Latest updates on COVID-19 support for businesses

With thousands of people in the UK being vaccinated against COVID-19 each day, many business owners across the country are hoping they can return to being fully open and operational again very soon. However, with the latest lockdown likely to last many more weeks with a gradual easing of restrictions staggered over the weeks that follow, a return to normal trading for many businesses could be some time off.

In this blog, we provide an update on the available support and latest information for businesses navigating their way through the pandemic and current lockdown.

Lockdown grants for closed businesses

Latest updates on COVID-19 support for businesses - clipboard with coronavirus update text beside stethoscope and plant

The latest lockdown has caused further struggles for businesses that have had to remain closed for months. The government's Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG) helps businesses that have been required to close due to national restrictions.

Businesses that were open as usual, but then required to close between 5 November and 2 December, or from 5 January 2021 onwards, due to national restrictions imposed by the government, may be eligible for a cash grant.

 Your business may be eligible if it:

  • Is based in England
  • Occupies property on which it pays business rates (and is the ratepayer)
  • Has been required to close because of the national restrictions from 5 January 2021 onwards, or between 5 November and 2 December 2020
  • Has been unable to provide its usual in-person customer service from its premises

Examples of what this includes could be non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities, tourism and hospitality businesses. There are exceptions so we recommend that you contact a professional, such as AMR Bookkeeping Solutions, for further help and advice.

Job Retention Scheme

More commonly known as the furlough scheme, the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended once again and is now due to expire on 30 April 2021. Take a look at our recent blog Get answers to FAQs about the extension to furlough and self-employed income support schemes for further information.

Be aware that claims have the following deadlines:

Claims for furlough days in January 2021 must be made by 15 February 2021.

You can no longer submit claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.

You can find out more about the current rules and regulations for furlough on the government's website here.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

Applications for the latest available grant are now closed. However, details about the fourth grant will be announced on 3 March 2021. Keep an eye on the government's website for updates and further information after this date.

VAT Deferral

Last year, the government allowed VAT-registered businesses to defer VAT payments until a later date. If you deferred VAT between 20 March and 30 June 2020 and still have payments to make, you will need to pay the deferred VAT in full by 31 March 2021.

The good news is the government will be launching a new payment scheme for VAT in early 2021. You will need to opt in online when the scheme becomes available. This scheme will allow you make up to 11 smaller monthly instalments, interest free, instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021. All instalments must be paid by the end of March 2022.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Small or medium-sized enterprises or self-employed people can get loans and other finance of up to £5 million if they are based in the UK and have a turnover of £45 million or less per year. To qualify, your business must be considered viable by a lender if it wasn't for the pandemic and must have been negatively affected by coronavirus. This scheme is open until 31 March 2021.

Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

If you are a small or medium-size enterprise, or you're self-employed, then you might be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 without having to make any repayments or pay any fees or interest for the first 12 months. You will qualify if your business is based in the UK, was established before 1 March 2020 and has been negatively affected by the pandemic. The scheme is open until 31 March 2021.

If you need further information or advice about what you might be entitled to then we are here to help.  Please give us a call on 01892 559480, or get in touch via our online enquiry form.

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