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.
If you have any experience of accessing any of the measures and want to share that with us please email us.
UK-WIDE 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:
The temporary scheme provides loans via the British Business Bank of up to £5m per claim.
On top of this, the first 6 months of interest payments will be covered by the Government.
The CBILS is available for all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19. Lenders are banned from requesting personal guarantees on loans under £250,000. The scheme has now launched with more detailed information available here.
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.
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.
A new Bounce Back Loans scheme has been announced, which will provide loans of up to £50,000 to support the smallest business affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.
The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May.
There is also now government support for start ups:
The Future Fund will enable startups to access cash through a new convertible loan note program from the British Business Bank. The Government will match private investment on a 1:1 basis from a minimum of £125,000 to a maximum of £5 million.
To be eligible, a business must be an unlisted UK registered company that has previously raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third part investors in the last five years.
The fund will open on Wednesday 20th of May and will initially stay open until the end of September 2020.
£750million of targeted support will also be made available for the most R&D intensive small and medium size firms through Innovate UK's grants and loans scheme.
Innovate UK will accelerate £200million of grant and loan payments for 2,500 existing Innovate UK partners on an opt-in basis. An extra £550miliion will be made available to increase the support on offer for these existing partners. Finally, Further Innovate UK will provide £175,000 to around 1,200 firms not currently in receipt of Innovate UK funding.
Of course, games businesses of all sizes may need support. If you are a larger company, there is also the following available:
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.
A scheme similar to CBILS has also been announced for larger firms. The CLBILS provides a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45million and £500million.
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
A new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been set up to help pay people's wages for workers placed on temporary 'furlough'. 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 scheme has been extended until the end of October. From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.
The scheme is now open for applications.
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-employed people will be able to access the business interruption loan scheme, and all can use Universal Credit if needed.
As this is an evolving situation and we expect further measures and information to be announced in the coming weeks.
There is also support in place for businesses specifically in Wales and Scotland.
The EDDF Fund provides immediate financial support for games, animation, digital and creative digital businesses of up to £25,000 during the coronavirus outbreak. The funding is aimed at Welsh based businesses developing content, product and services in the creative industries.
Applications for funding are now open. The deadline is the 18th May 2020 5pm.
The Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary Fund provides support for individual creative practitioners and/or freelancers who are most deeply impacted by the cancellation of work due to the COVID-19 emergency to sustain their creative practice in Scotland.
The fund will offer one-off bursary payments of between £500 and £2,500 to help support immedaite needs.
Similar to the Creative Scotland Bridging Bursary Fund, the Screen Scotland Bridging Bursay Fund is to support freelancers or self-employed workers in Scotland's screen sector. The fund is for those who are experiencing immediate financial difficulty due to the loss of screen sector income in Scotland as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is also a one-off bursary of £500 to £2,500. The fund's overall budget is £1.5m.
The fund is now open for applications. There is no deadline.
This fund is open to both individuals and organisations in the creative industries, with between £1,000 and £50,000 available.
The fund aims to enable individuals and organisations to explore ways of working that will help them to adapt and respond to the current changing circumstances
The fund is now open. There is no deadline and can support activitiy for up to 12 months.
UKIE EFFORTS AND EVENTS
Ukie Education: Colouring Book
We’re looking for talented individuals to submit artwork to the Ukie colouring book! Ukie Education is creating a downloadable colouring book for children and adults to enjoy whilst at home. ! The theme of the colouring book is ‘play at home’ and thus all artwork featured with be inspired by games or activities that our contributors are enjoying at home.
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.
The Ukie team are also now working from home but still contactable on our respective emails.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL LINKS
A number of private lenders are also making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including £2 billion from Lloyds Banking Group, £5 billion from NatWest and £7 billion from Barclays