To date, more than 1.3 million businesses have taken advantage of the Government’s Bounce Back Loan initiative. More than £40 billion has been borrowed by businesses looking for financial support during the pandemic. But under new plans announced this week, many will be able to top-up their Bounce Back Loans.
Can I top up my Bounce Back Loan?
During the Downing Street press briefing on Saturday, October 31, the Prime Minister declared the furlough scheme would be extended throughout the national lockdown.
Boris Johnson’s announcement prompted many to wonder whether support for the self-employed would be increased to reflect the lockdown as well.
The Treasury has announced businesses which borrowed less than the maximum £50,000 or 25 percent of their turnover, can top up their Bounce Back Loans.
The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) allows smaller businesses to access between £2,000 and up to 25 percent of their turnover.
Under the scheme, the Government guarantees 100 percent of the loan, and there aren’t any fees or interest to pay in the first 12 months, but after 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5 percent annually.
The Treasury has also announced the Bounce Back Loan Scheme will be open for applications until January 31, 2021.
The changes to the scheme will help provide businesses across the country with cash to get through the next stage of the lockdown.
Following the announcement of a number of changes to the Government’s financial support this week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the Government was responding to the “rapidly changing health picture” in the UK.
He said: “So far we’ve provided £13.7 billion of support to self-employed people through the crisis – and I’ve always said we will continue to do everything we can to support livelihoods across the UK.
“The rapidly changing health picture has meant we have had to act in order to protect people’s lives and I know this is an incredibly worrying time for the self-employed.
“That is why we have increased the generosity of the third grant, ensuring those who cannot trade or are facing decreased demand are able to get through the months ahead.”
In total increases in support for the self-employed will bring the total amount of Government support to £4.5 billion between November and January 2021.
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Tommy McNally, tax expert from the TommysTax app told Express.co.uk: “The new SEISS grant of 80 percent is a decent package for many but I believe this should be extended all the way through to Christmas and beyond.
“The effect of Covid will be felt long after the lockdown and Christmas is usually a difficult time for business anyway when things shut down, so I would suggest them extending it through to January at 80 percent. 40 percent just isn’t enough.
“I think a bigger issue is extending the support to the people who didn’t qualify in the first place.
“They have really looked after people who did qualify but there are still lots of people out there who haven’t had a penny of support.
“They need to acknowledge these people – the newly self-employed, or those who earn more than £50,000 in self-employment, or people who have recently moved from a secure job to more insecure work.
“There are still around 3 million people who receive no help at all and it’s a real kick in the teeth for them to see their competitors or friends get thousands of pounds in grants while they get nothing. There’s a huge gap that needs to be acknowledged.”