LAST UPDATE: 06/11/2020
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. This page will be updated throughout the crisis.
Meanwhile, you may be interested to see how the games industry overall has responded and experienced the COVID19 pandemic - demonstrated here in our 'Playing On' report.
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.
The scheme has been extended to 31st January 2021.
SMEs will also be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. Click the link above for more info on how to apply, and the eligibility criteria.
The Small Business Grant Funding has now closed and this section will be deleted at the next update.
The Bounce Back Loan Scheme, launched in May 2020, has been introduced to help smaller businesses impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19). It aims to assist those businesses to borrow between £2,000 up to 25% of a business’ turnover (the maximum amount available is £50,000).
Government will cover any interest payable in the first 12 months through a Business Interruption Payment to the lender, and lenders benefit from a 100% government-backed guarantee.
The government has set the interest rate for this loan at 2.5% per annum and the repayment term is fixed at six years. No repayments are due during the first 12 months.
There is also now government support for start ups:
The Future Fund enables startups to access cash through 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 has been extended and closes on 31st January 2021.
Of course, games businesses of all sizes may need support. If you are a larger company, there is also the following available:
Support is also available for large companies. Under the COVID19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short-term debt from large companies.
It will run initially for 12 months (March 2021).
A scheme similar to CBILS has also been announced for larger firms. The CBILS 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.
Lenders will be allowed to extend the loan up to ten years.
The scheme is available now and has been extended to 31st January 2021.
Additionally, you may benefit from the following:
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
This scheme, originally meant to come into effect in November, has now been postponed due to the extension of the Job Retention Scheme.
The Scheme has been extended to 31 March 2021.
If you cannot maintain your workforce because your operations have been affected by coronavirus, you can furlough employees and apply for a grant to cover a portion of their usual monthly wage costs where you record them as being on furlough.
This is a Scheme to support those who are self-employed.
There will now be a third round of grants. The Government will pay a taxable grant calculated at 80% of 3 months average monthly trading profits, capped at £7,500 in total.
The online service will open from the 30th November 2020. A fourth round will begin in February 2021.
As this is an evolving situation and we expect further measures and information to be announced in the coming weeks.
Many devolved support schemes have now closed, but the following is still available:
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 activity for up to 12 months.
UKIE EFFORTS AND EVENTS
Navigating Now and Beyond
Navigating Now & Beyond is a series of informative guest guides providing technical and practical advice for games companies in navigating working both during and after the crisis.
Find more articles at our Navigating Now and Beyond hub here.
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