There have been a number of extensions and enchancements made to the support measures announced for business and individuals to address issues and concerns which have arisen as the schemes have been rolled-out and bedded in.
You can find information on the measures previously announced and links to the relevant guidance via the following links:
- COVID-19: Further support measures for businesses and individuals affected by coronavirus
Information given is correct as at 10.00 a.m. on 11 April 2020.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
- The Chancellor has announced changes to the features and eligibility criteria of CBILS, aimed at enabling even more smaller businesses impacted by COVID-19 to access the funding they need.
- From 6 April 2020:
- CBILS has been extended to all viable businesses, not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing.
- lenders will not take personal guarantees of any form for facilities below £250,000.
- at their discretion, lenders may require personal guarantees for facilities above £250,000 but such guarantees will exclude the Principle Private Residence (PPR) and recovery will be limited to 20% of the outstanding balance of the facility once the proceeds of the business assets have been applied. PPR will also not be taken as security for a CBILS backed facility.
- insufficient security is no longer a condition to access the scheme; facilities can be provided to small businesses even where the lender considers there to be sufficient security.
- These amendments will be retrospectively applied to any CBILS facilities offered since 23 March 2020.
- Lenders have also been asked, where the borrower meets the CBILS eligibility criteria, to bring any commercial facilities offered outside CBILS since 23 March 2020 into CBILS, with any necessary changes being made retrospectively.
- Given the amendments to CBILS, the British Business Bank has suggested that those who have previously been unsuccessful in securing funding, may wish to consider re-contacting their lender.
- You can find further information on these changes on the British Business Bank website.
Farming and Rural Businesses
- The Coronavirus (COVID-19): information for farmers, landowners and rural businesses guidance has been updated with information about applications and claims for 2020, and how to submit applications, claims, evidence and other supporting documents.
- The Government has published updated YouTube videos detailing help and support available for businesses and introduced new webinars which provide the opportunity to ask questions via an on-screen text box. You can find details here.
- The COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses has been updated to reflect recent amendments/enhancements to the support measures.
Further sources of information
- The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) have issued updated guidance on furloughing employees under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
- The Institute of Directors (IoD) website has a comprehensive COVID-19 hub providing information on available support, advice for Directors, guidance on governance issues, and learning and development resources.
- A number of tech suppliers and digital companies are offering their services for free to small business to help them during the COVID-19 outbreak. You can find further details here.
- On 8 April 2020, the Chancellor announced that £750m will be made available to charities suffering financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak:
- £370m to small, local charities working with vulnerable people
- £360m direct to charities providing essential services and supporting vulnerable people, including St Johns’ Ambulance, Citizens Advice Bureau and charities working with victims of domestic violence and vulnerable families
- £20m to the National Emergencies Trust appeal
- The funding for small, local charities will be administered through the National Lottery Communities Fund. The Fund are currently liaising with the Government to confirm when the funding will be made available and will keep their dedicated COVID-19 page updated with developments.
Tech support volunteers
- Code4covid has over 700 tech volunteers able to provide tech support and assist with solutions for not-for-profit and community organisations. You can find further information here and here.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Further furlough guidance
- The Government has now issued updated guidance regarding the scheme, including checking if your employer can use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
- Martin Lewis of the Money Saving Expert website also has extremely comprehensive guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, including recent clarifications provided by HM Treasury, e.g. rehiring employees who resigned on good terms and whose new job has fallen through due to COVID-19 to enable them to be furloughed.
- The website also has a useful 12 furloughing need-to-knows for employees and small firms factsheet, aimed at providing employees and employers without HR departments with confidence to furlough staff (and former staff) when appropriate.
- If you are required to work at home during the COVID-19 outbreak, you are entitled to claim for increased costs, e.g. heating, lighting, electricity, you will bear as a result.
- From 6 April 2020, the flat rate is £6 per week. If costs exceed this figure, you can claim the higher costs but the process and evidence requirements are more labour intensive.
- Employers can pay you £6 per week extra, free of tax. However, given the financial pressures facing most businesses at present, this may not be feasible currently.
- Alternatively, you can claim tax relief on £6 of income per week. For basic (20%) taxpayers this equates to £1.20 per week (c. £60 per year) and for higher (40%) taxpayers this is £2.40 per week (c. £120 per year).
- You can apply directly to HMRC for this relief and as long as you're claiming relief on the equivalent of £6 per week for the period you worked from home, you won't have to provide evidence of the extra spending.
- You can find further information on how to claim the relief on the Money Saving Expert blog.
- The Financial Conduct Authority have confirmed the package of targeted temporary measures to help people with some of the most commonly used consumer credit products who are facing payment difficulties as a result of COVID-19.
- The measures came into force on 9 April 2020 and will apply by 14 April 2020.
- Further information can be found on the FCA website.
- For those whose form of employment means that they are unable to work from home, the Government has issued tailored guidance as to how social distancing and other measures can be implemented in different employment scenarios.
Guidance for those caring for the vulnerable
- The Government have issued guidance for those who provide unpaid care to family members or friends, providing advice about how to protect yourself and the person that you are caring for, particularly those who are ‘extremely vulnerable’.
- The Government have also confirmed that adoptive families will be offered emergency support, including online counselling and couples therapy, under the Adoption Support Fund, recognising that adoptive families have been experiencing greater stress due to children with attachment and trauma needs being isolated at home and having their routine disrupted. You can find further information here.
- The Challenging Behaviour Foundation, which focuses on children, young people and adults with severe learning difficulties, have published a detailed Information Sheet answering questions raised by families in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Information Sheet has been prepared by the charity’s Legal Panel and includes advice on rights to activities and routine for well-being, meeting health needs, and support around challenging behaviour.