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Coronavirus: Here’s what big business can help you with

Big businesses across the UK continue to announce new measures to help supply chains, business customers and other firms across the country deal with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

We are tracking the offers big businesses have launched

  • Asda – On 19 March, the company announced it will offer local cafes and restaurants the opportunity to take on additional catering services and help feed Asda’s employees. It also announced that it will pay its small suppliers immediately and provide a “rent free quarter” to 250 small business tenants in its stores.

  • AutoTrader – On 19 March, the company confirmed two measures of support. It will not charge retailer customers for any advertising packages during the month of April and will allow customers to defer payment of March advertising costs by 30 days.

  • Barclays – On 20 March, the company announced a range of support measures for business. These include 12-month capital repayment holidays on existing loans over £25,000 and increased or new overdraft facilities and other working capital solutions. It also confirmed that 360,000 small businesses have pre-assessed lending limits which can be accessed via the Barclays app or online banking. And it reconfirmed its existing £14bn lending fund will remain open for access.

  • British Land – On 23 March, the company announced it would release its “smaller, struggling food and beverage and leisure customers from rental obligations for three months (April to June)”. It also pledged to work with its partners on sites which are joint ventures or held via fund structures “to agree an appropriate approach”.

  • Cisco – On 2 March, the company added additional features to its Webex software and offered free 90-day licenses to businesses which are not current Webex customers.

  • Deliveroo – On 27 March Deliveroo launched a free daily payment service to help its restaurant partners. The company said restaurants would be able to receive money made from deliveries within a day, “instantly improving cash flow”.

  • Facebook – On 17 March, the company announced a wide range of measures to support businesses globally. This includes a $100m fund to support small businesses around the world, and the launch of a Business Resource hub full of information and advice.

  • Grosvenor – On 25 March, the company confirmed it will offer rent deferrals and rent-free arrangements to “independent and vulnerable retail tenants and commercial businesses including farms” to help with cash flow concerns. It also committed to paying suppliers in advance, or as quickly as possible.

  • HSBC – On 23 March the company announced a range of measures. These include offering companies involved in the supply and manufacture of ventilators “preferential pricing, extended repayment terms on loans and fast track approval times”. It has also removed the £100 fee for small business loans. On 20 March, it announced measures for exporting and importing companies. These include £3bn of support for importers and exporters from its existing SME Lending Fund, “pre-approved 60-day extensions on trade loans for customers with a sound trade loan/financing record”, a “one-hour turnaround on the issuance of shipping guarantees”, and a dedicated helpline to speak to trade finance specialist. On 11 March, it announced initial measures to support UK businesses. These include £5bn of support from its existing SME Lending Fund, a dedicated helpline for business customers, and proactive calling by relationship managers to customers. The company also said it would consider “offering repayment holidays to free up cash”, “review overdrafts of trade loans to allow stock to be held longer”, and “provide trade finance solutions to support customers with their supply chains”.

  • Intu: On 25 March it was reported that the company will lower its service charge by 22 per cent in the second half of its 2020 financial year. This means tenants will see an 11 per cent reduction to annual service charges.

  • John Lewis Partnership – On 19 March, the company announced a £1m community support fund, to be distributed by Waitrose shops to local communities as they see fit.

  • Just Eat – On 19 March, the company announced a £10m 30-day emergency support package for small, independent restaurant partners in its network. This includes a commission rebate and the waiving of all fees for takeaway restaurants signing up to the Just Eat platform.

  • Lloyd’s Banking Group – On 10 March, the company announced a £2bn package of arrangement fee-free finance to support small businesses. The support available includes “no arrangement fees for new overdrafts or overdraft limit increases”, “no arrangement fees for new or increased invoice finance facilities”, and “offering capital repayment holidays on loans for businesses that have been severely impacted”.

  • Microsoft – On 12 March, the company unveiled a new, free app called Power Apps. It’s designed to enable staff in companies to share, co-work and communicate quicker and more easily.

  • Morrison’s – On 13 March, the company announced it would move to immediate payments for its smaller suppliers. It is also temporarily re-classifying “smaller” suppliers from those with £100,000 of business per year to those with up to £1m per year.

  • NatWest/RBS –The company pledged a range of measures to support small and mid-sized businesses. This includes £5bn of finance focused “on the provision of working capital support”, loan repayment holidays, “temporary emergency loans with no fees”, and “consultancy and advice to help support businesses” through its NatWest Mentor scheme.

  • Netflix – On 20 March, the company announced a $100m global fund to support “hardship in the creative community”. While focused primarily on workers affected on its own productions, the fund will extend to other workers across the film and television industries.

  • Network Rail – On 20 March, the company announced it will cancel all rent payments due from tenants for the period 25 March to 23 June. It confirmed it will also cancel all base rent payments for retailers in its managed stations for April to June.

  • Rightmove – On 20 March, the company announced that it will discount invoices by 75 per cent for the next four months for agency, new homes and commercial customers.

  • Sainsbury’s – On 25 March, the company announced several commitments. These include supporting its suppliers with cash flow, and supporting suppliers which are in “distress” during the coronavirus outbreak. The company has also committed to paying small suppliers (those with less than £100,000 annual turnover with Sainsbury’s) immediately. Lastly, it is extending support to tenants and concession partners, beginning by offering tenants the opportunity to pay rent monthly rather than quarterly in advance.

  • SAP – On 20 March, the company announced it had made a wide range of its software products free of cost. It also unveiled a new digital learning initiative for people wishing to take online courses during the pandemic.

  • Tesco – On 20 March, the company announced shortened payment terms for suppliers with a “contract value of up to £250,000” from 14 days to five days. It has also committed to increasing orders from local suppliers across the country.

  • Unilever – On 24 March, the company announced a €500m programme to support its supply chain. This includes early payment for “vulnerable small and medium sized suppliers” and extending credit to “selected small-scale retail customers whose business relies on Unilever”.

Don’t forget to make use of our dedicated coronavirus business support hub.

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