The ongoing global pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on small and medium-sized businesses. If you have put your heart and soul into your business this is a hugely worrying time, but the good news is that help is available.

There is a vast amount of information in the media about government loans and grants to help support businesses at this time, so we thought we’d summarise just a few which have helped tenants of our shared office and commercial property in Bristol:

VAT payments deferral

Although not strictly speaking a grant, this is one of the most straightforward and immediate forms of assistance for VAT registered businesses. There are no lengthy forms to fill in, you just defer your payment until March 2021.

Two important points to remember:
1. You still need to submit your VAT return
2. if you normally pay via Direct Debit you MUST cancel this, otherwise, the money will still be debited from your account!

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

If your business has an annual turnover of less than £45m, you can apply to the CBIL Scheme for a loan of up to £5m. We have heard reports of slow responses by banks and applications being rejected. Our top tip is that if one lender turns you down, you can apply to other lenders in the scheme so if you aren’t successful initially, you may have luck elsewhere.

Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

Providing you meet certain criteria, you can borrow up to 25% of your business’ annual turnover, up to a maximum of £50K. Importantly, interest rates on this loan after the initial 12 months are just 2.5% which is significantly lower than those via the CBILS.

Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund

Aimed at small and micro-businesses with fewer than 10 employees and a turnover of less than £10.2m, this scheme is less well-known but could be invaluable to businesses with instant offices and who use shared office space. The government has specifically requested that local authorities prioritise small businesses in shared offices and other shared workspaces. If you are not eligible for certain support schemes, this could be a good option to explore (although applications are not yet open in many areas). We recommend you keep checking your local authority website for further details of eligibility and how to apply.