Coronavirus: Support for SMEs

In the Budget, the Chancellor set out a package of measures aimed at this period of disruption due to COVID-19.  This includes measures to support businesses including:

  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

Please see our blog Advice for Employers during the Coronavirus Outbreak.

For our business clients, please note the following key measures which may be relevant to your business:

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

The government will provide additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), providing a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch early next week to support primarily small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access bank lending and overdrafts.

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) aiming to give lenders confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.

Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.

You are eligible for the scheme if:

  1. Your business is UK based, with turnover of no more than £41 million per annum.
  2. Your business meets the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria.

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

There will be a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

  1. Your business is based in England.
  2. Your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector.

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be those occupied and wholly or mainly being used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

Support for businesses paying tax: Time to Pay service

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

You are eligible if your business:

  • pays tax to the UK government
  • has outstanding tax liabilities

For help and advice, please speak to our Corporate and Commercial team at on 0161 926 9969 or email corporate@mlplaw.co.uk.