Covid 19 - Financial Support Measures
In response to the severe impact of Covid-19 on businesses, H. M. Government (“HMG”) initiated a range of measures designed to help relieve some of the damage caused to normal business operations. These were designed to assist both small businesses (self-employed and personal service companies) and medium/large companies.
We list a number of these measures below (grouped by topic). In each case there is a link to the relevant HMG webpage or other document so that you can go direct to the current relevant information on the particular topic.
There is also an online tool which you can find on an HMG webpage here which can help businesses to quickly see what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic.
We review the following list (and the links) periodically and seek to keep them up to date.
Claim back statutory sick pay (if you have staff): here
Claim back wages paid to staff on furlough: here
Universal Credit if you are on low income or have no work: HMG pages here
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme : Simply Docs Info pages here
Small Business Grants Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund: here
Deferral of VAT: here
Deferral of self-assessment tax: here
Business rates relief for certain types of business: here
Bounce Back Loan Scheme for small businesses to access finance more quickly. This Scheme closed to new applications on 31 March 2021.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. This Scheme closed to new applications on 31 March 2021.
Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. This Scheme closed to new applications on 31 March 2021.
Convertible loans between £125,000 to £5 million to innovative companies. This Scheme closed to new applicants on 31 January 2021.
Covid Corporate Financing Facility to help large businesses by purchase of their short-term debt. This closed to new purchases, as planned, on 23 March 2021.
Since tenants were under pressure from some landlords using aggressive debt recovery tactics, HMG legislated to restrict landlords' rights to recover unpaid rent from commercial tenants and from eviction for unpaid rent. These restrictions have been extended until at least 30 June 2021. The details are here and here .
Mortgage Holidays for Landlords
Mortgage lenders agreed with HMG that they would offer repayment holidays of 3 months to landlords with mortgages on their properties (typically buy to let) whose tenants, due to COVID-19, have difficulty paying their rent: here. You will need to check to see if and how any lenders are extending the date for applying for a repayment holiday beyond 31 March 2021, and the length of mortgage holiday available - it might be longer than 3 months.
Emergency Insolvency Measures
Measures to protect companies were included in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 to give them additional breathing space and maximise their chances of survival. The measures:
a) extend existing moratorium provisions, so that, firstly, the threat of winding-up petitions against a company is removed where they have unpaid debts resulting from the pandemic, and, secondly, statutory demands issued against companies are voided;
b) prohibit suppliers from terminating their supply agreements (but with the ability for a supplier facing undue financial hardship to apply to the court for permission to terminate its supply) so that companies continue to access supplies and materials;
c) require dissenting creditors to accept a restructuring plan;
d) remove the threat to directors of being held personally liable for wrongful trading if a company is unable to avoid insolvency as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Debt recovery/debt relief
The Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 come into effect on 4 May 2021. These new Regulations are designed to protect certain consumer or sole trader debtors with problem debt. See Appendix B of our Guidance Notes : Debt Recovery and Legal Action. You can find those Notes here.