As closing up shop, on a literal basis, for many across the UK came into play earlier this month, marking the third lockdown this far, expectedly, government announcements of further financial support have followed suit.

As Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed, the government is now offering £4.6 billion in lockdown grants to eligible businesses. Music to the ears for many small businesses, those who are self-employed, and significantly impacted industries, all which have struggled throughout the consequences of covid-19 and lockdowns, support will alleviate many stresses and worries.

However, while £4.6 billion worth of lockdown grants seems a lot, when considering the financial losses experienced throughout the pandemic, the economic collapse that we’ve experienced, and the demand of this support, spanning across a multitude of businesses, it can seem like pennies in the grand scheme of business.

Yet, we must remain thankful and positive throughout each lockdown, with the hope that a sense of normality will resume, and that the accessibility to government grants will keep us afloat until that moment.

Here’s an update on lockdown grants, considering who will be eligible for, and how to apply for your portion of the government business grants. If you require support, forecasts or advice on a financial level, we at The Financial Management Centre are here for you.

 

Government business grants update

As we’ve shared above, following suit of previous lockdowns, business grants have come into play to support struggling businesses. The ongoing result of Covid-19, and subsequently national and location lockdowns have caused significant money worries for small businesses, sole traders and contractors.

However, as support for employers and larger businesses has been offered, this has also continued to help smaller businesses stay active, even if not open, to withstand the lockdowns.

Unfortunately, the £4.6 billion in lockdown grants will not be available to all business owners. It will not undo the plummeting economic results that we’ve experienced as a nation. Yet, for turbulent industries, government lockdown grants will make a world of a difference, holding many up from going under.

 

Government now offering £4.6 billion in lockdown grants – here’s who it will support

With the announcement that the government is now offering £4.6 billion in lockdown, grants comes relief and hope for many. While a significant figure in lockdown grants is available, the exact amount that each eligible business will receive will depend on the business’s rateable value, which ultimately considers the valuation of your property. Up to £9,000 per business property can be received, which will stand as the cap for this stream of lockdown grants, found to support over 600,000 businesses.

Eligibility requirements for this lockdown grant include:

  • Your business must be based in England.
  • Your business runs from a property where business rates are paid.
  • You’re a business within the retail, hospitality and leisure sector, who understandably cannot open down to social distancing restrictions and lockdown rules. Businesses of this nature will automatically be eligible for this lockdown grant, along with 100% rates relief.
  • Your business has been legally obligated to close from 5th January 2021 onwards, or from earlier dates of 5th November to 2nd December 2020.
  • Your business is inoperative through UK lockdowns, where remote working is impossible/ineffective.

To gauge how much of a grant your business may be eligible for, here’s a breakdown, covering a scale of rateable value.

If your business’s rateable value is

  • £15,000 or less, you will receive a one-off grant worth £4,000.
  • Above £15,000 but below £51,000, £6,000 will be granted.
  • Above this threshold, you will be eligible for £9,000 on a one-off basis.

 

Additional forms of supportive funding

Unfortunately, lockdown grants of this scale will not be available for all businesses. However, there are additional forms of supportive funding, which your business may be eligible for, depending on your industry, ability to operate and your structure.

If you’re an employer, struggling to fund employment throughout the lockdown, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is still available, currently running until April 2021. Like other lockdowns, employees can be furloughed, where 80% of wages will be paid, up to £2,500 per month.

If you’re looking for government grants for the self-employed, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will be resurfacing to cover February to April 2021, however, a percentage of support has yet to be communicated.

For larger companies who aren’t eligible for the Government’s offering of £4.6 billion in lockdown grants, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme is still active and will be until March this year.

If you’ve read this, this far, and still fall as ineligible for lockdown grants, a local discretionary fund is also available to support those businesses who unfortunately fall through the net.

Through an existing £1.1 billion and an additional £594 million fund, support is available on a local scale to provide financial alleviation throughout the current and perhaps impending lockdowns.

If you’re based in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, and fall ineligible for the lockdown grant, please be reassured that each government/executive has been provided with funding.

As government lockdown grants and additional sources of support can be complex to fully understand, especially when considering eligibility and relief rates, we can assist you with your next steps here at The Financial Management Centre.

 

Applying for lockdown grants

If your business is eligible for the new lockdown grants, you can apply through your local council. This is the most proactive process, as grant valuations are based on rateable value, which is assessed and collated through local councils.

With this in mind, visiting your local councils’ website should be your next step, where you’ll be directed to apply for lockdown grants if eligible.

At the Financial Management Centre, we appreciate how much of a frustrating and challenging time we’re all living through. Especially for affected businesses, the next few months can be detrimental.

If you’re struggling, consider whether you’re eligible for the Government’s offering of £4.6 billion in lockdown grants. If you’re unsure whether this is you, we can offer guidance, along with future forecasts for your business accounts.

Reach out today for our specialist support throughout UK lockdowns.

 

Sources:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/46-billion-in-new-lockdown-grants-to-support-businesses-and-protect-jobs

https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-your-business-is-eligible-for-a-coronavirus-grant-due-to-national-restrictions-for-closed-businesses

Martin Beckenham
Martin Beckenham

Martin Beckenham runs The Financial Management Centre in Ashford & Maidstone and serves as the head bookkeeper in Ashford and Maidstone. Martin is a Certified Bookkeeper with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers. He has over 35 years of experience in the Finance and Administration sector, firstly in the Oil Industry and more recently as Head of Statutory Government body.