Ukie COVID-19 roundup: Government and business support

Understandably, the financial impact of the ongoing COVID19 crisis may be a large concern for many games businesses around the country. Rest assured, support is available and Ukie is here to help you. 

In this round-up, we will be outlining to you the routes of support put in place by the Government to help your business during this period. We will also be highlighting what actions Ukie are taking to assist the industry, and updates on our upcoming events. 

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT 

We know that small to medium sized businesses make up a significant proportion of our industry – up to 99.5%. If your business is an SME, you can benefit from the following Government support measures: 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme 

Originally announced in the 2020 Budget earlier this month, and previously expected to be available over the coming weeks, the scheme has now been brought forward and the loan amount has been increased. 

The temporary scheme provides loans via the British Business Bank of up to £5m per claim – an increase from the previous limit of £1.2m. 

On top of this, the first 6 months of interest payments will be covered by the Government. The scheme has now launched with more detailed information available here.
 

Statutory Sick Pay Relief package  

SMEs will also be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The Government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment scheme as soon as possible – so keep an eye on this. 

 

Small Business Grant Funding

The Government is providing additional funding for Local Authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs. You do not need to apply - your Local Authority will be in touch if you are eligible. 

 

Of course, games businesses of all sizes may need support. If you are a larger company, there is also the following available:  

 

COVID19 Corporate Financing facility 

The Bank of England has announced a new lending facility to provide a quick and cost effective way to raise working capital via the purchase of short-term debt.  

The scheme is available now.

Additionally, you may benefit from the following: 

HMRC Time to Pay 

All businesses in financial distress and outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time to Pay service. Please note that this will be done on a case by case basis. There is a dedicated helpline for this on 0800 0159 559 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

A new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be set up to help pay people's wages. Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to coverup to 80% of a worker's wages, up to a total of £2,500 a month - backdated to the 1st of March. 

The first grants are expected to be paid in weeks. 

Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

A similar scheme will also be in place to support the self-employed. Self-employed people who face financial difficulties will be able to have 80% of their monthly wages covered by the government, calcualted using average monthly profits over the last three financial years.

This will be capped at £2,500 per month. 

Self-employed people who are eligible can apply directly to HMRC for the grant, using a simple online form; HMRC will then pay the grant straight into your bank account.

The government aim for the scheme to be available no later than June. For those who are struggling now, most self-emplyoed people will be able to access the business interruption loan scheme, and all can use Universal Credit if needed.

Further information on support from the Government can be found here. 

 

As this is an evolving situation and we expect further measures and information to be announced in the coming weeks.  

UKIE EFFORTS AND EVENTS 

Ukie Hotline 2020
Ukie is bringing forward our annual Ukie Hotline in order to help support UK video game businesses now. The hotline gives all games companiws the opportunity to get quick and free advice from industry experts across various disciplines: PR, Legal, recruitment, finance, business development and much more.
Click here for more information.  


 
Remote Working Tips 
With significant social distancing requirements now in force, remote working is going to be a feature of our working lives for quite some while. We have collated some tips from across the industry to help you settle into the working-from-home life! 

We have more planned for the weeks ahead – so make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date. 
 

Events 
Following Government and medical advice, a range of Ukie events have been postponed or moved to the digital sphere.  

  • Student Conference has been postponed and wE are aiming to host a digital version in some form. 
  • Digital Schoolhouse Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Team Battle will be postponed until further notice 
  • London Games Festival: while several physical events are cancelled, much of the festival continues via online events and forums. 

The Ukie team are also now working from home but still contactable on our respective emails. 

ADDITIONAL USEFUL LINKS