RECOVERY LOAN SCHEME OPENS

The Recovery Loan Scheme, a new scheme to support access to finance for UK businesses as they recover and grow following the pandemic, opens to applications from today. The scheme, announced at the Budget on 3 March 2021, is scheduled to run until 31 December 2021, subject to review.

The new scheme will support borrowing of up to £10m for individual businesses and up to £30m across a group, and, once received, the funds can be used for any legitimate business purpose, including managing cashflow, growth and investment. It is designed to appeal to businesses that can afford to take out additional finance for these purposes.

The British Business Bank, which will administer the scheme on behalf of the Government, played an important role during the pandemic, by administering the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS). The new Recovery Loan Scheme will continue to support smaller businesses as they steer a path towards a sustainable recovery.

For more details about how to apply visit the British Business Bank website.

BUDGET EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT MEASURES

The Chancellor set outs the Budget 2021, outlining a series of measures to support businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve summarised the key points you need to know.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

The furlough scheme has been extended to the end of September 2021. The scheme’s terms will remain the same for both employees and employers till 30 June. From 1 July, employers will be required to contribute 10% towards staff wages. This will increase to 20% in August and September respectively.

A breakdown of the changes to the furlough scheme is available on the government website.

Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Fourth grant (February 2021 – April 2021)

  1. The Chancellor confirmed that the fourth grant will cover 80% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits up to £7,500 in total.

Fifth grant (May 2021 – September 2021)

A fifth and final grant will be provided under the scheme.

The value of the grant will depend on the percentage of turnover reduction in the year April 2020 to April 2021:

  1. For self-employed with a turnover reduction of 30% or more, the grant will cover 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500
  2. For self-employed with a turnover reduction of less than 30%, the grant will cover 30% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850

Individuals who were newly self-employed in 2019-2020 and who haven’t been eligible for support under the scheme so far, will now be able to claim the fourth and fifth grants provided they submitted their 2019-2020

Self-Assessment tax return by 2 March.

More information on the fourth and fifth SEISS grants is available on the government website.

Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme

The scheme which was created to support individuals on lower incomes who have been instructed to self-isolate and are unable to work from home will be extended until the summer.

Wages

From April 2021, the National Minimum Wage will be increased to £8.91 per hour

Apprenticeships

The apprenticeship hiring incentive will be extended to 30 September 2021 and payments will be doubled providing £3,000 per apprentice hire of any age to encourage the creation of new apprenticeships.

Help to Grow Scheme
  1. This new scheme will support SMEs providing opportunities to access management training and develop the digital skills needed to recover and grow. In addition, it will offer SMEs a voucher to cover up to half the costs of approved digital software (up to a max of £5,000).
  2. For more information on the Help to Grow programme and to register your interest visit the government’s dedicated page, here.

BUSINESS GUIDE TO BUDGET 2021 ANNOUNCED

The Chancellor set outs the Budget 2021, outlining a series of measures to support businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve summarised the key points you need to know.

Restart Grant Scheme

With the previous grant schemes ending on 31 March, the government will launch Restart Grants to help businesses reopen following the national lockdown. The value of these one-off cash grants will depend on the type of business.

  1. Non-essential retail will be eligible to receive up to £6,000 per premises
  2. Hospitality and leisure businesses including personal care and gyms will be eligible to receive up to £18,000 per premises

Local Authorities will also receive an additional £425 million of discretionary business grant funding to distribute.

More information on this scheme including details relating to the eligibility for this grant will be announced in due course.

Recovery Loan Scheme – Opens on 6 April

The new loan scheme will replace the existing Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLs) which end on 31 March. It will enable businesses of all sizes to access term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance up to £10 million with the government providing an 80% guarantee to the accredited lenders.

More information on the scheme is available through the government website.

Future Fund: Breakthrough (launching early summer of 2021)

This new £375 million scheme will encourage private investors to co-invest with government in the most innovative, R&D-intensive businesses (e.g. those working in life sciences, quantum computing, or cleantech) that are aiming to raise at least £20 million of funding.

To be considered for the scheme you must be a UK based company with significant UK operations.

Further information on the Fund has been published on the British Business Bank website.

Support for Arts, Culture and Sports Venues

A £700 million package of support was announced to boost the arts, culture and sports sectors.

The Film & TV Production Restart Scheme will be extended to 31 December 2021.

Community Ownership Fund – First bidding round will open by June 2021

This new £150 million scheme will enable community groups to bid for up to £250,000 matched-funding to help them buy or take over local community assets (sports clubs, sporting and leisure facilities, cinemas and theatres, music venues, museums, galleries, parks, pubs, post office buildings, and shops) which are at risk of being lost, to run as community-owned businesses.

More information on the scheme has been published on the government website.