Summary of current Covid-19 financial support schemes
LOCKDOWN NUMBER 2 (OR 3 DEPENDING WHERE YOU'RE BASED!)
Mainland Scotland entered another full lockdown on 5 January, with restrictions imposed on individuals and businesses alike. The purpose of this article is to provide a one-page summary of the main financial schemes currently available to businesses, whether via the Scottish Government or the UK one.
SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT FUNDS
We'll start with funds provided by the Scottish Government and delivered by local councils.
The Strategic Framework Business Fund has been running since Central Scotland entered harsher tier measures in early November but from Boxing Day applied Scotland-wide. This scheme provides two grants, the Temporary Closure Grant, for businesses that have been required to close by law, and the Business Restrictions Grant, for businesses that can remain open, but which have been required to modify operations by law. A good example of the latter during tier measures was the requirement on bars and restaurants to close early, or to not supply alcohol.
It is important to note that the grants are only available to businesses affected by the changes by law, not through personal choice, and which are registered for business rates. Effectively the grant relates to each premises, so it's possible for a business to claim multiple grants for separate premises, and these can be a mix of the two grants depending how each location is affected. There is also a list of business types that qualify and if your business is not on that list you cannot apply. The list can be found at the following link, which is part of the guidance package for this fund: SFBF Eligibility/Guidance.
Both grants need to be applied for through your local authority and once your application is accepted you should receive payments every 4 weeks, in arrears, for as long as restrictions last. Where the final period is less than 4 weeks the last payment will be restricted to only cover the affected weeks.
The official figures quoted of £1,400 to £3,000 per instalment are all per 4 week period but effectively they correspond to the following amounts per week:
- Temporary closure grant: £500 to £750 per week depending on rateable value (below or above £51,000)
- Business restrictions grant: £350 to £525 per week depending on rateable value (below or above £51,000)
The Scottish Government have also announced top-ups for the SFBF for eligible businesses in the following sectors: Hospitality, Non-Essential Retail, and Gyms. These businesses should apply for the SFBF grants as set out above, and should qualify for additional one-off sums of up to £3,000.
Creative freelancers can apply for funding from the Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers. This fund is run by Creative Scotland and more information can be found at this link HFCF Information.
Finally, there is a footnote within the SFBF guidance which states that they will publish details of support for mobile close contact services (e.g. mobile hairdressers) and driving instructors separately, although no further details or timescale are available at the date of writing (6 January).
UK GOVERNMENT FUNDS/SUPPORT
We have previously published articles on most of the main programmes so we'll just summarise these and provide links where available:
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), sometimes referred to as the furlough scheme, is the single most important fund available, supporting both businesses and their employees, where work is not possible or available due to the pandemic. The scheme is due to run until 30 April 2021 and more detail can be found here CJRS Scheme (December 2020).
- The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS). This scheme is a vital lifeline for qualifying self-employed individuals, although the qualifying conditions are based on historic results up to April 2019, and many have missed out as a result. More details can be found here SEISS (November 2020).
- The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Both government-backed loan schemes have been extended to 31 March 2021 and additional advances and payment holidays have also been made possible. More detail on BBLS can be found here General Covid-19 Support Update.
- Self-Assessment payment deferral. Subject to a number of conditions, self-assessment tax payments due on 31 January 2021 by individuals can be spread over up to 12 months via agreed instalment plans. More details can be found at this official link (deferral link). We are providing details for CMM clients who may wish to use this facility when sending out tax returns and payment reminders.
- VAT payment deferral. VAT payments due from 1 April to 30 June 2020 could be deferred until 31 March 2021. The balances deferred are now going to be able to be spread over a longer period from 31 March 2021 but we are still awaiting details as to how this will work.