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Updates to Covid-19 business support in the UK

A host of recent Covid-19 business support updates have been announced, covering everything from finances to apprenticeships. We have all of the latest info for you here.

Latest update: 23 February 2021

UK-wide

One key aspect of Covid-19 business support has been the flagship Bounce Back Loans. The government has now announced that businesses are allowed more time and flexibility to repay these Bounce Back Loans. Businesses will have the following options:

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

Lenders will contact borrowers about their options under this new ‘Pay as You Grow’ scheme. For more information click here.

For England, Wales and Scotland, the government’s Kickstart Scheme will be made more available. Employers are now able to apply to the Kickstart Scheme without a minimum threshold of 30 jobs. The scheme, which began in September 2020, is helping to put young people aged 16-24 on the first rung of their career ladder. The government are making it even simpler for employers of all sizes to benefit from joining the scheme by removing the requirement to create a minimum of 30 vacancies to apply directly. The scheme runs until December 2021. For more information click here.

England

Update: Currently in nationwide lockdown, with hair and beauty businesses set to re-open for business from 12 April.  For more information on the government’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown, click HERE.

The government has updated its apprenticeship guidance for England with new information on face-to-face training and when to consider a break in an apprenticeship. Training and assessment must take place remotely wherever possible, with some exceptions. For example:

  • Face-to-face training and assessment can continue in colleges, training providers’ premises and assessment venues for vulnerable young apprentices and the children of key workers who need it.
  • Apprentices who were planning to take end-point-assessments in January, or are planning to do so in February or March, can attend educational settings for face-to-face training where their training cannot be completed remotely.

There can now be a break in learning if it is not possible for an apprenticeship to be delivered properly via remote learning. For more information click here.

Wales

Currently in nationwide lockdown. The measures are reviewed every three weeks. Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford has stated non-essential retail, including hairdressers, could re-open from mid-March. Details are expected in the next few days.

Business rates for 2021/22 are to be frozen. For more information, click here.

The Welsh Government announced additional funding to help businesses through until the end of March.

  • Businesses with a rateable value of £12,000 or under will be eligible to receive a payment of £3,000.
  • Businesses with a rateable value between £12,001 and £150,000 will be eligible to receive a payment of £5,000.
  • Businesses with a rateable value of up to £500,000 will also be eligible for the £5,000 grant.

Click here to find your local authority to ensure you receive the financial support available.

Scotland

Update: Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced the country’s phased exit from lockdown. Hair and beauty businesses are set to return to the regional tiers system from 26 April. For more information click here. Some Scottish Isles are exempt (see here for full list).

A fund for owners and operators of mobile and home-based close contact service businesses is now open and will be open for four weeks (closes 17 March). The fund will be awarded on a ‘first-come first-served’ basis. Apply HERE.

100 per cent rates relief has been extended. This extension will last for at least three months, beyond the original end date of 31 March 2021. This includes salons and barbershops that have had to close due to coronavirus. You do not need to apply as the rates relief will be automatically applied to your bill by your local council. For more information click here.

Additional support has been announced for non-mobile hair and beauty businesses working in the wedding sector. You can apply to a £25 million support fund – and, in recognition of the continuing challenges faced by the sector, a further £10 million has been added to the £15 million announced in December. The fund will provide one-off grants of up to £25,000 for eligible businesses affected by the pandemic. Click here for more information and to apply.

Northern Ireland

Currently in nationwide lockdown. Regulations are in place until 1 April 2021, to be reviewed on 18 March 2021. All hair and beauty services, including mobile, are not permitted to operate.


Find our latest Covid-19 business support and restriction updates here >>