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Now is a time that SME owners must be aware of all financial support and services

At this time of great uncertainty, small businesses are facing a battle for survival. As owners work hard to manage the impact of the crisis, it is important that they are aware of all the financial support and facilities available to them.

Following on from the coronavirus-related measures announced in the 2020 Spring Budget, the government has announced a package of emergency measures to protect the economy and businesses.

These measures include £330 billion in loans, £20 billion in aid, a business rates holiday and grants for selected businesses. Notably, the year-long business rates holiday has been extended to all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, with pubs and restaurants able to provide takeaway services without a planning application.

With regard to business grants, grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 are available to small businesses. Of course, the government may have to go further, but its adoption of a “whatever-it-takes” approach offers some reassurance.

The private sector is also launching support measures for small businesses. For example, Facebook has announced a £83 million programme to help small firms affected by Covid-19. Grants will be made available for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries. The number of initiatives from the private sector is likely to grow in the coming days and weeks.

At the same time, it is important that businesses are aware of the support and facilities that are being offered by high-street lenders and alternative finance service providers. A full understanding of the assistance and facilities that are available will be beneficial as business owners manage this crisis and, when the time comes, begin to go back to normal and regrow.

With regard to alternative finance, the likes of invoice finance, asset finance, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding are redrawing the small business funding landscape. These facilities, which offer a more personalised approach to lending, are helping small businesses keep their heads above water and grow. They are providing them with access to capital, on an affordable and flexible basis, to help manage cash flow and for critical investment.

The support measures, from both the public and private sectors, are a positive, but with consumer traffic slowing, spending levels dropping and revenue streams under threat, small businesses face unprecedented challenges.

So, as small business owners attempt to navigate these roughest of waters and, at a later date, as they think about revitalisation and regrowth, when it comes to financial planning and access to capital, it is vital that they know about all the support and services that are on offer to them.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact Steve Bowles on 01903 602211 or steve.bowles@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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