“Over the past week I have contacted a number of small businesses in Bognor and Littlehampton in order to understand how they are dealing with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Many are very worried and, while all welcomed the Government’s promise to provide financial relief, a number raised some concerns which I have now taken up with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak.
“Some business owners are concerned that the banks are taking too long to respond to loan applications made under the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and are applying normal lending criteria rather than recognising the unique and urgent nature of the problems these business are facing. In some cases, banks are also seeking personal guarantees.
“I am very concerned about these issues. Banks should be responding as quickly as they can to applications. The Treasury is working hard to make sure that the Scheme is effective in delivering aid at speed to businesses in need.
“The pandemic poses an unprecedented threat not only to our physical health but to the financial wellbeing of the nation. The Government has promised to do whatever it takes to help people and business get through the next few months. People should not have to worry about the impact coronavirus will have on their jobs, their incomes and their ability to provide for their families. That’s why the £330 billion package of loans and guarantees that the government has announced is so welcome.
“The government is working as quickly as it can to roll out all the measures. Since the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme was launched last week, more than £90 million in loans have been made to nearly 1,000 small and medium sized businesses.
“I am determined to see that businesses in Bognor Regis and Littlehampton are supported during this crisis and that any teething issues in the implementation of the government’s multi-billion pound protection scheme are ironed out as swiftly as possible.”
·The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme enables businesses affected by coronavirus to apply for loans for up to six years, with no interest charged for the first twelve months.
·Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employers are able to apply for a grant to cover 80% of employees’ salaries up to a total of £2,500 a month per employee. The government will also refund Statutory Sick Pay costs to employers with staff who need to self-isolate.
·Many self-employed workers will be eligible for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, a taxable grant worth 80% of trading profits up to the maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months.
·Shops, restaurants and hotels have had little option but to temporarily close and so to help businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, the government will offer grants of up to £25,000 to eligible businesses and they won’t be required to pay business rates for 12 months.
·All businesses can choose to defer VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 until 31 March 2021 and all commercial tenants will be protected from eviction if they cannot pay their rent in the next three months.
- The Small Business Grant Scheme, a one-off grant of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief and rural rate relief, will provide stability for the smallest businesses.
For the latest guidance about support for businesses and how to apply, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses