Many companies and organisations are struggling to maintain their business operations in the current climate, especially small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). The Government has introduced a number of measures and grants to assist businesses in this challenging period
We have previously drawn attention to some of the measures available to businesses, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. In this article we focus on facilities and measures with a primary aim of helping cashflow and maintaining capital.
Loan Guarantee Schemes
The Government has introduced schemes where it will act as a guarantor to businesses seeking a loan. At the time of writing, there are three schemes which have the following criteria:
It is worth noting that the interest payments are dealt with differently in every scheme. The Government will pay the first 12 months of interest on behalf of a borrower under the BBLS and the CBLIS, but not the CLBLIS. Furthermore, commercial rates of interest apply to loans that use the CBLIS and CLBLIS, however, the applicable rate of interest to a loan using the BBLS will be 2.5% per annum.
The schemes are operated through accredited lenders, approved by the British Business Bank, which may vary for the BBLS, the CBLIS and the CLBLIS respectively. The number of accredited lenders is constantly updated it is advisable to check the lists provided by the British Business Banks, as per the above links. The schemes remain subject to the restrictions and security requirements of the loans offered by the lender. All companies and organisations, especially SMEs, are advised to review their debt position before applying for a loan under any of the available schemes.
The Future Fund is a scheme available to all UK-registered companies until the end of September 2020. The scheme allows the British Business Bank to invest with private investors into businesses that have raised more than £250,000.00 from private investment within the past 5 years and have third party investors willing to invest further.
The additional investment provided via the British Business Bank will be made by way of an unsecured bridging loan, with the following terms:
The Future Fund will certainly be useful to venture-capital supported start-up businesses.
Business Rate Relief
For the tax year 2020/2021, all UK registered companies and organisations involved in the retail, leisure or hospitality industries may benefit from business rates relief for the period of 12 months. The discount provided by this relief is automatically applied by the local council. If your business is involved in these industries, it is worth calculating your business rates here.
A list of other business rate relief discounts can be found here. Where companies and organisations are not involved in the retail, leisure or hospitality industries, it is worth reviewing the list and the eligibility criteria before making an application to your local council.
Grants for SMEs
The UK government is providing grants to SMEs. There are currently three grants available, each with their own eligibility criteria:
The Government has compiled all of its information with regard to financial support for businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak on its website, which can be found here.
The information contained in this article should not be taken to be legal advice. If you need further advice on the support available to your business and whether you are eligible to apply, please contact Arvin Bissessur, Solicitor in Axiom Stone’s Corporate and Commercial Department on 0203 827 6122 or email@example.com.