Covid-19: A Guide to Supporting Your Business

In uncertain times, businesses need clarity and knowledge. Here's an extensive guide to accessing financial support to help keep your business trading

By The Fleximize Team


The outbreak of coronavirus has created a rapidly-changing trading environment, with new announcements and measures being rolled out all the time. We’ll be updating this page with information & financial support for your business, but please continue to keep up to date with your local authority/government. The information contained below is correct as of 15:00 pm on 08/07/20.

Quick Links

Business Advice

Government Guidance

FSB Support

Advice for Employers

Government Support

Statutory Sick Pay Relief

Business Interruption Loans

Grants & Funds

Business Rates Relief

Paying Taxes

Financial Support

Support From Your Bank

Help From Fleximize

Finance Options

The impact of the Covid-19 outbreak is causing large ripples throughout the global economy, and Britain's small businesses are feeling the pinch. As always, we're committed to supporting you, your business, and the wider SME community, at this most difficult of times. Below you'll find:

If you have any questions whatsoever about what we’re doing and how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – our number is 020 7100 0110, or you can email us at hello@fleximize.com

Business advice

The Government’s advice on coronavirus is changing all the time in line with updates from leading scientists and health professionals. For the most up-to-date advice on the Government’s response visit gov.uk, which also has lots of useful information for businesses and the self-employed:

Government Guidance

For advice on self-isolation, identifying symptoms, and how to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus, visit NHS England.


The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has an in-depth guide to keeping your business afloat during the outbreak. It covers everything from:

Insurance: Claiming on your business interruption cover and working with your insurer.

HMRC: Including the deferment of tax payments, SSP & Employment Allowance.

Local authority issues: Applying for grants and hardship funds, and the emergency business rate relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

Financial support: Talking to your bank or lender about finance options, customers about payment, and landlords about rent.

FSB Guidance


Being an employer brings a unique challenge at this point. The CIPD website provides a full fact sheet, FAQs and actions to take to help manage your employees. It's a helpful resource for both business owners and HR teams. Key advice and resources include: 

For their full advice and information, please visit the CIPD website by clicking the button below.

Employment Guidance


Government support

This crisis has affected businesses in all industries, all over the world, and needs a co-ordinated and strong response. The Government has announced a package of measures worth a combined £350bn designed to minimize the impact on your business. The Government has also created a business support tool to see what support is available for you and your business, it can be found here. The different type of measures include:

Types of Support

Statutory Sick Pay Relief | Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme | Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme | Small Business Grant Fund | Retail, Leisure & Hospitality Grants | Business Rate HolidaysTime to Pay & VAT DefermentsCoronavirus Jobs Retention SchemeSelf-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)Insolvency Law ChangesAnnual Leave AllowanceCoronavirus Future FundInnovate UK Grants & LoansBounce Back Loans |  Job Retention Bonus |  Hospitality & Tourism VAT Cut |  Eat Out to Help OutApprenticeship and Trainee Incentives |

SSP relief

A statutory sick pay (SSP) relief package for businesses, whereby the Government will refund up to 2-weeks’ SSP per eligible employee.

The key facts:

How to apply:

You can use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees' coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) here.


Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

A government-backed temporary loan scheme for small businesses, delivered by the British Business Bank in partnership with over 90 accredited lenders.

The key facts:

How to apply:

Businesses will need to apply via an accredited partner.


Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)

A government-backed temporary loan scheme for medium and large businesses, delivered by the British Business Bank in partnership with accredited lenders.

The key facts:

How to apply:

Businesses will need to apply via an accredited partner.

Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF)

This is additional funding provided by the Government to local authorities. This is designed to support small businesses that pay little or no business rates due to small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief.

The key facts:

How to apply:

Local authorities will be administering these grants, and the Government has stated local authorities will be contacting eligible businesses in due course. You can find more information here.


Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG)

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses of up to £25k per property.

The key facts:

How to apply:

Local authorities will be administering these grants, and the Government has stated local authorities will be contacting eligible businesses in due course. You can find out more information here.


Business Rates Holidays

The Government has announced a 12-month business rates holiday for all businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, as well as all nurseries, for the 2020-2021 tax year.

The key facts:

How to apply:

You don't need to do anything - this will automatically be applied. You can find your local authority here.


Time to Pay & VAT Deferments

HMRC have set up a dedicated helpline to those struggling to make payment for VAT under their Time to Pay service. The Government has also announced that the next quarter of VAT Payments (April – June) will now be deferred for all businesses (where required). 

The key facts:

How to apply:

You can contact HMRC on Monday – Friday between 8am-8pm and Saturdays 8am-4pm. The dedicated helpline number is 0800 0159 559. You can find out more information here.


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Businesses and organisations are now able to apply for a grant from HMRC that will cover the wages of furloughed workers who aren’t able to work temporarily.

The key facts:

How to apply

To access the scheme, you need to designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify employees of this change. You then need to submit information about these employees and their earnings to HMRC. You can find out more information here. HMRC retains the right to retrospectively audit your claim.


Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The government has set up a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to support self-employed individuals that have lost trading profits during the coronavirus pandemic.

The key facts:

How to apply:

HMRC will start contacting those who are eligible from 4th May and invite you to claim the 1st grant using the Gov.uk online service. They have also created a portal where you can check your eligibility.

You will need to confirm with HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus. HMRC will as usual use a risk-based approach to compliance. 

Once the online check is complete, eligible customers will be given a date when they can submit their claim. The claim service for the 1st grant will open from the 13th May 2020 and close on the 13th July 2020.

The 2nd grant is expected to be available from August 2020.

HMRC are publishing up-to-date guidance on the scheme, available here


Changes to insolvency law

The Government has announced a number of fundamental changes to UK insolvency law designed to remove personal liability from directors and help businesses weather the storm of Covid-19.

The key facts:

How to apply:

These changes will apply retrospectively from 1 March 2020. For more information, click here.


Annual leave allowance

The Government has introduced a temporary law to deal with any disruption to annual leave entitlement for employees due to coronavirus under the Working Time Regulations. This will allow employees to carry over up to 4 weeks of paid holiday over a 2 year period.

The key facts:

How to apply:

You don't need to apply to the Government for these changes, as they should be implemented by your employer. You can find out more information here


Coronavirus Future Fund

The UK Government has announced they are pledging £500 million match funding for startups impacted by coronavirus.

The key facts:

How to apply:

The Future Fund applications launched on 20th May 2020. Further details about this scheme and how to apply can be found here.


Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme

The UK Government has announced £750 million of targeted support for the most R&D intensive SMEs.

The key facts:

How to apply:

The scheme will be available through Innovate UK’s existing grants and loan scheme. More details can be found here.


Bounce Back Loans

Small business owners can access loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 in a matter of days using the Government’s new Bounce Back Loans scheme.

The key facts:

How to apply:

The Government's "Bounce Back" loans scheme opened for applications on May 4th. You can apply for a Bounce Back Loan here.



Job Retention Bonus

To avoid as many "inevitable redundancies" as possible and to protect the nine million jobs that have, at some point, fallen under the Job Retention Scheme, the Government have announced a new Job Retention Bonus to encourage employers to bring staff back from furlough and keep them employed.

The key facts:

How to apply:

More details will be released in the coming weeks. Please keep an eye on Gov.uk for further information.



Hospitality & Tourism VAT Cut

To provide immediate relief and protection for the 150,000 businesses and 2.4 million jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors, the Government have announced a temporary VAT cut for businesses in these sectors.

The key facts:

How to apply:

You won't need to apply for this VAT cut, you'll just see your VAT payments reduced.



Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

To help protect jobs and businesses in the hospitality sector, the Government have announced a new "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme, giving the public a 50% discount on meals, with participating restaurants able to claim back the remaining 50%.

The key facts:

How to apply:

To participate in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, you'll need to register via a website, which is due to be launched on 13 July. We'll update this page once the website is live.



Apprenticeships/Training Payments

In an effort to encourage more employers to create new traineeships and apprenticeships, the Government has announced a raft of new incentives for employers.

The key facts:

How to apply:

More details will be released in the coming weeks. Please keep an eye on Gov.uk for further information.


Financial support

Banks and lenders are working closely with the Government to support you and your business during the outbreak.

Choose Your Bank

HSBC | Lloyds Bank | Bank of Scotland | Halifax | Natwest |  RBS | Ulster Bank | Barclays

HSBC

HSBC have confirmed they have allocated £5 billion to help businesses affected by coronavirus, and £3 billion to support importers and exporters. They are also an accredited CBILS partner.

What they're offering:

Who is eligible?

All HSBC business customers.

How to contact them:

You can contact the HSBC helpline on 08000 121 614 from 09:00 – 17:00 Monday to Friday. For those looking for a trade finance specialist, you can contact 0800 783 1300 from 09:00 – 17:00 Monday to Friday.

You can also find out more on what they are doing here.


Lloyds Banking Group (Lloyds, Bank of Scotland, Halifax)

The Lloyds Banking Group have introduced a £2 billion package to help protect SMEs from the financial impact of coronavirus. They are also an accredited CBILS partner.

What they're offering:

Who is eligible?

Any small business customers of Lloyds or Bank of Scotland Business account with a turnover of up to £25m.

How to contact them:

Speak to your relationship manager, or call Lloyds on 020 7626 1500, or Bank of Scotland on 0345 300 0268.

Lloyds Bank customers can find more information here, and Bank of Scotland customers can get support here.


RBS Group (RBS, NatWest, Ulster Bank)

RBS Group have announced £5 billion of working capital support for SMEs affected by coronavirus. They are also an accredited CBILS partner.

What they're offering:

Who is eligible?

All NatWest Business customers. Normal credit checks might still apply, decided on a case-by-case basis.

How to contact them:

Speak to your relationship manager or call NatWest on 0345 711 4477 or Ulster Bank on 0345 366 5592.

RBS customers can find more information here, Natwest customers can get support here, and Ulster Bank customers should go here.


Barclays

Barclays have announced a number of initiatives to help their business customers through this difficult period. They are also an accredited CBILS partner.

What they're offering:

Who is eligible?

All existing Barclays Business customers.

How to contact them:

Barclays' helpline number is 0800 1971 0861 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm). You can find out more information here.


Help from Fleximize

Our mission has always been to provide support to small businesses where they need it most – cash flow. And during these times of economic uncertainty, keeping your cash flow as healthy as possible is even more important. So we’re not deviating from our mission – we’re here to provide you with quick, flexible capital to support your business if you need it. 

Why Fleximize?

At Fleximize, we look closely at the underlying reasons for cash flow issues, recognizing that, like now, they’ll often be out of a business owner’s control. Our flexible business loans are an attractive alternative to traditional forms of cash flow finance. Here are some of the highlights: 

Our flexible lending criteria means we won’t automatically dismiss a company with an inconsistent credit history. Instead, we take the unique circumstances of every business into account, with a view to saying 'yes' wherever possible.

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