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With coronavirus affecting many firms in international trade, the Daily Update brings you an updated list of government schemes to help with paying wages and managing cash flow.

Furlough wages payment

UPDATE: The government’s scheme to help companies pay for staff they have had to put on temporary leave or ‘furlough’ opened at 8am this morning (Monday, 20 April). Known as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), it launched earlier than the end-of-April due date. The government says its system can process up to 450,000 claims an hour.

Employers can claim for 80% of their employees’ wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions, but there are criteria to satisfy.

HOW: Find out if your firm is eligible to claim for wages for employees on temporary leave (‘furlough’) here.

SME business loans

WHAT: Under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), SMEs with up to £45m turnover and considered ‘viable businesses’ can access one-year interest free loans from a group of 40 lenders managed by the British Business Bank. This scheme had to be overhauled after complaints about difficulty of accessing the loans. The government guarantees 80% of this loan to give banks the confidence to lend.

HOW: Apply for a CBILS loan here.

UPDATE: Almost three weeks after CBILS was launched, the government has admitted that only 1.4% of businesses that have applied for the loans have been successful. Pressure is now mounting on the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to offer 100% government-backed loans to prevent thousands of SMEs from going bust.

Loans for larger businesses

Initially for SMEs with annual turnovers of under £45m, CBILS has now been extended to the so-called ‘squeezed middle’ of firms in the £45m-250m turnover range.

Businesses with turnover in this bracket were then allowed to apply for government-backed loans of up to £25m.

UPDATE: Now firms with more than £250m can apply to borrow up to £50m from lenders.

HOW: Apply for a CBILS loan here.

Help for start ups

UPDATE: Today (Monday, 20 April) the government launched a £1.25bn support package for venture-capital backed businesses that are “driving innovation”, ranging from the tech to life sciences sectors.

The government is partnering with the private sector to launch a £500m co-investment fund for high-growth companies impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Money put up by private investors of between £125,000 and £5m will be matched by state-backed loans that can covert into equity.

SMEs focusing on research and development will also benefit from a £750m pot of grants and loans.

HOW: Detail on eligibility criteria and fund operation will be published “in due course” the government said today (Monday, 20 April).