Financial Assistance for Businesses

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) - Support for Businesses

There have been a number of new measures introduced to support businesses through this difficult time. This is an evolving situation and new information is coming through on a daily basis, but, in the meantime, we have listed below the key points of each scheme as we understand it.

Coronavirus Local Restrictions Support Grants

The Additional Restrictions Grant

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) provides local councils with grant funding to support closed businesses that do not directly pay business rates as well as businesses that do not have to close but which are impacted. 

Further details of the scheme are availability on the ARG website

ARG on-line Application Forms

For further information, including details about how to apply, follow the relevant link to your local Council's website:

North Devon Council - ARG Scheme

Torridge District Council - ARG Scheme

Article updated 27th May 2021


The Restart Grant

A new system of one-off Restart Grants was introduced from April 2021, replacing the Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG).

This is a one-off business grant available to non-essential retail businesses (Strand One), and hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym or sport business premises (Strand Two).

These will be one-off payments to rate-paying businesses, predominantly reliant on delivering in-person services for the general public, in the non-essential retail and hospitality, leisure, personal care and accommodation sectors.

For further information, including details about how to apply, follow the relevant link to your local Council's website:

North Devon Council - Restart Grant Scheme

Torridge District Council - Restart Grant Scheme

Article updated 27th May 2021

Loan Funding Schemes

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme provides access to a range of borrowing facilities of up to £5 million and repayable over a maximum period of 6 years.
Funding is provided by commercial lenders, including all the major banks and is backed by the government-owned British Business Bank.

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

The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.

To be eligible for a facility under CBILS, the business must:
• Be UK based in its business activity with annual turnover or no more than £45m
• Have a borrowing proposal which, were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic, would be
   considered viable by the lender, and for which the lender believes the provision of finance
   will enable your business to trade out of any short-to-medium term difficulty

In the first instance, businesses should approach their own provider – ideally via the lender’s website. They may also consider approaching other lenders if they are unable to access the finance they need.

The British Business Bank has prepared a useful list of Frequently Asked Questions about the CBILS Scheme and the South West Business Council has produced a useful checklist detailing points you will need to consider when applying for a CBILS or Bounce Back Loan.

Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan
This scheme was launch on 4th May 2020 and will help small and medium-sized businesses affected by Coronavirus with loans of between £2,000 and £50,000.

Loan terms can be up to 6 years with no repayments due during the first 12 months. No fees or interest will be payable for the first 12 months and the government has agreed a flat interest rate of 2.5% for the remaining period of the loan. The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders and the government will guarantee 100% of the loan amount.

To be eligible for a Bounce Back Loan, the business must be based in the UK, have been negatively affected by Coronavirus and not have been considered an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019. The formalities associated with applying for and drawing the Bounce Back Loans have been kept to a minimum to make the whole process as streamlined as possible with the aim of getting funds released to businesses within a matter of days

New options have been made available to top up existing loans, extend the loan period, make interest-only repayments, or pause repayments. A repayment holiday of up to 6 months is now possible once at any point during the term of a Bounce Back Loan.

For further information visit the Bounce Back Loan website

Article updated 8th February 2021 

Recovery Loan Scheme
The Recovery Loan Scheme ensures businesses of any size can continue to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £10 million per business once the existing COVID-19 loan schemes close, providing support as businesses recover and grow following the disruption of the pandemic and the end of the transition period.

Finance can be drawn in the form of Loans or Overdrafts or as Asset Finance or Invoice Finance. Once received, the finance can be used for any legitimate business purpose, including growth and investment.

The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender to ensure they continue to have the confidence to lend to businesses.

The scheme launches on 6 April and is open until 31 December, subject to review. Loans will be available through a network of accredited lenders, whose names will be made public in due course.

For further information visit the Recovery Loan website 

Article added 4th March 2021



Other measures to help businesses manage cashflow

Extended payments for deferred VAT

On 24 September 2020, the Chancellor announced that businesses who deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June 2020 will now have the option to pay in smaller payments over a longer period.

Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, you can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022, interest free.

You will need to opt-in to the scheme, and for those who do, this means that your VAT liabilities due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 do not need to be paid in full until the end of March 2022.

If you deferred VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 and still have payments to make, you can pay the deferred VAT in full, on or before 31 March 2021 or join the VAT deferral new payment scheme – the online service is open between 23 February 2021 and 21 June 2021

For further information visit the HMRC Deferred VAT website

Article updated 23rd February 2021

HMRC’s Time to Pay Service
All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559. If you’re worried about a future payment, please call nearer the time.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Use this scheme if you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have lost income due to Coronavirus.

Applications for the fourth grant (covering the period from February to April 2021) have now closed with applications for the fifth (and final) grant relating to the period from May to September 2021 expected to open in late July. For information about the fifth grant, including details of who can claim, visit the Government's SEISS website.

Guidance notes have been produced which can be found at the following website, which includes an online tool to check eligibility

Article updated 2nd June 2021


Online Business Support Finder

The government has launched an interactive “Support Finder” to help businesses identify which financial support schemes are most suitable for their needs. There are 7 simple questions to help filter the results (e.g. do you employ less than 250 people? are you self-employed? do you pay business rates? etc.):

Article added 21st April 2020