Key links to resources for Businesses
Support finder tool
This online platform from the Government helps businesses easily access the financial support they are eligible for during the coronavirus pandemic.
A simple questionnaire, which should take just minutes to complete, will signpost you to relevant government financial support.
Access the tool here.
Recovery Loan Scheme
Announced in the 2021 Budget, the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) provides financial support to businesses across the UK as they recover and grow following the coronavirus pandemic.
You can apply to the scheme if Covid-19 has affected your business. You can use the finance for any legitimate business purpose – including managing cashflow, investment and growth. However, you must be able to afford to take out additional debt finance for these purposes.
This is a scheme for businesses of any size and replaces the previous Coronavirus loan schemes. Loans are up to £10m per business and the Government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender.
The scheme launched on Tuesday 6th April and will be open until 31st December 2021, subject to review.
More information can be found here.
Help to Grow: Management
Announced in the 2021 Budget, this scheme enables small businesses to access a 12 week-programme delivered by leading business schools across the UK. The programme will combine a practical curriculum, with 1-2-1 support from a business mentor, peer-learning sessions and an alumni network.
Designed to be manageable alongside full-time work, the programme will support small business leaders to develop their strategic skills with key modules covering financial management, innovation and digital adoption. By the end of the programme participants will develop a tailored business growth plan to lead their business to its full potential.
30,000 places will be available over 3 years. The programme is 90% subsidised by government – participants will be charged £750.
You can find out more and register your interest here.
Help to Grow: Digital
Announced in the 2021 Budget, this scheme is due to be up and running in Autumn 2021. It waill enable small businesses to get free impartial advice on how technology can boost their performance through a new online platform.
Eligible businesses will also be able to get a discount of up to 50% on the costs of approved software, worth up to £5,000. Vouchers are initially expected to be available for software that helps businesses:
– build customer relationships and increase sales
– make the most of selling online
– manage their accounts and finances digitally
Find out more and register your interest here.
Government Job Retention Scheme and Furloughing
We have a page dedicated to information on this scheme which can be found here.
In July 2020, the Chancellor announced the Kickstart Scheme as part of the Government’s wider Plan for Jobs. The Scheme, which is available in England, Scotland and Wales, aims to create jobs for young people aged 16 - 24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.
Employers will receive funding for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions for providing 6-month placements. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.
Eligibility and how to apply
Any organisation, regardless of size, can apply for the Scheme.
The job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs. They must not:
– replace existing or planned vacancies
– cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment
Find out more about how the Scheme works and how to make an application here.
In January 2021 we announced that Pact would be partnering with DiVA to offer our members the opportunity to take part in the Kickstart Scheme via a joint application. Find out more about it here.
The deadline for Pact members to apply to be a part of the joint application was Wednesday 10th February 2021.
Additional Restrictions Grant Scheme
In April 2021, the Government topped up funding for the ongoing Additional Restrictions Grant Scheme for councils in England to distribute to businesses in particularly urgent need of additional support.
Find out more and check eligibility for grants here.
Government business support helplines
Contact the Government’s business support helplines for free advice. Find contact details for the England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland helplines here.
Workforce Testing Programme in NI
The NI Department of Health has made available workforce testing for any business with more than 50 employees who cannot work from home.
More information about the programme can be found here.
HMRC Webinar Series
HMRC is running a series of webinars to help people learn more about the Government’s Coronavirus support schemes.
- Running your business through the coronavirus pandemic
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
Webinars are recorded and can be viewed here.
You can also register for upcoming sessions on the same page.
Corporate Financing Facility for larger businesses
What is it: the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies affected by a short-term funding squeeze, allowing them to finance short-term liabilities.
Eligibility: All UK businesses are eligible to apply.
How to access it: More information can be found on the Bank of England website.
Creative industry tax credits: how to claim efficiently
If you are waiting for payment from any of the creative sector tax credits from the government the following information may help speed up your application process:
- HMRC aim to review and process claims received swiftly. The majority of claims are generally reviewed and processed within 30 days. However, this timescale is not always possible for a variety of reasons. Some claims may require a more detailed review, there may be computations or other information missing when the claim is submitted, which will build in delay. HMRC will always try to resolve any concerns as quickly as possible.
- To reduce any potential delay companies and their tax advisors should ensure that they are submitting their claims with all information necessary for HMRC to assess the claim. This includes completion of the CT600 tax Return, cultural certificate from the BFI, statutory accounts and computations for the claim.
- Companies can contact HMRC's specialist creative industry tax reliefs unit here.
If you need to contact the unit please wait 28 days after submitting your claim (31st March accounting period is particularly busy for accounts submissions). You should also follow up with your accountant, if you have one, as the accountant is usually the one corresponding with HMRC on any issues.
Support for reclaiming Statutory Sick Pay
What is it: legislation to allow SMEs to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The refund covers up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19.
Eligibility: You can use the scheme as an employer if:
- you’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus.
- you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28th February 2020.
- you had fewer than 250 employees on 28th February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes.
You can claim for periods of sickness starting on or after:
- 13th March 2020 - if your employee had coronavirus or the symptoms or is self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms.
- 16th April 2020 - if your employee was shielding because of coronavirus.
How to access it: The mechanism for recliaming SSP opened on Tuesday 26th May 2020. After making an application employers will receive the money within six working days. Find out more and make an application here.
- Extension for filing accounts
Relaxed rules on carrying over annual leave
Towards the end of March 2020 the government announced it would be relaxing its rules on carrying over annual leave in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
Currently, almost all workers are entitled to 28 days holiday including bank holidays each year. However, most of this entitlement cannot be carried between leave years, meaning workers lose their holiday if they do not take it.
There is also an obligation on employers to ensure their workers take their statutory entitlement in any one year – failure to do so could result in a financial penalty.
The announced changes, which amend the Working Time Regulations, allow up to four weeks of unused leave to be carried into the next two leave years, easing the requirements on business to ensure that workers take statutory amount of annual leave in any one year.
This law applies for any holiday the employee or worker does not take because of coronavirus, for example if:
- they’re self-isolating or too sick to take holiday before the end of their leave year
- they’ve had to continue working and could not take paid holiday
Although primarily put in place to help key workers within the economy, all businesses are able to take advantage of this change.
More information can be found here.
The ACAS website also has a very helpful section on holiday pay here, which the Government is itself directing people to.
Nations and Regions
Businesses may also be able to access specific support in their own area. Please see our Nations and Regions COVID-19 support page for more information.
Tax: Time to Pay Services
What is it: support with tax affairs if you may be unable to pay an upcoming tax liability.
Eligibility: all businesses and individuals are eligible to apply for support.
How to access it: If you have missed a tax payment or are concerned you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, you can call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559.
Arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
Business Interruption Loan Scheme for SMEs *NOW CLOSED*
What is it: support primarily for SMEs through access to bank lending and overdrafts. These loans will be interest free for 12 months.
Eligibility: You are eligible for the scheme if
- you are a UK-based business
- your turnover is no more than £45m per year
- you meet the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria
How to access it: You should talk to your bank or finance provider as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them.
**CBILS closed for new applications on 31st March 2021.**
Support for businesses that pay little or no business rate *NOW CLOSED*
What is it: a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.
Eligibility: You must be…
- already receiving small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief (RRR)
- a business that occupies a property
How to access it: You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant. Government guidance for the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) can be found here.
Bounce Back Loan Scheme *NOW CLOSED*
What is it?
The Government's Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses affected by COVID-19 to apply for loans of up to £50,000. The Government guarantees 100% of the loan and there aren't any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.
You can apply for a loan if your business:
- is based in the UK
- has been negatively affected by coronavirus
- was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty' on 31st December 2019
How to apply
More information can be found here.
**The BBLS closed to new applications and applications for Top-ups on 31st March 2021.**
Business Interruption Loans Scheme for large businesses (CLBILS) *NOW CLOSED*
A government-backed loan scheme for large businesses affected by coronavirus.
More information about the Scheme and eligibility can be found here.
**The scheme closed to applications on 31st March 2021.**
- Support finder tool
Please note: Government guidance is changing all the time and whilst we are doing everything we can to keep our information up to date we advise you to look carefully at the date that it was posted/last updated. Please also keep checking your e-mails from Pact for the most up to date announcements and information.