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written by
Jack Stratten

Small business help during COVID-19

Man working

You don't need us to tell you just how difficult this crisis has become for small businesses throughout the UK.

With lockdowns beginning, empty high streets and no clear end in sight, it's a worrying time to be a small business owner. But help is at hand.

The government is addressing this crisis with a series of relief measures that are almost unprecedented in scale. Clearly, there is a national appreciation and understanding for how hard it will be for SMEs to weather this storm.

To date, here are the most important relief measures available to help small businesses through the COVID-19 outbreak and its dramatic effects...

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The biggest and most significant announcement is the so-called Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

It's an unprecedented, government-backed fund available to any business struggling to pay its bills, staff or suppliers. An incredible £330 billion has been made available to cover this fund.

Small businesses can get the first six months of their loan interest free, and the fund will launch next week. It will be easy to apply and money will be available from more than 40 lenders. For more information, visit the British Businesss Bank's dedicated loan page.

Sick pay covered

The government is bringing forward legislation that will allow small businesses to reclaim any sick pay related to COVID-19.

Eligibility criteria are straightforward, and you can find out more information at the government's dedicated webpage.

Business rates relief

The government has now offered a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure business in England. Specific grants will also become available from the government for businesses in those same sectors.

Tax relief from 'Time to Pay' scheme

HMRC has announced that any business in provable financial distress with outstanding tax bills can apply for support in the form of the 'Time to Pay' scheme - which will delay payment of their tax. This is again accessible through the government's COVID-19 business support page.

Time to pull together

In the meantime, at XLN we'll continue to do everything we can to support our customers and the rest of the UK's small business network. It goes without saying that small businesses will play a vital role in holding the country together - and the more we support them, the more they can support us.


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