The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.
This package includes a £10,000 cash grant to our smallest businesses, delivered by local authorities. Small businesses, including co-operatives, that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief or rural rate relief will be contacted by their local authority. Additional support has been made available for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, including co-operatives.
The package also includes the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), under which viable businesses with a turnover of less than £45m are eligible to apply for a loan of up to £5m. Government will provide an 80% guarantee on each of these loans, and cover the first 12 months interest payments and any fees. On 27 April, the Chancellor also announced the Bounce Back Loans Scheme (BBLS), which ensures that the smallest businesses can access up to £50,000 loans in a matter of just days. The Government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee on each loan, to give lenders the confidence they need to support the smallest businesses in the country. The Government will also cover the first 12 months interest payments and any fees, and no businesses will be required to make repayments until the initial 12-month period has ended. Co-operatives are eligible for CBILS and will be eligible for the BBLS, when it launches on 4 May, subject to the wider eligibility requirements for these schemes.
On 20 March, the Government announced the unprecedented Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms keep millions of people in employment. All UK employers can apply for a grant that covers 80% of furloughed employees’ usual monthly wage costs, up to £2500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions.
The Government recognises the value of co-operatives, and officials will continue to engage with sector representatives to understand the impact of the disruption caused by COVID-19.