As the Government bring in stricter measures to enforce social distancing we want to look at what support has been provided for businesses and their employees.
Before we do, please note the following Manchester Digital initiatives.
COVID-19 Survey - how can we help - Please take part in this survey to inform us of the impact you’ve felt so far, and what support you need from us. Feedback will be sent to government.
Freelancer Hangout: This video shows the recording of our event in which the self-employed quizzed experts about the Chancellor's support package
#MDTechCommunity Slack Channel - Our Slack channel boasts over 250 members and has a dedicated #coronavirus channel in which members are sharing tips, advice, and support to one another.
What Government support exists for businesses?
As the Government all but puts the UK into lockdown, we take a look at Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s new policies aimed at supporting businesses through the crisis. Whilst a lot of new measures have been announced, we are hearing that freelancers and the self-employed feel forgotten about in the Chancellor’s plans so far. It is estimated that there are over 5 million self-employed people in the UK, making up 15% of the labour market – as such we will be pressing government for support for freelancers.
Manchester Digital is currently putting a survey together that will fully understand the concerns freelancer’s hold. We will also be releasing a series of guides to go along our already published members-only freelancer legal templates.
With that in mind, let’s look at what has been announced so far.
The main policies that make up the backbone of the Chancellor's £350bn support package include:
So is there no support for self-employed and freelance businesses?
This has been some:
During the crisis, the Universal Credit minimum income floor will be relaxed if you are sick with Corona or self-isolating
People can claim Universal Credit and access upfront payments without going to the jobcentre if they are self-isolating
Employment & Support Allowance can be paid you’re sick with Corona or self-isolating from day 1 (instead of the usual day 8)
Universal Credit has been increased by £1,000 a year for the next 12 months.
All self-assessment payments for businesses will be deferred to 2021.
It’s worth noting that the HM Treasury told the BBC the government was "working hard on further measures to support the self-employed".
How can I apply for the Business Interruption Loan Scheme?
If you are a UK-based SME with an annual turnover of less than £45m, then you are eligible for an interest-free loan of up to £5m to support you through Covid-19 related difficulties.
This loan comes with grant payment from the government to help with initial fees for the first 12 months. They will also guarantee 80% of the loan amount to give banks and financial companies the confidence to lend.
The scheme, which will initially run for six months, will allow your business to borrow for up to six years. This money will have to be repaid in full – the guarantee is for the lenders, not the borrowers.Are all small and medium sized firms able to borrow money?
In short, no. All companies must prove they have been trading successfully and viably but need support to overcome the current disruption. This means not all firms will be successful.
The money will be provided by more than 40 lenders who have signed up to the scheme, including High Street banks like Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and NatWest as well as more specialist finance companies.
To apply, businesses are being asked to initially contact their own bank first (if they are taking part in the scheme) via the company website if possible, and only approach other lenders if they need to.
How Manchester Digital can help
Membership Benefits - We are helping our members to maintain their profile and visibility during this period by sharing their news, jobs and live webinar events on our site and via our vast network of over 35,000 contacts.
If you would like to discuss how we can help you to raise your profile and maintain continuity in this difficult period, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
We want our members and the wider community during this crisis. This page outlines the support options and initiatives we are running.
Finally, please do take the time to respond to our COVID-19 survey.