07801 250 668secretary@uckfieldchamber.co.uk

As a bookkeeping practice, we’re used to working very closely with our clients, who often rely on us to keep them informed about topical news and updates regarding tax and accounts. With the barrage of recent updates being issued from the government during the COVID-19 crisis we are having to respond quickly to support our clients and keep them up to date.

In our last blog for UCC we reported on our regular Keep in Touch Zoom meetings which we are presenting weekly to support local businesses through the COVID-19 crisis. Our latest topic centred around grants and government backed loans now available to assist small businesses with the financial impact of the current lockdown.

Having spoken to many business owners over the past few weeks it appears there are still some proprietors who are unaware of the funding available to them. Free cash in the form of grants is available to the following business sectors.

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
• The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.
• Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of £15,000 and under will receive a grant of £10,000.
• Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

Cash Grants for businesses that pay little or no business rates
• The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief.
• This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

A grant is a cash gift and, unlike a loan, will not need to be repaid. Applications should be made through your local authority website and will take 5 minutes of your time; for any Wealden based businesses you can apply HERE. All that is required are your business name and address and your rates reference number which can be found on your rates bill. If you are unsure about whether you are eligible for the grant schemes you can check your rateable value HERE.

In addition to the above grants, the government recently announced its Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme or CBILS for short.

Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
• The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will support SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years.
• The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.
• The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to pre-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the government-owned British Business Bank.
• There are around 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks.

You are eligible for the scheme if:
• your business is UK based, with turnover of no more than £45 million per year
• your business meets the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria

How to access the scheme
• The scheme is now open for applications. All major banks are offering this scheme.
• To apply, you should talk to your bank or one of the accredited finance providers (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible, to discuss your business plan. You can find out the latest on the best ways to contact them via their websites. Please note that branches may currently be shut down to enable social distancing.
• The full rules of the scheme and the list of accredited lenders are available on the British Business Bank website.

If you are looking to apply for a CBILS loan the first place to start is always your own bank. Be prepared with as much financial information as you can such as your last 3 years filed accounts, up to date management accounts for the current year and a cashflow forecast. Don’t give up if you are refused by your own bank as there are many other options available to you.

In addition to the above grants and loans there are many other financial support schemes available. Please feel free to contact Team4Solutions if you would like further information.

We would be pleased to invite local businesses to join us for our weekly Zoom updates. If this is of interest to you please forward your contact details to claire@team4bookkeeping.co.uk