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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. 

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. 

You can watch some webinar guides on these measures here. 

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: 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme 

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.

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. 

Small Business Bounce Back Loan

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. Businesses remain 100% liable to repay the full loan amount, as well as interest, after the first year.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme ends 30 November 2020.

There is also now government support for start ups:

Future Fund

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 30 November 2020.

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 

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).

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)

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 ends 30 November 2020

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 

Job Support Scheme

Starting 1 November, the Job Support Scheme will protect viable jobs in businesses facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID19. The Scheme will run for 6 months.

Employees must be working 33% of their usual hours. The government and the employer will each pay one third of their equivalent salary. 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Scheme will close on 31 October 2020.

Please note that from 1 August the level of grant will be reduced each month until the Scheme's closure. For more information, click the above link.

Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

This is a Scheme to support those who are self-employed.

It has now entered a second phase. Grants worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits are paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months' worth of profits, capped at £6,570 in total.

Applications close 19 October 2020.

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.  

DEVOLVED SUPPORT

Many devolved support schemes have now closed, but the following is still available:

Scotland: Open Fund - Sustaining Creative Development

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