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A few weeks ago we shared news of Business Technology Support Grants being offered by the Government via Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

As predicted, our local LEP, Boost Business Lancashire was flooded with applications for a slice of the £1.5m pot and within a week it closed its doors, having over 1,000 applications to contend with.

The demand reinforced just how much small businesses need monetary support at this time, and while this particular pot of money may well be allocated, it’s good to know what else is available to your business right now if you’re not already in the know:

  1. Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

Announced by the Government in May, the CBILS loan offers a cheaper way of borrowing for businesses hit by the effects of coronavirus.

The Government isn’t offering this money directly. It has instead chosen to give this to over 50 accredited lenders to deliver. You should approach a suitable lender yourself via the lender’s website.

The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 month.

You need to show that your business:

Would be viable were it not for the pandemic

Has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus

If you want to borrow £30,000 or more, you also need to confirm that your business wasn’t classed as a business in difficulty on 31 December 2019.

The CBILS scheme is currently only in place until the end of September 2020. But this may be extended by the government which has said there is no maximum limit set for the amount of total lending supported through the scheme. So, keep your eyes peeled.

  1. Kick Start scheme (starting next month)

Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

This is part of the government’s Plan for Jobs and aims to create hundreds and thousands of new, fully funded jobs across England, Scotland and Wales. The first placements are likely to be available from November.

Funding will cover for each job placement:

  • 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week
  • the associated employer National Insurance contributions
  • employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions

There will also be extra funding to support young people to build their experience and help them move into sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart Scheme funded job.

  1. One off furlough £1k bonus, payable in February

Also part of the Plan for Jobs 2020 programme, £1,000 bonuses are available to employers who bring workers back from furlough and retain them in employment until the end of January 2021 in a bid to retain jobs. The bonus will be paid from February 2021.

The policy paper makes it clear that bonuses will only be paid for employees that were eligible for the scheme.  HMRC will withhold payment where it believes there is a risk that furlough claims may have been fraudulently claimed or inflated, until their enquiries are completed.

If you need any advice regarding your business finances at this time, please don’t hesitate to take advantage of our free 30-minute phone or video call. Email Martin@fwordfinance.co.uk to book your call.