Covid-19 Business Support Update - 25th March 2021

£20 million SME Brexit Support Fund Open for Applications

The UK government has unveiled a £20 million Brexit support package to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with changes to trade rules with the EU. The SME Brexit Support Fund aims to help businesses prepare for the implementation of import controls which come into force from April and July.

Businesses who trade only with the EU and are therefore new to importing and exporting processes will be encouraged to apply for grants of up to £2,000 for each trader to pay for practical support, including training and professional advice, to ensure they can continue trading effectively.

The announcement follows extensive engagement with individual businesses, leading business organisations and trade associations from across all parts of the UK, including through the Brexit Business Taskforce.

Businesses must meet certain criteria, including having been established in the UK for at least 12 months, having fewer than 500 employees and no more than £100 million in turnover.

For further information and to apply click here.

Restrictions Business Fund- Non-Domestic Rates (NDR) Linked Grants

Following the First Minister’s announcement on 12 March 2021, two new Non Domestic Rate linked grants are now available.

These grants will act as a top up to the Restrictions Business Fund and are for businesses in the hospitality, tourism, leisure and non-essential retail sectors that pay non-domestic rates.

The amount of grant payment that businesses receive depends on their rateable value:

  • Eligible business with a rateable value of £12,000 or less receive an extra £4,000
  • Firms with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £500,000 will receive £5,000

Local authorities will again be administering and distributing both these payments.

Businesses that pay non-domestic rates and have already received a payment since the firebreak in October via their Local Authority do not need to take action and will begin receiving payment via the Restrictions Business Fund into their bank account during March 2021. 

However, businesses that have not registered with their local authority, registration process will open from Monday 15 March 2021 and the application window will close at 5pm on 31 March 2021.

Local Discretionary Grant

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.

Last Chance to Apply for or Top Up a Bounce Back Loan

This Government backed scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000.

The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year.

The scheme is open to applications until 31 March 2021. If you already have a Bounce Back Loan but borrowed less than you were entitled to, you can top up your existing loan to your maximum amount. You must request the top-up by 31 March 2021.

Support for Food and Drink Companies Project Helix

Food and drink companies based in Wales may be eligible for support from Project HELIX funded by Food Innovation Wales. Eligible companies have access to a range of technical and commercial support. The project is run through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. For further information visit The Food Innovation Wales website.

Tax- Free Childcare – Make sure you claim!

Thousands of families across the UK are missing out on the chance to save money on the costs of childcare, HMRC has revealed.

Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) permits parents and carers who have children aged up to 11 (17 for children with disabilities) to pay their childcare provider via the scheme and receive a 20% government top-up on any money deposited.

Under TFC the tax relief available is 20% of the costs of childcare up to total childcare costs of £10,000 per child per year. The scheme is therefore worth a maximum of £2,000 per child (£4,000 for a disabled child).

To qualify for TFC all parents in the household must generally meet a minimum income level, based on working 16 hours a week (on average £131 a week), each earn less than £100,000 a year and not already be receiving support through Tax Credits or Universal Credit.

Reminder: Off-Payroll Working in the Private Sector – Starts 6th April 21

New tax rules are soon to come into force for individuals who provide their personal services via an ‘intermediary’ to a medium or large business. The new rules apply to payments made for services provided on or after 6 April 2021.

The off-payroll working rules apply where an individual (the worker) provides their services through an intermediary (typically a personal service company) to another person or entity (the client). The client will be required to make a determination of a worker’s status and communicate that determination.

In addition, the fee-payer (usually the organisation paying the worker’s personal service company) will need to make deductions for income tax and NICs and pay any employer NICs.

For specific advice on the above please speak to your usual BPU advisor or contact me directly.

Huw Palin Director
BPU Chartered Accountants
Call: 029 20734100

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