracked to March 1 and available for at least three months.
Other measures that may be of interest to you include:
- For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide two million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.
- A dedicated helpline to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to coronavirus, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
- A £10,000 cash grant to for the smallest businesses, delivered by local authorities. Small businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief will be contacted by their local authority – you do not need to apply. The funding will be provided to local authorities in early April. Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.
As a Northern Powerhouse Partner, we will endeavour to keep you up to date with the latest information on government support as and when it is available.