Covid-19 Business Support Update - 18th February 2021

Government Announces SME Brexit Support Fund

Today Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove has announced a £20 million SME Brexit Support Package to help small businesses with the changes to trading rules and regulations within the EU.

Traders will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,000 to pay for practical support to help understand new customs, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU post Brexit.

This fund also aims to help businesses prepare for the implementation of import controls which come into force from April and July 2021.

SME’s that trade only within the EU will be encouraged to apply for the grants of up to £2,000 per trader to pay for training and professional advice to help prepare for the new processes.

The new fund will be administered through the pre-existing Customs Grant Scheme and will open for applications next month. For further information click here

Bounce Back Loan Repayments Extended for a Further Six Months

The Government has also announced that businesses that took out Government-backed Bounce Back Loans will now have the option to delay re-payments for a further 6 months. The Chancellor has also included a number of flexible options for repayment of the loans to help further support businesses during the continuing restrictions in place because of Covid-19.

The Government has in introduced a ‘Pay As You Grow’ repayment scheme that has a number of different options and benefits including:

  • Borrowers can now tailor their repayments to suit their individual circumstances
  • Borrowers can now delay repaying their loans from six months to 10 years which can reduce monthly payments by nearly 50%
  • Borrowers can make interest-only payments for six months, with the option to use this up to three times throughout the loan period
  • By delaying repayments for a further 6 months means that borrowers can delay any repayments on loans until 18 months after they originally took them out
  • The Government will cover the cost of the interest for the first year of the loan.

Lenders will begin reaching out to borrowers to provide information on Pay As You Grow and how to access flexible repayment options. Borrowers can expect to be contacted three months before their first payment is due.

Restriction Business Fund Extension

Following the recent announcement by The First Minister, the Restrictions Business Fund Non-Domestic Rates (NDR) for non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism (NERHLT) sectors has been extended to provide a single top up payment for businesses affected by national restrictions.

Details of the top up grants are as follows:

  • NERHLT businesses in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) and with a rateable value of £12,000 or less will be eligible for an additional £3,000 payment. Supply chain businesses qualifying for SBRR will also be eligible for this support if they have greater than 40% reduction in turnover during the restriction period
  • NERHLT businesses with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £51,000 will also be eligible for a £5,000 payment if impacted by the restrictions. Supply chain businesses in the same rateable value bracket will also be eligible for this support if they have greater than 40% reduction in turnover during the restriction period
  • NERHLT businesses with a rateable value of between £51,001 up to £150k who registered and received the ERF Restriction Fund Grant in December/January via their Local Authority will begin receiving payments into their bank account during February. No registration required.

In addition to the above there will now be support for retail, leisure and tourism business properties with rateable values of between £150k and £500k p.a. To date these businesses have not received support via the Restrictions Business Fund schemes. Firms must register their details and complete a short on-line application to their local authority.

Businesses who are eligible for the payments must be on the non-domestic rates (NDR) rating list for their local authority on 1 September 2020. Any businesses that haven’t received the grant to date can register via their local authority's website.

Discretionary based grants of up to £2,000 for the period to end of March 2021 will also be available through application via local authorities. Businesses will be able to access the registration and application forms via the following Restrictions Business Fund – Local Authorities page here.

Further Extensions

Please be aware that the Government has now extended the deadline and given businesses across the UK until the end of March to access the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Extended until April 2021

The Government is now going to provide a fourth SEISS grant to cover trading profits between February and April 2021. Details of the fourth grant will be announced on 3rd March 2021. BPU will send out more detailed information on this as soon as it is available.

For a summary of all the economic support currently available please click here.

For specific advice on the above or to discuss a funding/loan application please speak to your usual BPU advisor or contact me directly.

Huw Palin Director
BPU Chartered Accountants
Call: 029 20734100

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