As the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow in the UK, so too do the concerns of startup founders and small technology business owners across the country. In these uncertain times, the government has promised to assist with the financial burdens that have already impacted many businesses. But what is the UK government doing to help startups and small technology businesses that fuel our economy?
The government announced £330bn of business loans to be made available— equivalent to 15% percent of UK GDP. Businesses will be able to apply for up to £5million with the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan – a scheme by the British Business Bank. The government can cover up to 80% of any losses with no fees. The first 6 months will be interest-free, as the government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments. Lloyds Banking Group have also made a £2 billion fund available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, as well as Natwest who are funding £5 billion and Barclays with £7 billion. The scheme is now open for applications. To apply, contact your bank or one of the 40 accredited finance providers (not the British Business Bank).
Businesses with less than 250 employees will be able to reclaim the cost of 14 days of sick pay. This will give 2 million businesses, up to £2 billion to cover large-scale sick leave. However, the government has cautioned that they may have to wait months for reimbursement as they are yet to set up a repayment mechanism.
A new helpline has been launched in order to offer advcice to those in financial distress, for both businesses and the self-employed. With this, businesses may setup a ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement to help with outstanding tax liabilities and receive support with their tax affairs. To contact them in response to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
Employers who cannot cover staffing costs, due to COVID-19 will be able to access support in a bid to avoid redundancies. With the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employers they will be able to classify staff as ‘a furloughed worker’. Furloughed workers can be kept on their employer’s payroll, rather than being laid off. Employers can claim up to 80% of wages with a cap of £2,500 per month. To do this, affected employees will need to be notified, you can them submit information about furloughed employees and their earnings through the new online portal which is yet to be launched.
The smallest businesses in the country will be able to seek cash grants worth £10,000. A grant worth £25,000 will also be available for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that operate from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. Small businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief will be contacted by their local authority and need not apply. The funding will be provided in early April.
VAT payments due from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020 have been deferred automatically for all businesses. Businesses will have now until 5 April 2021 to pay the deferred VAT and VAT repayments and refunds will be processed as normal.
All details are accurate as per the time of posting. For ongoing updates on how the government are helping small business, please go to the Government website.
In times like these, we as a community need to stick together for the better of everyone around us. 360Leaders is working with the 360Network to do everything hummanily possible to support the technology eco-system and ensure that the livelihood of millions of people are protected at this time.
For information and advice on hiring during the pandemic, please contact me at [email protected]