2021 has started much as 2020 ended for many businesses in the UK, in turmoil. As our PM took to the airwaves on Monday evening at 8pm we all knew what was coming, only a few days after welcoming in a “new year!” So what does this mean for business and what support is available? (Useful links at the base of this article).

Non-essential businesses have closed across the country. Arguably most impacted are the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors with those businesses operating under huge pressures and capacity limits for most of the year, and in the case of Tier 3 and 4 areas especially already barely trading at their potential in many cases.

Businesses with staff that can work from home should now go back to encouraging them to do so. In some cases they had just started welcoming staff back to work after the festive break, only to send them home again.

So what support is available?

Screenshot 2021-01-06 at 06.28.27First the support from last year continues. on December 17th the Chancellor extended the Furlough scheme (CJRS) and business loan schemes including CBILS, CLBILS, and the BBLS for smaller and micro businesses. At time writing the furlough scheme will continue to April and was placed back at 80% of employees salary having reduced temporarily to 70% earlier in the year. Note this doesn’t support pension or NI contributions. Businesses should note the loan schemes are loans and will need to be repaid. Other benefits such as the grant for businesses forced to close of up to £3,000 per month remain in place. The SEISS scheme also continues through to 29th January 2021 for self employed and partnership based businesses. This is valued at 80% of trading profits up to £7,500 per month. Schemes such as Kickstart also continue encouraging further employment.

Screenshot 2021-01-06 at 06.28.02The most recent announcement from the Chancellor happened was released on Tuesday morning (January 5th 2021) which had three main new announcements headlined with £4.6Bn of new lockdown grants.

First, there was a focused grant made available for the hard hit retail, hospitality and leisure sectors of up to £9,000 per property. This is useful to smaller businesses such as pubs where this can be meaningful, but for our larger leisure centres this is less than a days running costs.

There were also two additional pots of money released for business support grants totalling £1.7Bn. The first is a £600m discretionary grant fund to support impacted businesses and the second labelled as Local Restriction Support Grants worth put o £3,000 per month, and an extension to the Furlough Scheme. Importantly control fo these grants has been delegated to devolved administrations including local authorities and Governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Wiltshire businesses see below links on Wiltshire Councils website and an email address for their COVID Business support teams.

I would expect to see further discretionary grants available to support additional jobs, help fund business growth, and enough cash flowing into supply chains, but as yet there have been now further announcements since 2020, but keep your ears open for this.

A&S Business Consultants provides support to small and medium sized businesses from business growth strategies to overcoming specific challenges. We work with business providing services from arms length ad-hoc support and advice for business leaders to NED and strategic advisor roles. For more information on how we can help your business email mail@asbusinessconsultants.uk.

Useful link on Furlough Scheme: Click Here

Chancellors announcement details 5th January 2021: Click Here

Link one the Self employment income support scheme: Click Here

Wiltshire Council COVID support team email: Covid-19BusinessSupport@wiltshire.gov.uk

Wiltshire Council business support website link: Click Here

Links for details of the support communities for those that haven’t received any support below:

ExcludedUK: Click Here

ForgottenLTD (Small Ltd Co directors): Click Here