Update on available Coronavirus support grants

After eleven weeks of lockdown, this week saw the relaxation of social distancing measures, and as part of this, changes have made to available support grants and schemes, as well as the introduction of the Local Authority Discretionary Grant.

We outline the key changes to the main grants and schemes below.

Updated guidance for CLBILS

Since its launch, The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme has supported 650,000 larger businesses who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. This week, it was announced that businesses will now be able to borrow up to £20million (up from the previous maximum limit of £50 million), as well as approving six more lenders, meaning there are now 12 lenders taking part in the scheme, including all the main retail banks.

To be eligible for the loan, the business must be based in the UK, have an annual turnover of £45 million and must not have received support from the Bank of England's COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility. Applicants must be able to show that the business would be viable were it not for the pandemic and has been affected by the current circumstances.

More information on how to apply can be found here.

Changes to the CJRS

During the government briefing on the 28th May, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the new roadmap for the Coronavuris Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which reflects the easing of lockdown and businesses returning to normal trading. The scheme will see no new entrants from the 30th of June, and a tapered approach to funding ahead of the scheme ending on the 31st of October.

There are important entry requirements to be aware of which will dictate which staff an employer can furlough from 1st July onwards:

  • for an employee to be furloughed under the new scheme that employee must have been furloughed under the old scheme for a minimum period of 3 weeks
  • the number of staff claimed for in any single claim under the new scheme cannot exceed the maximum number of staff included on a single claim under the old scheme

For clarity on the first point, the 3 week period could have been at any time since the scheme started. It does not have to have been the final 3 weeks of June.

More details on the scheme can be found here.

Local Authority Discretionary Grant now available

The Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund is the latest scheme launched for small and micro businesses which were unable to access the earlier government grants.

It will be live for people to access from June 2020. To be eligible for the grant, you must be based in England, have fewer than 50 employees and have fixed building costs, such as rent. Business owners will only be able to apply if they were trading on the 11th March 2020 and can show they have been impacted by COVID-19.

Although it is at the local authorities discretion how funding is awarded, they have been advised to take into consideration:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces which do not have their own business rates assessment
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, that do not have their own business rates assessment
  • Bed and breakfasts which pay council tax instead of business rates
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief

Businesses who are in administration or insolvent will not be eligible for funding.

Businesses will not be eligible if other grants such as the Small Business Grant Fund, Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant or Dairy Hardship Fund have already been successfully claimed for.

However, you may still be able to claim if you've applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

There will be three levels of grant payments, with a maximum limit of £25,000. Local authorities will have the discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000.

The application process is run by the local councils who will make the decision to grant you the support funds.

For our Kirklees based clients, more information can be found on the scheme here. If you do not operate in the Kirklees area, your local authority website will also have funds available for these grants.

Final extension for Self Employed Income Support Grant

Launched as a support relief for self-employed workers that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, the SEISG offers a taxable grant worth 80% of an average monthly trading profit, up to a maximum of £7,500. Under the previous guidance, the grant was paid in a single instalment coverage three month's worth of profit. However, the Chancellor has announced that an extension has been granted, meaning eligible workers can claim a second and final payment for 70% of average historical profits.

Find out more details about the extension for the scheme here.

If you need more information about any of the changes outlined above or are unsure what support is available for your business, please get in touch with one of our team, who will be happy to help.

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