Over the last 2 years, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to troubling and challenging times, especially for small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs). With almost the entire nation having stayed indoors during the pandemic, these businesses were on the brink of collapse as an aftermath. Help was needed, and the government came up with a number of options to assist including short term loans and time to pay agreements on VAT and Corporation Tax.
One of these initiatives was a government-backed Bounce Back Loan which allowed all eligible businesses to take out borrowing of up to £50,000 without having to provide a personal guarantee. Bounce Back Loans became available in March 2020, with no repayments having to be made by the borrowing company for the first 12 months.
As the pandemic continued to grip the country, the government then also made an amendment to the scheme in order to help companies repay their loans. This has taken the form of the Pay As You Grow (PAYG) initiative which gives a company extra breathing space when it comes to making the monthly repayments on its Bounce Back Loan.
The PAYG scheme offers help in three main ways, depending on the level of support an individual company requires:
- Companies can extend the initial 12-month payment holiday for an additional six months. Interest will continue to accrue during this time which will mean companies who take advantage of this option will pay more back over the life of the loan.
- The term of the Bounce Back Loan can be extended from six years up to ten years. Spreading the repayments over a longer term will considerably reduce the monthly cost although this will cost more over the life of the loan.
- Interest-only payments can be made for six months. This will mean companies will save money on repayments for these months while ensuring no additional interest will be charged.
This has of course helped businesses, however many are still struggling to make repayments and although the Bounce Back Loans were initially backed solely by the government, as time went on, banks were required to take on more ownership and therefore began aggressively chasing repayments in much the same way as they would try and recoup any other unsecured loan once the repayments were due.
On top of this many businesses have had to deal with other issues restricting their return to recovery. No one could have predicted that rising fuel costs would hit an all-time high and whether your company runs a small office, retail outlet or factory unit fuel costs are having a significant impact with many reporting a ‘doubling’ of their bills. Add to this pressure from HMRC and banks to make repayments on accrued debt and loans some businesses are at breaking point with cash flow.
At InvestGrow Financial Services, one solution we are actively providing for a number of clients is to consolidate all of their debts. A consolidation loan will pay off all your debts and provide you with a single, more manageable monthly payment. Also known as an Umbrella Loan, this option could assist your company if you have debts from several sources with repayments going out at different times during the month. It can be difficult to keep track of everything, so by consolidating all your debts into a single bigger loan, the payment covering all your debts may be available for a lower interest rate than all the combined rates currently being paid and spread over a longer term. HMRC arrears can be incorporated into this type of loan and for those who are juggling a number of loans, credit cards, and supplier debts, this could be a viable option.
For further information on consolidating your finances please contact us here.