Help and adviceBourne Space

The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on UK businesses.

Reduced customer demand, supply chain impacts and the need for social distancing regulations have all hit companies hard and continue to do so.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a raft of measures to help businesses and employees earlier in March.

Here’s a run-down of all the help available and what you need to do to access it?

The COVID-19 Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

The CBILS scheme was announced when the UK was placed in lockdown on March 23 and is in place to help businesses access lending and overdrafts.

Businesses can access support loans of up to £5million, with companies turning over up to £45million eligible.

Cash is king during times like these and if your company has experienced lost or deferred revenues and cash flow disruption, the scheme offers:

  • Term loans
  • Overdraft facilities
  • Invoice finance
  • Asset finance

The government will also:

  • Provide an 80% guarantee against the outstanding loan amount
  • Pay interest and fees on loans for 12 months

Changes to the scheme in April, meanwhile, mean that lenders have been stopped from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000, meaning the CBILS scheme is open to even more businesses than it was when launched.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme

Smaller companies either unable to apply for or put off by the red tape of the CBILS might have thought they’d been left out of the Chancellor’s support schemes.

But Mr Sunak confirmed at the end of April that smaller businesses would be able to apply for a ‘micro’ loan under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

If your business is based in the UK, has been adversely affected by COVID-19 and was not in difficulty at the end of 2019, you should be eligible for the loans, which are:

  • Between £2,000 and £50,000 up to 25% of business turnover
  • 100% guaranteed by the government
  • Repayment free for the first 12 months
  • Interest and fee-free for the first 12 months
  • Available for terms up to six years

The micro loans have been available since the beginning of May and applicants just need to fill in a short online form.

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)

For larger businesses needing larger financial support, the CLBILS scheme offers loans of up to £50million.

The other details of the CLBILS loans are:

  • Businesses with a turnover of between £45million and £250million can apply for a loan of up to £25million
  • Businesses with turnovers that exceed £250million can apply for loans of up to £50million

Lending under the scheme is similar to the CBILS support and is available as a loan, overdraft, invoice finance or asset finance.

However, the CLBILS scheme does not offer businesses an interest or fee-free loan and those companies who take out the loans are 100% responsible for the debt from day one.

The Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF)

Companies who pay business rates on premises with a rateable value of up to £15,000 can apply for a coronavirus support grant of up to £10,000.

And leisure or hospitality businesses affected by the crisis, with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 can claim a grant of up to £25,000.

Companies that don?t have a rateable value, meanwhile, can also apply for support – as we outlined in our blog post earlier in May.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

For the first time in history, the government is now paying employee wages while the COVID-19 crisis plays out.

In a bid to save jobs and limit redundancies due to the pandemic, the government is paying 80% of the wages of employees on the scheme who are being furloughed but kept on their company’s payroll.

The scheme:

  • Sees the government pay 80% of an employee’s wage while they are on furlough leave
  • Covers the employee’s furlough wage up to a maximum of £2,500 per month
  • Covers wages backdated until March 1, 2020

In order to qualify for the scheme, employees must:

  • Have been on a company’s payroll on or before March 19, 2020
  • Have enrolled for PAYE online
  • Have a UK bank account

Any company with a UK payroll is eligible for the scheme.


The Chancellor confirmed on March 12 that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme would be extended until the end of October.

Mr Sunak had already confirmed the scheme would run until at least the end of May and extended this until the end of June in April.

From the end of July until the end of October, employers will be able to bring back furloughed staff part-time while sharing some of the cost of their 80% wage.

Find out more about the scheme here.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

In March, the Chancellor announced that SSP would be paid to workers self-isolating due to COVID-19 – even if they had no symptoms.

And in a support measure for businesses, Mr Sunak revealed the government would help smaller businesses pay SSP by refunding eligible costs.

  • Refunds are limited to two weeks SSP per employee
  • Any employer with fewer than 250 employees is eligible
  • Employers can reclaim expenses for any employee who claims SSP as a result of coronavirus

Self-employed workers

Self-employed workers were initially left out of support provided by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, but the Chancellor followed by confirming the government would cover 80% of average monthly profits.

The scheme, like the job retention scheme, offers monthly pay up to £2,500.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Have a trading profit no greater than £50,000 for the 2018-19 tax year, or an average trading profit of no greater than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
  • Make most of your income from self-employment
  • Have submitted your tax return for 2018-19

Self-employed workers can also defer their self-assessment income tax payments, due in July, until January 2021 and are able to access Universal Credit in full, too.

Sole company directors who pay themselves a mixture of salary and company dividends will have their salary covered by the scheme as long as they operate PAYE.

Deferred VAT payments

Alongside the various support schemes, VAT payments for Q2 2020 have been deferred.

That means no VAT is due to HMRC until June and businesses have until the end of the financial year 2020-21 to repay.

Time to Pay agreements

Businesses struggling to meet tax liabilities can speak to HMRC about a ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement, which sees a time-limited deferral period put in place for tax owed.

For more information on Time to Pay, call the HMRC helpline.

Our commitment to our clients

We’ve already helped companies operating from our serviced office spaces in Bournemouth secure more than £200,000 in financial support under the government’s business support schemes.