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Here at Crawfords, we understand the current situation for businesses is incredibly uncertain and, as your accountants, you’ll be relying on our support now more than ever. With that in mind, we wanted to take the time to update you on how we’ve adapted to the changing conditions and answer any questions you may have about your access to Government support.

We have taken all the required steps to ensure everything continues to run smoothly and have adapted our systems to allow all staff to work from home with minimal interference to their workload.

While this has been challenging in many ways, we understand how important having the best-possible financial advice during a situation like this is, which is why we’ve worked night and day to guarantee we’re able to continue operating as normal with no disruption to our service, whether all your information is in the cloud or you’re paper-based.

Of course, just because we have adapted to this changing situation it doesn’t mean we’re resting on our laurels. The team is constantly seeking new methods to refine processes and provide even better support to your business.

As well as adapting to working from home, we’ve also kept a close eye on all Government announcements and acted quickly to ensure we have a complete understanding of the support available to you in this time. We’re here to help you take advantage of all the assistance available to you, so you can emerge from this change stronger than ever before.

Government support for businesses during COVID-19 FAQ

The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)

The RHLGF is a grant designed to help businesses operating in specific sectors which have been completely closed down due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Cash grants are available for each property the business owns and operate from. Those with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000, while those with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000. Businesses with a rateable value over £51,000 are not eligible.

Some of our clients have already received the grants, and we can provide the advice you need to ensure you receive the maximum amount available to you.

If you are eligible you should be contacted automatically by your local authority. However, if you are not contacted and feel you should be eligible you can contact us for assistance in following this up.

Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF)

The Small Business Grant Fund is a fund set up to provide grants for small businesses which are entitled to small business rates relief.

A grant of £10,000 will be paid to small businesses that already pay reduced business rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR). SBRR is automatically applied to business properties with a total net annual value below £15,000. Many of our clients have already received this grant.

If you are eligible you should be contacted by your local authority. Some businesses, however, may not be contacted. If you haven’t been contacted and feel like you should be eligible for a Small Business Grant, you should follow this up or contact us for advice.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

The CBILS provides government-backed loans of up to £5million for small and medium businesses. As part of this scheme, the government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays all interest and fees for the first 12 months, providing your business with the breathing room it needs to recover.

There are over 50 lenders participating in this scheme, including all the main retail banks.

Businesses based in the UK with turnover up £45million are eligible to apply for this, you will need to demonstrate your business would be viable if not for the pandemic and the business has been adversely impacted by COVID-19.

You can apply for these loan’s through the lender’s website. We will be able to advise you on if this is the right move for your business and provide total support through the application process.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)

A Bounce Back Loan is an easy to apply for, government-backed loan of up to £50,000 which has no interest or repayments due for the first 12 months, giving you the freedom required to get back on your feet.

This is a limited scheme which ends on 4th November 2020, so acting fast is imperative.

To apply for a loan, companies must self-declare they meet the eligibility criteria and make certain confirmations. The criteria businesses must meet to be eligible are:

  • The company is a UK limited company or partnership, or tax resident in the UK, that was carrying on business on 1 March 2020.
  • More than 50% of the company’s income is derived from its trading activity.
  • The loan will not be used for personal purposes but as an economic benefit for the business.
  • To confirm the companies’ understanding of losses that may be incurred, impact on credit rating, reduced consumer protection and that the lender will not assess affordability.
  • The company is not bankrupt, debt restructuring proceedings or in liquidation.

The BBLS charges a flat rate 2.5% interest after the first 12 months. If you have already taken out a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan of £50,000 or less, you can apply to have these switched over to this generous new scheme.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been designed to support self-employed individuals with grants worth up to 80% of your profits up to a maximum £2,500 per month. These grants are based on your average profits over the last three years and are taxable.

All eligible individuals will be contacted by HMRC regarding this scheme and given a date and time to apply. Applications open on 13th May, with the earliest payments expected to arrive starting 21st May.

Eligibility requires meeting the following criteria:

  • You must have filed a tax return for 2018/19. This means you must have been self-employed prior to 6 April 2019. You must earn more than 50% of your total income from self-employment. This must have been the case for either your 2018/19 tax return or, if not, the average of your 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 tax returns.
  • Your average trading profit must be less than £50,000/year. This must have been the case for either your 2018/19 tax return or, if not, the average of your 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 tax returns. If on average over the three years you earned less than £50,000 and made more than half your income from self-employment, you’ll still be eligible.

If you meet the eligibility criteria and have not been contacted, you should follow up with HMRC.

Job Retention Scheme (Furloughing)

The Job Retention Scheme has been designed to help companies seeing a drop in business retain staff who would have otherwise been made redundant, minimising job losses and allowing you to quickly get back to full capacity as the situation improves.

Most clients are aware of this scheme and have been assisted by us with the process. The scheme started from 1st March 2020 and has recently been extended by four months, allowing businesses to use it until October if required.

Currently, furloughed employees are unable to complete work for the company while on furlough, although this is set to change from July and you do have the freedom to remove people from furlough and change employee status as required.

Alongside employees, company directors who receive salaries through Pay as You Earn (PAYE) are eligible for furlough.

When an employee is placed on furlough, the government will cover 80% of their salary up to £2,500 per month.

Contact us for support

If your business requires advice on navigating through COVID-19 or you’re unsure about funding you may be eligible for, you can contact our team of Chartered Accountants today on 0161 828 1000.

We wish everyone the best of luck during these trying circumstances. Remember, our team is always here to support you.