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Coronavirus Support: Financial Support, Grants and Business Rates

Financial support for businesses of all sizes impacted by Coronavirus.

Coronavirus Support: Financial Support, Grants and Business Rates

COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (Warrington Borough Council)

The Council’s COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) is now available to support local businesses with their business rate payments. The relief is available in 2021-22 to support local businesses affected by the pandemic but that are ineligible for existing business rates support.

Eligibility to receive an Award from this Scheme is based on the following principles:

Support will be offered to businesses which have been adversely affected by the pandemic and have been unable to adequately adapt to that impact.
An award from this Scheme will only be awarded for occupied premises (other than premises closed temporarily due to government advice on COVID-19)

Please note, businesses who for the same period of the relief would have been eligible for the Extended Retail Discount (covering Retail, Hospitality and Leisure) or the Nursery Discount are NOT eligible to receive this award.

Find out more about eligibility and apply here

COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (Cheshire West and Chester Council)

The government has now allocated funding for a discretionary local rate relief scheme to support businesses across Cheshire West and Chester Borough that did not receive rate relief in 2021/22 under the previous
The eligibility criteria is:

  • The business must have been adversely affected by COVID-19
  • The business must have been in occupation of their premises and trading or providing a service during the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2022
  • Businesses must be liable to pay Business Rates between the period 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2022

Find out more about eligibility and apply here

Recovery Loan Scheme (£1,000-£2 million)

The Recovery Loan Scheme is open for applications to help businesses of any size access loans and other kinds of finance so they can recover after the pandemic and transition period.

The maximum amount of finance available is £2 million per business (maximum amount per Group limited to £6m). Minimum facility sizes vary, starting at £1,000 for asset and invoice finance, and £25,001 for term loans and overdrafts.

You can use the finance for any legitimate business purpose – including managing cashflow, investment and growth. However, you must be able to afford to take out additional debt finance for these purposes. The scheme gives the lender a government-backed guarantee against the outstanding balance of the facility.

Businesses are required to meet the costs of interest payments and any fees associated with the RLS facility. The annual effective rate of interest, upfront fee and other fees cannot be more than 14.99%.

From 1 January 2022, the following changes came into force:

  • The scheme will only be open to small and medium sized enterprises
  • The maximum amount of finance available will be £2 million per business
  • The guarantee coverage that the government will provide to lenders will be reduced to 70%, you will always be 100% liable for the debt.

No personal guarantees will be taken on facilities up to £250,000, and a borrower’s principal private residence cannot be taken as security. Above £250,000 the maximum amount that can be covered under RLS is capped at a maximum of 20% of the outstanding balance of the RLS facility after the proceeds of business assets have been applied. No personal guarantees can be held over Principal Private Residences.

The maximum length of the facility depends on the type of finance you apply for and will be:

  • From 3 months up to 3 years for overdrafts and invoice finance facilities
  • From 3 months up to 6 years for loans and asset finance facilities

Find an accredited lender here.

Repayment of Bounce Back Loans 

Bounce Back Loan borrowers will now have the option to tailor payments according to their individual circumstances. Lenders will proactively and directly inform their customers of Pay as You Grow, and borrowers should only expect correspondence three months before their first repayments are due.

It will provide businesses with the following options:

  • Extend the length of the loan from six years to ten
  • Make interest-only payments for six months, with the option to use this up to three times throughout the loan
  • Pause repayments entirely for up to six months

Your lender will get in touch to outline your options three months before your repayments are due to start.

Rent Arrears Support

From the 24th March there is a legally binding arbitration process which is available for eligible commercial landlords and tenants who have not already reached an agreement. This will resolve disputes about certain pandemic-related rent debt and help the market return to normal as quickly as possible.

The law applies to commercial rent debts of businesses including pubs, gyms and restaurants which were mandated to close, in full or in part, from March 2020 until the date restrictions ended for their sector. Debts accrued at other times will not be in scope.

This replaces the law that landlords were unable to exercise a right of forfeiture (re-entry) in respect of business tenancies for non-payment of rent since 21 March 2020, detailed in the Coronavirus Act 2020.

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