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Government launches online financial support platform for business

Businesses will be able to use the government’s online support finder tool to discover what sort of financial support is available to them during the Covid-19 pandemic

The government has launched an online platform to help businesses that are struggling financially due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The platform, which is also available for those who are self-employed, asks users to fill out a short online questionnaire and directs them to a list of financial support available to them based on their answers.

As previously reported by Computer Weekly, the government has announced a £250m Future Fund, which will be made available in May, and will provide loans from £135,000 to £5m to UK businesses, subject to equal match funding from private investors.

The government has also pledged £750m for the most research and development (R&D) intensive small and medium-size firms, which will be available through Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme.

Business secretary Aloc Sharma said that all kinds of businesses “play a vital role in our economy, which is why we want to make it as easy as possible for all of them to access our wide-ranging package of financial support during this challenging time”.

“This online questionnaire takes just minutes to complete and will quickly signpost a business to the loans, grants or other schemes they could be eligible for,” Sharma said.

Earlier in April, the government also extended its coronavirus loan scheme to all viable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have faced financial difficulty during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme, companies with a turnover of up to £45m can apply for a loan of up to £5m, which will be interest-free for a year and have the risk underwritten by the HM Treasury.

Initially, companies had to prove they were unable to get loans on commercial terms, but earlier in April, chancellor Rishi Sunak scrapped the condition to allow more businesses to apply for help.

These are some of the schemes part of what Sunak called an “unprecedented package of support to protect jobs, businesses and incomes during these challenging times”.

“Millions are already benefitting and this new online tool will allow firms and individuals to identify what help they are entitled to in a matter of minutes,” said Sunak. “We are doing everything we can to make our support as accessible and as easy to navigate as possible.”

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