Responding to the business impacts of COVID-19 

The full extent of COVID-19's global impact is yet unknown and with the situation changing so quickly, it's a good idea to take precautionary measures to protect yourself, your employees and your business. There is no question that the pandemic will have a massive impact on people's lives, families, communities and on businesses.

Here are some general tips on how to keep your business running smoothly.

Please stay updated on health guidelines from trusted sources such as the NHS, the World Health Organization (WHO), Scottish Government and the UK Government.

  • The Chancellor has confirmed that the UK's coronavirus furlough scheme will finish at the end of October. From August, employers must pay National Insurance and pension contributions, then 10% of pay from September, rising to 20% in October.  Workers will be allowed to return to work part-time from July, but with companies paying 100% of wages.

  • The UK Government has extended the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, with those eligible able to claim a second and final grant capped at £6,570 (29 May 2020)

  • Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders, the Chancellor announced  on Monday 27 April. The new Bounce Back Loans scheme, which will provide loans of up to £50,000, is designed to help bolster the existing package of support available to the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with no repayments due for the first 12 months and loan terms of up to 6 years.

  • The Scottish Government has published a 'working discussion' document about the steps that could be taken to move Scotland out of lockdown.

  • There is a raft of information for businesses on the Scottish Government's dedicated business support website

  • The UK Government has provided information for employees, employers and businesses on its COVID-19 guidance page

  • Scottish Enterprise has launched a Coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline for Scottish businesses to get advice during the pandemic 

  • The Scottish Government has unveiled a £320m Coronavirus rescue package for business

  • The UK Government's Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support to smaller businesses (SMEs) across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. CBILS is for smaller businesses with a turnover of less than £45m, looking for up to £5m in finance.  The scheme is a part of a wider package of government support for UK businesses and employees. You can find out more at the Government’s Business Support website.

  • The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) is designed for mid-sized and larger UK businesses with turnover above £45m (which is the upper limit for the existing smaller-business focused CBILS). CLBILS can help provide facilities of up to £25m for businesses with turnover from £45m up to £250m, and facilities of up to £50m for those businesses with a turnover of more than £250m who are suffering disruption to their cashflow due to lost or deferred revenues during the Covid-19 outbreak. The scheme became operational with lenders from Monday 20 April 2020.

  • The UK Government has announced a new Future Fund to support the UK’s innovative businesses currently affected by Covid-19. These businesses have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as CBILS, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. The scheme will deliver an initial commitment of £250m of new government funding which will be unlocked by private investment on a match funded basis.  The scheme, which will be developed in partnership with the British Business Bank with the intention of launching for applications in May, will initially be open until the end of September. 

  • The UK Government has provided guidance for local authorities setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)

  • Business Gateway has collated a range of useful information about managing the impact of COVID-19, including a business continuity webinar which can be accessed here 

  • The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Thursday, 16th April 2020. The new scheme provides finance to mid-sized and larger UK businesses with turnover above £45m (which is the upper limit for the existing smaller-business focused CBILS).   CLBILS can help provide facilities of up to £25m for businesses with turnover from £45m up to £250m, and facilities of up to £50m for those businesses with a turnover of more than £250m who are suffering disruption to their cashflow due to lost or deferred revenues during the Covid-19 outbreak. The scheme will be operational with lenders from Monday 20 April 2020.

  • The FSB is providing regular COVID-19 updates, information and advice for small business and the self-employed

  • Chest Heart and Stroke have launched the Scotland Against Coronavirus campaign to help share life-saving health information

  • HMRC have launched a helpline to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to Coronavirus

  • ACAS have created a resource of advice for employers and employees

  • The TUC has produced a COVID-19 support guide for union representatives

  • The UK Government has published guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities on maintaining educational provision during the pandemic

  • Crowdfunder and Enterprise Nation have launched their Pay It Forward campaign to support the UK's 5.9 million small businesses. They will provide the technology and tools for small UK businesses to pre-sell services such as meals, events and hotel bookings for cash now on a promise people can redeem the services at a later date. It’s 100% free. 

  • The National Cyber Security Centre has prepared guidance on how to prepare your organisation for an increase in home working, along with advice on spotting coronavirus (COVID-19) scam emails.

  • The European Commission has approved two separate UK state aid schemes to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the context of the coronavirus outbreak.

  • The Scottish Parliament has prepared a blog on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and employment rights.

  • eCom Scotland is making a range of courses available for employers on maintaining a safe and productive workforce during the coronavirus pandemic. Topics include infection control, leadership essentials and working remotely.

  • The Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs has developed a Small Business Survival Toolkit of support and learning resources and are making it available free of charge for as long as the Coronavirus outbreak continues.

  • RBS has put a range of  support measures for customers who are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the outbreak.

  • The Prince's Trust and NatWest have launched an Enterprise Relief Fund to help 18-30-year olds who are self-employed and/or running their own business. 

While hospitals and governments work to keep people healthy and safe, many businesses need to keep functioning, not only to provide customers with what they need during this period but to keep staff in employment.

The situation is changing daily, if not hourly in some cases, so get support from your business networks, keep your business safe and follow the guidelines being issued by the Government and the NHS.

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