Cookie Consent

By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.

Rishi Sunak boosts UK business

March 17, 2020
min read
Share this:

Sunak has doubled down on subsidised loans and provided direct cash payments to UK businesses, focussing on the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors.

Hot on the heels of the give-away Budget last week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak hasn’t hesitated to bolster support for UK businesses as they feel the strain of falling demand (driven by coronavirus health advisory).

With the country facing empty bars, empty restaurants and empty roads, he’s ripped up the rule book and pulled out the cheque book! Essentially, Sunak has doubled down on subsidised loans and provided direct cash payments to firms, particularly focussing on the retail, leisure, hospitality sectors.

So what does this mean for SMES? And when will this support land in your bank accounts and boost cash flow? Here are three key points from this afternoon’s announcement:


All businesses, regardless of size, have been given a 12-month business rates holiday. This will provide some breathing room and stave off the pressure on cash flow whilst you reorganise your finances.

Moreover, if you’re a business in the retail, leisure or hospitality sectors (so all shops, bars, clubs, restaurants, theatres, hotels and events venues etc) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 you’ll be able to apply for a £25,000 cash grant.

Remember, the Chancellor promised a formal review of the business rates scheme this autumn, so this situation could quickly change.


There has been a lot of confusion about whether firms could claim on their insurance for ‘business interruption’ because the government hadn’t instructed business to close. Today, the Chancellor clarified this point stating that for “those businesses which do have a policy that covers pandemics, the government action is sufficient to allow them to make claims.”

For smaller businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors who don’t have insurance, they’ll be able to apply for cash grants of up to £25,000 “to help bridge through this period.” Furthermore, Sunak also announced last week that the Government would be providing £3,000 grants to 700,000 of the smallest businesses. To support their cash flow, today, he increased those grants to £10,000.


To support lending to small and medium-sized businesses, Sunak has extended the Business Interruption Loan Scheme (announced at the Budget last week). So, rather than banks providing loans of £1.2 million, they will now provide loans of up to £5 million, with no interest due for the first 6 months. The government will cover their losses of up to 80% to provide confidence to financial institutions so they can lend. By subsidising these loans, businesses will be able to unlock working capital.

For larger firms, the Chancellor has set up a lending facility with the Bank of England which will allow them to access low cost commercial paper to finance their businesses.


The Chancellor said that this coronavirus is “first and foremost a public health emergency but also an economic emergency” and his announcements today certainly made that clear. The combined amount available to business is £330 billion, equivalent to 15% of UK GDP! It’s a big number but it will mean businesses can carry on doing the small things like pay their rents, their salaries, suppliers or purchase stock – all things accessible with a government-backed loan or credit on attractive terms.

In essence, Sunak wants businesses to keep going and to avoid having to let staff go. He acknowledges the pivotal role that UK SMEs play in our communities as well in our economic well-being as a nation. The critical thing will be timing: how quickly can he ship these funds out to business?

The Chancellor has named today’s announcements as part of a greater plan, the details of which will be shared with the public in the coming days. We’ll provide more information and insights as the situation unfolds.

B2B Payments to boost your growth

To learn more about our payments and digital trade credit solutions book a call with us today.
Email is invalid.
Please use your company email address.
Annual Revenue*
We’ll use this information to get in touch with you about our products and services in accordance with our Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe at any point. By submitting, you acknowledge we reserve the right to work with businesses that have been trading for a minimum of 12 months and have submitted at least one set of financial accounts.
Thank you. A member of the team will be in touch.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Explore related posts

Barclays Business Health Pledge Masterclass: Working Capital Solutions

Our CEO and Co-Founder, Anil Stocker, shared his expertise on the topic of alternative financing with Chris Forrest, Head of SME UK, Barclays Business. Find out how invoice finance can help!

 min read
Read more
Kriya's risk approach

Kriya’s risk approach in uncertain times

Our Chief Risk Officer, Michael Hoare reflects on the current economic landscape from the Risk team perspective

 min read
Read more
Anil Stocker, Co-Founder and CEO at Kriya, on businesses in the UK in 2022 and 2023.

Reflections on 2022 and looking ahead to 2023

How companies can navigate their business finance in 2023 and take advantage of key trends such as embedded finance

 min read
Read more