COVID-19 financial assistance


Because cashflow matters. 

Here you’ll find a range of information on financial support in relation to COVID-19. See what you may be entitled to claim or apply for, everything from mortgage and rent options, to taxes.

And remember, if you’re struggling there are people who can help.

If you are struggling to pay your household bills and are worried about personal debt National Debtline can help. And, if you are struggling to pay your business bills and have business debts contact Business Debtline.

Help that fits your situation.

EMPLOYEES

BUSINESS TAXES

BUSINESS RATES

HIGH STREET GRANTS

SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS

BUSINESS LOANS FOR SMES

SELF-EMPLOYED

FREELANCE COMPANY DIRECTORS

PERSONAL FINANCE

LARGE BUSINESS FINANCE

Employees. 

Salary: The Government pays up to 80% of the salary of suspended workers, up to monthly cap of £2,500. The application is made by employers, not employees. Employees who are furloughed can’t do any work for the employer while on furlough, but may be allowed to work for a different employer.

Sick pay: From day 1 if an employee is suffering from Covid-19 and is self-isolating or shielding, he or she will be entitled to sick pay. This covers all types of employment contract and a doctor’s note is NOT required. This is paid by the employer and reclaimed by the employer from the Government (for sickness on or after 13 March).

Business taxes. 

VAT deferral: Payments due between 20 March and 30 June can be deferred until a later date. There will be no interest or penalties and no need to inform HMRC. It’s down to the company to cancel their direct debit. This applies to all UK businesses.

Other tax bills: Firms may request additional time to pay if in financial difficulty under the HMRC’s “Time to Pay” scheme. Deferral will be agreed on a case-by-case basis.

Business rates. 

In England: Rates are cancelled this year for shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs, gyms. This also applies to nurseries registered with OFSTED. No application is required; your local council will contact you.

In Scotland: There is a full-year rates holiday for retail/hospitality/leisure businesses + airports/airport service companies + Loganair (only airline eligible); 1.6% relief for ALL OTHER businesses.

In Wales: There is a full-year rates holiday for retail/leisure/hospitality businesses with a rateable value below £500k; + 100% relief for some small businesses (rateable value below £6k) and reduced relief for others with a rateable value between £6,000 and £12,000.

In Northern Ireland: A 3-month rates holiday (Apr-Jun) for ALL businesses, except public sector and utilities.

High Street grants.

In England: Cash grants are available for eligible retail, hospitality or leisure businesses: £10k grants if the rateable value is up to £15k; £25k grant if rateable value is between £15 and51k. Businesses with rateable value above £51k are not eligible. For eligible firms no application is required. Your local authority will contact you. NB. This should also include charity shops, even those with a zero rate bill. (SEE ALSO: Small Business Grant Fund below).

In Scotland: £25k grants are available for retail, hospitality & leisure businesses. You need to apply to your local authority. Only businesses with rateable values between £18k and £51k are eligible. (SEE ALSO: Small Business Support Grant below).

In Wales: £25k grants are available for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses. You need to apply to your local authority. Only businesses with rateable values between £12k and £51k are eligible. (SEE ALSO: Small Business Support Grant below).

In Northern Ireland: £25k grants are available for retail, hospitality, tourism & leisure companies. Only businesses with rateable values between £15 and 51k are eligible. (SEE ALSO: Small Business Support Grant below)

 

There is a BAN ON EVICTIONS for shops, restaurants, gyms & other commercial property tenants across the UK, apart from Northern Ireland. 

 

Small business grants. 

In England: Small Business Grant Fund: £10k grants are available for eligible businesses in receipt of small business rates relief or rural rates relief (at 11 March).

In Scotland: Some small businesses are eligible for £10k grants. Apply to your local council.

In Wales: £10k grants are available for all businesses with rateable values below £12k, which qualify for existing business rates relief. There is a limit on the number of grants that can be claimed by the same business with multiple properties.

The Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund has paused. It had  received 9,000 requests for support. The Loan scheme from the Development Bank of Wales is fully subscribed. £100m is to be paid out.

In Northern Ireland: £10k grants are available for eligible small businesses with rateable values below £15k. There are also £10k grants for small businesses renting property as long as they are sole tenants.

Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund: Supports small and micro businesses that are not eligible for other grant schemes.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS GRANT

Business loans for small & medium sized businesses.

Government-backed loans: Loans for small & medium-sized businesses are paid by high street banks: 

  • Apply to approved lenders;
  • Loans of up to £5m, as loan, overdraft, invoice finance or asset finance, are subject to bank credit checks & approval;
  • Companies must have viable borrowing proposals;
  • Lenders will require historic accounts & business plans;
  • Turnover must be below £45m per year; 
  • The Government pays interest & fees for 12 months;
  • The Government guarantees repayment of up to 80% if borrower defaults;
  • Personal guarantees are not required to secure lending below £250,000.

MICRO BUSINESS

Bounce Back Loan Scheme: 

  • Government-backed loans of between £2k – £50k, for viable businesses;
  • Apply to & paid by high street banks:
  • Repayment is 100% guaranteed by Government if the firm defaults;
  • There are no fees or interest for 12 months;
  • Repayment can be spread over 6 years;
  • You can’t apply if you are already claiming under Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS SCHEME

TECHNOLOGY START-UPS

Future fund: Loans ranging from £125k to £5m, requires matched funding from private investors. Business must also have raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last five years. Loans to be converted into shares if the company defaults. These loans are run by the British Business Bank.

Self-employed. 

Income support scheme: 

  • Grants up to £2,500 per month;
  • If you are self-employed or a member of a partnership you can claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months;
  • You must have filed a tax return for 2018-19 to apply;
  • You must have traded in the 2019-20 tax year;
  • Trading profits must be below £50k in 2018/19, or average below £50k a year  over three years from 16/17 to 18/19;
  • HMRC will contact you if you are eligible. 

No payments are expected before June.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS SCHEME

Self-assessment tax bills delayed: “Second payment on account” usually due 31 July can be deferred until 31 January 2021. 

There will be no penalties or interest for late payment.

Freelance company directors.

There is currently no specific provision made for self-employed people operating through Personal Service Companies and paying themselves mainly through dividends. 

People operating in this way are not eligible for the grants on offer to self-employed or sole traders, because they are companies. Nor do they appear to be eligible for grants to small businesses if they operate from home, because the grants are based on business rates.

They may apply for government-backed loans for businesses (CBILS) though many high street banks do not offer loans for small amounts.

Depending on your turnover, the most appropriate loan option may by the Bounce back loans for micro businesses.

Directors of Personal Service Companies may be able to “furlough themselves from the work they do for clients and still carry out their responsibilities as directors. However, ALL client work must have ceased and you are only permitted to carry out legally-essential director duties. Any furlough payments are limited to 80% of whatever salary you received previously on your PAYE payroll, and do not replace any dividend payments.

Directors of PSCs may be eligible for Universal Credit, though those with significant savings to cover future personal tax bills or who live with someone who has an income above the relevant threshold may find payments are reduced or cancelled. You can ask that money set aside specifically to meet future tax payments is ignored for the calculation of Universal Credit. 

This is one of the most complex and controversial aspects of the various Government assistance schemes, and you may wish to seek further advice.

#ForgottenLtd is campaigning for small limited company directors affected by the coronavirus pandemic in the UK. You can sign their petition here.

Personal finance. 

Mortgages: You can apply for a payment freeze for 3 months, without impact on your credit rating. Interest will still be charged and repayments will still be due at a later stage.

Rent: There is no help with rents but there is a ban on evictions of tenants for 6 months in England and similar schemes with variations in Scotland and Wales. This doesn’t apply yet in Northern Ireland.

Credit cards: 3 month payment freeze but interest will still be charged, and repayments will still be due later. 

Overdrafts: Interest-free for first £500 overdraft. The banks’ plans for higher overdraft charges have been scrapped.

Car loans: There is a payment freeze. Finance companies must assist customers on PCPs to buy the car if they are reaching the end of their contract. 

Payday lenders: One month payment freeze. Lenders must check customers can afford to pay before resuming the loan repayments.

Pawnshops: Customers are given longer to reclaim items.

Electricity & gas bills: Assistance must be offered to those struggling; customers on payment meters must have supply continued. 

Large business finance.

Government-backed loans for large businesses:

  • Loans of up to £25m are available for companies with turnover between £45m-£250m a year;
  • Loans of up to £50m are available for companies with a turnover above £250m per year;
  • Loans come via commercial lenders and high street banks and are subject to the lender’s approval;
  • The Government guarantees lenders 80% repayment if borrower defaults;
  • The loans are offered at commercial rates of interest.

Bank Of England financing scheme for large business – Covid-19:

Corporate Financing Facility:

  • Bank of England will buy short-term debt from large companies;
  • The BoE will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms;
  • The scheme is delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the Bank of England; and will operate for at least 12 months.
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