COVID-19 Government support schemes

On 3 March 2021, the government announced a range of schemes to help businesses during challenging times and support the re-start of the economy once lockdown is eased.
We’ve compiled a summary of the support available to SMEs and how to access.

On 3 March 2021, the government announced a range of schemes to help businesses during challenging times and support the re-start of the economy once lockdown is eased. 
We’ve compiled a summary of the support available to SMEs and how to access.

This information was last updated on 19 April 2021

This information is not intended to be comprehensive, and many details which may be relevant to particular circumstances have been omitted. We take no responsibility for the consequences of errors or omissions. This document is and should be treated as a helpful guidance, is offered on non-reliance basis and does not constitute legal or other advice. Please seek independent advice by your preferred providers for any of the matters mentioned in this document, if you are considering them for your business.

Finance for businesses

Recovery Loan Scheme

The Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) launched on 6 April 2021 and supports access to finance for UK businesses as they recover and grow following the COVID-19 pandemic. RLS is designed to support businesses affected by COVID-19, that can afford to take out additional finance for business purposes such as managing cashflow, investment and growth.

The scheme is open to businesses who have taken out a CBILS, CLBILS or BBLS facility. It'll run until 31 December 2021, subject to review.

We're accredited for RLS via the British Business Bank.

For more information about how RLS applies to our asset finance products, click here.

Grants for businesses

Small Business Grant Funding

Small businesses can benefit from one-off £10,000 grant, funded via Local Authorities, to help meet on-going business costs. This scheme is for small businesses benefiting from the small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief.
Your local authority will contact you directly if you are eligible for this grant.


Closed Business Lockdown Payment (CBLP)

The Closed Business Lockdown Payment (CBLP) launched in January 2021 to support businesses required to close during the lockdown that started 5 January 2021.
One-off top-up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses of up to £9,000 per property, are now available to help business.

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000


To find out more about the grant and eligibility, go to gov.co.uk.


Re-start grants

From April 2021, a £5bn scheme to support the high street relaunch trading, will see businesses being eligible for Re-Start grants. The grants will be distributed by local authorities.

  • Non-essential businesses to receive grants of £6,000 per premise
  • Hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses to receive grants of up to £18,000


To find out more about the grants, go to gov.co.uk.


“Help to Grow” Scheme  

Starting in the Autumn
A £520m scheme is launching to support 130,000 small and medium-sized businesses access management training, technology advice and discounted software. 
The government will offer:

  • Help to Grow Management: supporting 90% of the cost of dedicated programmes from business schools.
  • Help to Grow Digital: supporting 50 % of the cost of new software and tech to help businesses with digital skills.


Register your interest at helptogrow.campaign.gov.uk/ from today.

Employment support

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme  

Extended to 30 September 2021 
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allows UK employers to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary, for those who would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

The scheme is open to all UK employers with a PAYE scheme– this includes the public sector, local authorities and charities.

Affected employees are known as “furloughed workers”. Furloughed staff will receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a monthly maximum of £2,500.

This is currently paid by the government – from July 2021, employers will be expected to pay 10% of the 80%, rising to 20% in August and September.

To find out more about the scheme and eligibility, go to gov.co.uk.


Self-employment Income Support Scheme Grant

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant provides critical support to the self-employed. Grants are paid in lump sum instalments, each covering a three-month period. The first and second grants have already been released and applications for the third grant (for business impacted between 1 November 2021 and 29 January 2021) are now closed.

  • Fourth grant, covering Feb-April – to be claimed from late April

    This grant in available to:

    • Self-employed individuals who have filed a 2019- 20 Self-Assessment tax return.


With this fourth grant, an additional 600,000 individuals may now be eligible for SEISS, including many new to self-employment in 2019-20.
All other eligibility criteria will remain the same as the third grant.

  • Fifth grant - covering May until September - to be claimed from late July

    The value of the grant will be based on turnover levels:

    • People whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more, will continue to receive the full grant worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500
    • People whose turnover has fallen less than 30%, will receive 30% grant, capped at £2,850


To find out more about the scheme and eligibility, go to gov.co.uk.


Statutory Sick Pay Rebate

Employers can recover the statutory sick pay (SSP), that they pay to current or former employees for sickness leave related to COVID-19.
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme repays employers the current rate of statutory sick pay for periods of sickness that started on or after 13 March 2020. The repayment covers up to 2 weeks starting from the first day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they either:

  • Have Coronavirus
  • Cannot work because they are self-isolating at home
  • Are shielding because they’ve been advised that they’re at high risk of severe illness


If you’re an employer who pays more than the current rate of SSP, you can only claim the current rate amount.

  • The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:
  • Full-time employees
  • Part-time employees
  • Employees on agency contracts
  • Employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts


To find out more about the scheme and eligibility, go to gov.co.uk.


Traineeships

A £1,000 bonus is available to businesses who hire trainees. This applies to businesses who offer work placements and training for 16-24 year olds, in the 2021/2022 academic year. The eligibility for traineeships has been expended to those with Level 3 qualifications and below, to ensure that more young people have access to high quality training and work experience.

To find out more about the scheme and eligibility, go to gov.co.uk.


Apprenticeships

From 1 April 2021 until 30 September 2021. The payment made to employers will increase to £3,000 per new apprentice hire, regardless of age. This applies to employers in England. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the government provides for all new 16-18 year old apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan, where that applies.

To find out more about the scheme and eligibility, go to gov.co.uk.

Tax

Super deduction tax

From 1 April 2021
Businesses looking to invest in plant and machinery can now benefit from the Super Deduction Tax. The relief means that for qualifying expenditures, businesses can claim:

  • A super-deduction providing allowances of 130% on most new plant and machinery investments that ordinarily qualify for 18% main rate writing down allowances
  • A first-year allowance of 50% on most new plant and machinery investments that ordinarily qualify for 6% special rate writing down allowances


These measures allow businesses to write off the cost of capital goods against taxable income to encourage investment in assets. Exclusions including cars, second-hand assets and assets held for leasing apply.

To find out more about the scheme and eligibility, go to gov.co.uk.

 

Time to Pay 

A Time to Pay Arrangement with HMRC is a debt repayment plan for outstanding taxes - such as Corporation Tax, VAT and/or PAYE. It’s available to businesses and self-employed people struggling to make their next tax payments, due to Coronavirus.

Arrangements are made directly with HMRC and agreed on a case-by-case basis. Repayments can be spread out over 6-12 months.
You will be eligible if:

  • Your business pays tax to the UK Government
  • Your business has outstanding tax liabilities


To find out more about the scheme and eligibility, go to gov.co.uk


VAT deferral new payment scheme 

The VAT deferral new payment scheme is aimed at businesses who took advantage of the original VAT deferral, on VAT returns from 20 March through to the end of June 2020. These businesses can now use the new payment scheme to pay the differed VAT in up to eleven equal payments from March 2021, rather than one larger payment due by 31 March 2021. The new scheme lets you:

  • Pay your deferred VAT in equal instalments, interest free.
  • Choose the number of instalments, from 2 to 11 (depending on when you join).


To find out more about the scheme and eligibility, go to gov.co.uk