In this week’s budget, the chancellor announced a number of financial initiatives to help SMEs bounce back following a turbulent twelve months.
Financial opportunities to help you grow your business include:
Help to Grow Scheme – introduced
This scheme aims to support small and medium sized businesses by providing digital and management tools and training. Business can apply for a £5000 voucher to cover the cost of approved software, and access free expert training.
The software should be used to help build customer relationships and increase sales; make the most of selling online; or help your business to manage your accounts and finances digitally.
UK businesses from any sector are eligible; however, you must meet the following criteria:
• Have been trading for more than 12 months.
• Have between 5 to 249 employees.
• Be registered at Companies House.
• Must be purchasing the discounted software for the first time.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – continued
It was welcome news that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will continue. Along with offering a fourth and fifth grant, those who became self-employed in 2019/20, may now be able to benefit from a grant under SEISS.
The fourth grant will run from February until April and cover up to 80 percent of three months’ trading profits up to £7500. The fifth grant will run from May to September. If your self-employed turnover has fallen by 30 percent or more, you can apply for the 80 percent grant, but if your self-employed turnover has fallen by less than 30 percent, then you’ll get a 30 percent grant.
However, self-employed company directors who pay themselves in dividends rather than PAYE are excluded from this support.
Furlough until end of September – extended
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), or furlough as it’s known, has been extended until September.
This support will be tapered, and employers are expected to pay 10 percent towards the hours their staff don’t work in July, increasing to 20 percent in August and September, as the economy gradually reopens.
Business Rates Holiday – extended
The business rates holiday in England has also been extended for an additional three months.
For firms in England, including 750,000 retail, hospitality and leisure properties, the rates holiday will continue until June. Further relief is available for the rest of the year with a proposed 75 percent discount after June.
Restart Grant – introduced
The Restart Grant scheme has been introduced to help hard-hit businesses with up to £18,000 available to leisure and hospitality businesses and up to £6,000 for non-essential retail.
Approximately 700,000 businesses will be eligible for the grant, and these include shops, salons, gyms, and restaurants.
The Restart Grant is available in England only and will be paid directly to businesses from their local authority from April.
Recovery Loan Scheme – launched
The Recovery Loan Scheme is set to run until the end of December 2021, but this is subject to review.
The minimum facility sizes vary, starting at £1,000 for asset and invoice finance and £25,001 for term loans and overdrafts. The maximum value of a facility provided under the scheme will be £10m per business.
There’s no turnover restriction for businesses wanting to access the scheme, and a variety of products are available, including term loans, overdrafts, asset finance and invoice finance facilities.
Term loans and asset finance facilities are available for up to six years, and overdrafts and invoice finance available for up to three years. However, interest and fees have to be paid by the business from the outset.
Does your business need a boost?
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