UPDATED 19/05

In the face of coronavirus, many of us are looking at ways to safeguard our future. We’ve tried to collate all the information available into one space for you. Things will be changing all the time and we’ll be updating this page regularly as the Government provides more information and support.

Support for our community

The team at TechSPARK is here to offer any support and advice that we can, you can contact us via hello@techspark.co.  TechSPARK, as part of the TCGUK (Tech Cluster Group UK) is in contact with the government and feeding in ways in which they can support us.

Below we have detailed some of the packages announced by Government and how they could impact you

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Government  has announced it will provide support to businesses around wages:

  • All employers are eligible for the scheme.
  • It’s only wages of people who aren’t working but are furloughed and kept on the payroll. We don’t know how you’ll show people are furloughed
  • The grant will cover 80% of their salary and offer retained workers up to £2,500 a month
  • It can be backdated to 1 March.
  • Employers can top-up salaries if they wish
  • There is no limit on funding and it’s open for at least three months.
  • IT will be paid to businesses by the end of April

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

This scheme will offer access to lending and overdrafts for businesses affected by the current crisis. The government will provide the banks with a guarantee for 80% of funds loans so lenders have the confidence to still provide finance.

  • Rates are 0% for the first 12 months

  • This is still a commercial loan so needs repaying, will be assessed on your business and may require security for the remaining 20%

  • The maximum amount to borrow is £5m
  • Loans will be available from Monday 23rd March

  • More info via the British Business Bank here 

UPDATE- The Future Fund

The new Future Fund will support innovative UK companies with good potential, that are essential in ensuring the UK retains its world-leading position in science, innovation and technology. These companies typically rely on equity investment and are currently affected by Covid-19.

How it works:

  • Open for applications from Wednesday 20thMay.
  • Scheme operates on a commercial basis to deliver an initial commitment of £250m of new government funding.
  • Financing will be unlocked by additional third-party investment on a match funded basis.
  • Applications submitted via an online platform based on a set of standard terms and eligibility criteria.

 Eligibility criteria:

  • Companies must be UK-incorporated and if part of a corporate group, only the parent company is eligible.
  • Companies in receipt of the loans will be required to have previously raised at least £250k in equity investment from third party investors in the last five years.
  • Only eligible companies that can attract at least 50% of third-party investment will receive funding.
  • Companies cannot have any of their shares traded on a regulated market, multilateral trading facility or other listing venue.
  • The company must have been incorporated on or before 31st December 2019.
  • At least one of the following must be true for the company:
    • Half or more employees are UK based;
    • Half or more revenues are from UK sales.

UPDATE- Bounce Back Loans

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme has gone live today. Supplied by the British Business Bank’s accredited lenders, the programme offers access to loans worth 25% of a businesses turnover, up to a maximum of £50,000. Details of the scheme include:

  • Up to £50,000 loan: Loans will be from £2,000 up to 25% of a business’ turnover or £50,000, whichever is lower.

  • Interest rate: The government has set the interest rate at 2.5% per annum, all businesses will pay the same rate of interest.

  • Interest paid by the government for 12 months: The government will make a Business Interruption Payment to the lenders to cover the first 12 months of interest.

  • No principal repayments for first 12 months: Borrowers will not have to begin principal repayments for the first 12 months.

  • Finance terms: The length of the loan is for six years but early repayment is allowed, without early repayment fees.

  • No personal guarantees: No personal guarantees are allowed

More info here.

Business rates – £10,000 grants.

The Government has announced that many companies will not pay Business Rates in 2020-21. Most relevant to our sector is the £10,000 grants which will be given to up to 700,000 businesses in the UK.

  • Grants of £10,000 will be awarded to businesses who are eligible for Small Business Rates Relief.

  • This scheme is being run by local authorities and awards should happen without you having to apply if you have SBRR eligibility. Funding will come to councils in early April to do this.

  • If you are in managed space you likely haven’t done this so you won’t be eligible.

  • It’s possible your managed space provider has so worth checking in.

  • More info here

UPDATE – Business Rates £10,000 grants

Over the weekend that the government has released new funding of £617m for co-working space tenants, market traders and other businesses in England who aren’t being given funding through the coronavirus business rates grant scheme. The grants are to deliver £10,000 and £25,000 grants to companies 

The government has said this fund is aimed at

  • small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs,
  • prioritising businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief.
  • Businesses must be small, under 50 employees,
  • must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop in income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.

However local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need. The allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities.  We are working with Local Authorities in the West of England on this scheme and will update as guidance is released.

Statutory Sick Pay

All SMEs will be able to reclaim statutory sick pay for employees affected by Corona however no system is yet in place for this so it may take weeks to months for money to come back.

  • It’s for SMEs only (fewer than 250 employees)

  • It’s for 2 weeks SSP per employee who are off because of Corona

  • No sick note is needed just employer records

Self employed /  Contractors / Freelancers

If you are self-employed Government offers support similar for employees

  • You will receive a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly profit up to £2,500. You can still work through this time, unlike furloughed employees.
  • it will initially be for 3 months but payment won’t be until June
  • You need at least self-assessment return for 2019 & payment will be calculated using average monthly profits over the last three financial years
  • The cut off is for self-employed profits of £50,000 p.a.
  • If you are eligible HMRC will be in touch.

Some people won’t be eligible for the above. If so Government  has said it will make it easier for you to claim Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credit at the rate of Statutory Sick Pay

  • During the crisis, the Universal Credit minimum income floor will be relaxed if you are sick with Corona or self-isolating

  • People can claim Universal Credit and access upfront payments without going to the jobcentre if they are self-isolating

  • Employment & Support Allowance can be paid you’re sick with Corona or self-isolating from day 1 (instead of the usual day 8)

  • Universal Credit has been increased by £1,000 a year for the next 12 months.

  • All self-assessment payments for businesses will be deferred to 2021.
  • Info on Employment and Support Allowance is here and Universal Credit here

Tax & VAT

Both business and self-employed can receive support from the HMRC time to pay scheme which means you can defer payments

  • The Chancellor announced that he is deferring the next quarter of VAT payments. You now have until the end of the year to pay them
  • HMRC will discuss instalments, suspensions of debt collection or cancelling interest

  • They have a Corona hotline 0800 0159 559.

Other Information

How you can help

To combat the coronavirus outbreak, the Government is looking to collaborate with startups who might be able to lend support and expertise in the following:

  • If you can help with vaccines: Nervtag@phe.gov.uk

  • If you are able to support in the manufacture of ventilators: ventilator.support@beis.gov.uk

  • For any broader support or ideas to help with the response on innovation or tech: DNHSX@nhsx.nhs.uk

  • There’s also the European Commission’s funding scheme for startups that could help in treating, testing, monitoring or other aspects of the Coronavirus outbreak. The deadline for which is today Friday 20 March at 5 pm.

Volunteering

Lots of people want to volunteer to help. You can do that in Bristol via the Can Do Website and in Bath via B&NES 3SG Community Connectors

The Quartet Foundation is also directing money to the communities in more need locally, you can donate here

Other Helpful links

Geraint Evans