ADVICE FOR BUSINESS OWNERS (courtesy of DCMS)

If your small-or medium-sized business in England is facing cash flow issues as a result of COVID-19, please read the following information:  

• A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch at the start of next week to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.  

• The government will provide lenders with a partial guarantee of 80% on each loan to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.  

• The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. The first 6 months of these loans will be interest-free, as the Government will cover these payments.  

• Businesses will be able to get finance under the scheme from a large number of providers, including the main high street banks, as of next week.  

• Businesses will remain responsible for repaying any facility they take out. For further information, please visit the British Business Bank page on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

If you are a large business facing cash flow issues as a result of COIVD-19, you may want to read the following information:  

• Companies commonly sell short term debt (‘commercial paper’) to the market. This is a quick and cost effective to raise working capital.  

• The new COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility means that the Bank of England will buy short term debt from companies.  

• This will support companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, enabling them to continue financing their short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.  

• Further details can be found here in the exchange of letters between the Governor of the Bank of England and the Chancellor.

If you are a small- or medium-sized business, you may be entitled to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for sickness absence due to COVID-19:  

• This refund will cover up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who are either ill or been told to self-isolate because of COVID-19. This is in line with the recommended isolation period.  

• Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible. The size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020.  

• Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19.  

• Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.  

• The eligible period for the scheme began on 13 March.  

• The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP. 

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