The UK government has announced a package of additional financial support for businesses to help protect the economy in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak, said £330 billion will be made available in loans and guarantees to support UK businesses, and help them manage their cashflows. This includes:
- Government support for liquidity amongst large businesses – the Bank of England will launch a major new scheme to help them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cashflows through loans.
- An increase to the amount businesses can borrow through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £1.2 million to £5 million, with the first six months interest-free
- New legal powers in the Covid Bill will enable the government to offer businesses whatever further financial support they think is necessary
An additional £20 billion of business rates support and grant funding will also be made available to help the most-affected businesses. This includes:
- Giving all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months [see below for business rates holidays for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland].
- Increasing grants from £3,000 to £10,000 for small businesses eligible for the Small Business Rate Relief
- Further providing £25,000 grants to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises (with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000).
Rishi said: “We will do whatever it takes to protect our people and businesses from the effects of this global economic emergency brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The interventions I am setting out today will help support businesses of all sizes – so they can continue operating during these unprecedented times.”
Mortgage lenders have also agreed to offer payment holidays of up to three months for those affected by the coronavirus – this will give people the necessary time to recover, and ensure they do not have to pay a penny towards their mortgage in the interim, explained the government.
Over £3.5 billion in additional funding will also be provided to the devolved administrations for support to businesses in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Additional government support to businesses in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
The Welsh government has package of support worth more than £200 million for small businesses.
- Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or less will receive 100% business rates relief, while pubs with a rateable value of between £51,000 and £100,000 will receive a £5,000 reduction on their bill.
- A further £100 million will be available for a new grant scheme for small businesses [the Welsh government says details of this will be confirmed as soon as possible].
Scotland’s finance secretary Kate Forbes announced a £320m rescue package for Scottish businesses on 14 March. A £50 million hardship fund will also be made available to people who lose their jobs as a result of measures taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The following measures will be put in place to support businesses during the 2020-21 financial year:
- A 75% rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 from 1 April.
- An £80m fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of the coronavirus.
- A 1.6% rates relief for all properties across Scotland.
- And a fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from 1 April.
On 17 March, Northern Ireland’s finance minister Conor Murphy announced a £100 million rates package to help businesses affected by the coronavirus in Northern Ireland, with all businesses receiving a three-month rates holiday.