Business Finance: Fund Support is Within Reach

Money Posted 02/03/21
NatWest regional MD of business banking for London and the South East, Sarah Bilby, has advice for SMEs on where to get financial support through the crisis.

Natwest Logo The dramatic spread of Covid-19 has disrupted lives and livelihoods, with some of the most devastating financial impacts hitting local businesses hardest. While help is available for SMEs to weather the immediate impacts of coronavirus, support schemes tend to vary from region to region and it can be confusing to find out what you may be eligible for.

This outline on the financial support available to SMEs in England includes information on the lockdown grants announced on 5 January.

Your bank is a great place to start if you are seeking help to mitigate the financial impacts of coronavirus. We can help you to navigate the best option for your business, which might include applying for a government-backed loan, repayment holiday, overdraft, or discussing other finance options. Support available for NatWest business customers can include:

Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS): Loans from £2K up to 25% of turnover (max £50K) over 6 years, with a 12-month interest free period. If you already have a Bounce Back Loan from last year but borrowed less than you were entitled to, you can top up your existing loan to your maximum amount. You must request the top-up by 31 March 2021. Eligibility criteria applies.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS): Loans of up to £5 million and no interest payments for 12 months for small businesses directly affected by coronavirus. Applications are open until March 31, and businesses with an existing CBILS loan that is less than the maximum amount they are entitled to can apply for a top-up. Eligibility criteria applies.

Repayment holidays for up to 12 months on your business loan.


Local Business Growth Enablers that support you and a network of SMEs by sharing region specific information and providing business advice on issues such as cash flow and supply chain disruption.

One-off grants are available in England to support businesses impacted by coronavirus through the latest restrictions. Businesses that have been required to close due to national restrictions imposed by government as of 5 January 2021 may be eligible for a one-off grant of up to £9,000.

The government has also announced an extension to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant. If you’re self-employed and have been affected by coronavirus, you may be able to apply for two grants up until the end of April 2021. More information on these grants can be found on the UK Government website.

You may be able to delay some tax payments without paying a penalty, if you’re unable to pay on time because you’ve been affected by coronavirus. If you’re registered in the UK for self-assessment, you can choose how and when you can delay making your second payment on account for the 2019 to 2020 tax year.

If your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector, or a nursery, you may be eligible for business rates relief. The government has also announced it will extend the temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors to the end of March 2021. Further information and advice can be found on the UK Government website.

Alongside these schemes, many councils, Local Enterprise Partnerships, community and charity organisations are continuing to operate and offer information on local and national business support, sources of finance, and provide advice to build business resilience.

And finally, as we all know, the coronavirus situation is developing rapidly and there may be changes to various support schemes in England at short notice.

For up-to-date information about the support available and how to claim it, visit the NatWest Coronavirus Hub at

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