Bounce Back Loan scheme goes live

Last week we highlighted the new Bounce Back Loans introduced by the Chancellor which will enable small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000, and as of this morning [4 May], the scheme went live.

The full guidance, including details on how to apply, is available on the British Business Bank website:

Clicking on the SME tab on this link will take you to a questions and answers page, but in limited summary, it says:

  • You should approach a lender yourself, ideally via its website and preferably your business bank
  • You can, however, approach other lenders if you are unable to access the finance you require from your own provider
  • You will need to fill in a short application form online, which self-certifies that your business is eligible for a Bounce Back Loan

You must be able to confirm that your business has been:

  • Impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic
  • Was not a business in difficulty at 31 December 2019
  • Is engaged in trading or commercial activity in the UK
  • Is not in bankruptcy, liquidation or undergoing debt restructuring at the time it submits its application for finance
  • Derives more than 50% of its income from its trading activity

If you apply and your application is accepted, the lender is not permitted to:

  • Take any form of personal guarantee
  • Take recovery action over a borrower’s personal assets (such as their main home or personal vehicle)

The Government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to six years and no repayments will be due during the first 12 months.

Additional grants for small businesses

One of the first and most helpful financial grants given during this unique time was the Business Rates Relief for small businesses that already pay little or no business rates, together with the Retail and Hospitality Grant.

In an attempt to bridge the gap for businesses that don’t qualify for the existing business rates relief, the Government announced during the weekend that small businesses (those with 50 or fewer employees) with ongoing fixed property-related costs may be eligible to additional grant funding.

More detail is to be released and the amount to be received by each local authority will be confirmed this week.

The Government has asked local authorities to prioritise:

  • Businesses in shared spaces
  • Regular market traders
  • Small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief
  • Bed and breakfasts that pay Council Tax rather than Business Rates

The payments will be made at the local authority’s discretion based on economic need. The maximum grant available is £25,000 yet grants of £10,000 can be applied for as well as discretionary grants of less than £10,000.

Recipients must be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop in income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.

Businesses that are already eligible for current grant schemes will not be able to apply for this new one.

For more information, please contact your Champion advisor.