Small Business Rate Relief and other Grants

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As you can imagine as a result of recent announcements, we at Fortuous are extremely busy and we are trying our very best to assist as many of the business as possible.

The majority of the calls are in relation to the recent central government announcements about the grant and other business funding support which is being delivered in the main through either Local Authorities, HMRC, employers, various funding institutions.  Having looked at your enquiry this would fall into these categories and therefore I am outlining below the most recent announcements as well as suggestions for links to sign up to which will keep you up to date with the latest news etc.

Latest COVID 19 Announcements

Businesses and Employers Bulletin can be obtained via this link

Latest  Guidance

Guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England: 

For an updated list of business venues which must close or operate on a restricted basis (e.g., takeaway only) during the lockdown in England can be found here.

Guidance for venues: 

If your venue can stay open during the national restrictions put in place on 5 November 2020 in England, you must follow the guidance on maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors in order to support NHS Test and Trace. For more information, click here.  

Guidance for food businesses

Guidance for food businesses in England on how they operate during Covid has been updated to reflect the national restrictions in place from 5 November. Click here for further information.

Guidance for aviation

Further guidance on Safer travel and working principles for airports and aviation operators in light of England’s national restrictions in place from 5 November is available here.  

If unsure whether you can be open please contact your Local Authority

Job Retention Scheme

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on Thursday 5 November 2020, the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), also known as the ‘furlough scheme’, to the 31 March 2021. For claim periods running to January 2021, employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. The policy will be reviewed in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more. The Job Support Scheme is postponed.

For more information, click here. 

Check to see the updates on: 

For information on claiming for wages through the scheme click here

Self Employed Income Support Scheme

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant extension, that provides critical support to the self-employed in the form of grants, has been extended and made available for 3-month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021. The grants will increase from 55% to 80% of average profits – up to £7,500.  For more information about the scheme click here.  

Timing: HMRC will pay this more generous grant sooner than planned and in good time for Christmas – the window for claiming a grant will open on 30 November, two weeks earlier than previously announced.

The Government has already announced that there will be a fourth SEISS grant covering February to April. The Government will set out further details, including the level, of the fourth grant in due course.

Guidance to clarify the eligibility conditions for Universal Credit and New Style Employment and Support Allowance, to add Pension Credit, New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance and the Test and Trace Support Payment as other financial help that can be claimed, is available here. 

Job Retention Bonus

The JRB will not be paid in February and we will redeploy a retention incentive at the appropriate time. The purpose of the JRB was to encourage employers to keep people in work until the end of January. However, as the CJRS is being extended to the end of March, the policy intent of the JRB falls away.

Cash Grants for Business

Business Grants: 

Business premises forced to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.

Local Authorities will also be receiving funding to support other businesses via a discretionary grant.

In addition to this-

Backdated cash grants for businesses in Tier 2/3 areas in England. Businesses in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors that suffered from reduced demand due to local restrictions introduced between 1 August and 5 November will receive backdated grants at 70% of the value of closed grants up to a maximum of £2,100 per month for this period.

As these have only just been announced please be patient whilst your Local Authority puts the processes and procedures in place in order to deal with this new money.

We would strongly recommend that you sign up to receive business newsletters/e-bulletins/alerts from your Local Authority to make sure you don’t miss out on any funding.  It is likely they may put applications online via their website.

Investment in Green Recovery

The government are investing £134 million in UK businesses to support innovative green businesses during the coronavirus pandemic and to encourage a green recovery. For more information, click here. 

Tax Cuts and Deferrals

The temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors will be extended to the end of March next year. In addition, business who deferred their VAT bills will be given more breathing space through the New Payment Scheme, which gives them the option to pay back in smaller instalments.

Self-assessment taxpayers will be able to benefit from a separate additional 12-month extension from HMRC on the “Time to Pay” self-service facility, meaning payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.

Business rates relief for hospitality, retail, leisure and nurseries until the end of March 2021

Flexed Loan Schemes

The Prime Minister announced on Monday afternoon that the government’s three Coronavirus business interruption loan schemes – the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) – and the Future Fund will be extended to 31 January 2021.

It was also announced that eligible businesses will be able to ‘top-up’ existing Bounce Back Loans should they need additional finance.

The top-ups are only available from a borrower’s existing BBLS lender. A borrower can apply for a top-up that is for the lesser of £50k or 25% of the annual turnover the borrower certified in their original successful BBLS application form, minus the value of their original loan.

Worked examples

Under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme top-up, if a borrower had certified an annual turnover of £100,000 in their original application and taken a Bounce Back Loan of £20,000 (20% of that certified annual turnover), they can ask to borrow an additional £5,000 (5% of that certified annual turnover), taking their Bounce Back Loan to the maximum 25% of their originally certified annual turnover.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme top-up features

  • One top-up per borrower from their existing lender
  • Minimum top up amount – £1,000
  • The capital repayment holiday runs for 12 months from the initial drawdown date on the original Bounce Back Loan. For example, if the initial drawdown date of the original Bounce Back Loan was on 1 June 2020, and the drawdown date of the top-up was on 1 November 2020, the capital repayment holiday period will run to 31 May 2021

How to apply

A short form template application form will be available from the Bounce Back Loan Scheme accredited lenders. Borrowers must complete this application form to be eligible for a top-up.

The top-up application form will require borrowers to indicate the amount of the top-up requested and re-provide certain declarations set out in the original Bounce Back Loan application form.

Further details and conditions are available on the Bounce Back Loan Scheme page on the British Business Bank website. The British Business Bank Press Notice can be accessed here.

Further information on the changes to the four schemes will be available on the British Business Bank website in due course.


Measures put in place to protect businesses from insolvency will be extended to continue giving them much-needed breathing space during the coronavirus.

We would also recommend you contact ICAEW

Universal Credit Update

 £500 payments for those on low incomes in England who are asked to self-isolate for 14 days, and £500 million Hardship Fund for local authorities to use to help the most vulnerable.

Struggling to pay essential bills?

If you are struggling to pay key commitments please see the  new government guidance and support

Mortgage payment holidays will continue to be available for homeowners in the UK. Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a 6- month holiday and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to 6 months without this being recorded on their credit file. The FCA published draft guidance setting this out on 2 November.

Payment holidays will also continue to be available for consumer credit products such as personal loans and car finance. As with mortgages, borrowers impacted by coronavirus who have not yet taken a payment holiday on that product can ask for one of up to 6 months and those that currently have a payment holiday will be eligible to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file. Borrowers with high-cost short-term credit products such as payday loans will continue to be entitled to a maximum monthly payment holiday. The FCA published draft guidance on this on 4 November.

Also, we would recommend that you sign up to the Martin Lewis website.

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