It would appear that ‘yes’ is the short answer, but…
Support for businesses through the COVID-19 outbreak
Now seems an excellent time to briefly remind everyone of what help is out there for businesses during what will undoubtably be difficult times. We’re publishing this on the morning of 17th March, expect an update within 24 hours!
Blu Sky help
Firstly, for clients, we’re here to help and are already working with more clients on modelling the potential impacts of trade closures, downturns and advising on potential strategies and actions. Remember that cash is king. All other services are running as business as usual.
HMRC ‘time to pay’ helpline
HMRC have launched a dedicated COVID-19 ‘time to pay’ helpline to (potentially) give support to businesses struggling to pay their taxes due to circumstances caused by the virus. This can be found on 0800 0159 559. As with the normal helpline, have your details and a potential plan together before you phone.
The new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) can loan up to £1.2m per business with the government guaranteeing 80% of any loss at no cost to the lender. A little like (and in fact replacing temporarily) the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) but it should be cheaper and easier to access. Most mainstream lenders are in the scheme.
There are restrictions, documented in more detail below: and there are still some refinements to the scheme to be confirmed, but what we know for now is as follows:
- You must be UK based
- Less than £41m turnover
- Not to have received de minimis state aid of more than E200,000 in the last 2 years (SEIS, SME R&D etc)
- Have a commercial borrowing proposal but with insufficient security for the lender
- Not be on the EFG ineligible sector list (almost all clients reading this will be OK there).
Loans should be a little cheaper anyway assuming lenders follow the half a percent reduction in the Bank of England base rate announced on the morning of the budget.
Around the edges, there’s been a little bit of tinkering with business rates, expect more in future.
A bit of a caveat here. This is based on…
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