Government Support for businesses affected by Covid-19

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a package of measures to support businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

The Government have an online tool [external link] to help you find support for your business. You answer a series of questions and it will tell you of the support available to your business or to you if you are self-employed.

The main support mechanisms are listed below, but to find out more information, visit GOV.UK - about the government guidance to employers, employees and businesses[external link].

Business Advice and Guidance

There is a dedicated Business Support Helpline Telephone Helpline Tel. 0800 998 1098

The Government Business Support helpline provides free, impartial business support and signposting services to businesses in England - which currently includes business advice on Covid-19.

Financial Support

The Government have made a series of announcements about support available to businesses in response to the Coronavirus pandemic:

All businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors (including pubs) will pay no business rates in 2020/21.

Businesses classed as within retail, leisure and hospitality sectors (including pubs) with a rateable value of over £15,000 and up to £51,000 will receive a £25,000 grant in 2020/21 in addition to their relief from business rates.

Businesses who receive small business rates relief will receive a £10,000 grant in 2020/21 on top of their existing relief.

The Local Authority Business Discretionary Grant Fund is now closed, due to the full allocation of available funds.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) [external link] supports small and medium-sized businesses with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to six years. To find out more view the CBILS FAQs for SMEs here [external link].

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) [external link] enables smaller businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak. Small businesses can now apply for quick and easy-to-access loans from most banks and other accredited lenders. The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won't be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

The New Future Fund [external link] was established by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to support the UK's innovative businesses currently affected by Covid-19. The fund will provide UK Government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. These businesses have been unable to access other government business support programmes, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. The scheme will deliver an initial commitment of £250m of new government funding which will be unlocked by private investment on a match funded basis.

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

From Tuesday 26 May 2020, small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, will be able to apply to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees.

Employers will be able to make claims to the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme [external link] through a new online service. Employers will receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP that they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020. 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - Guidance [external link] has been updated with new information on the maximum number of employees you can claim for.

You can now claim online (HMRC) for a grant for 80% of your furloughed employees' salaries, up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee, per month, through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30 June. This means that the final date by which an employer needs to agree with their employee and ensure they place them on furlough is 10 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.

From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.

Furloughed employees will continue to be entitled to receive the current 80 per cent of wages (subject to the £2,500 monthly cap) through to the end of October but from August employers will be expected to contribute towards this.

In August the government contribution towards the employee’s pay when on furlough will remain at 80 per cent but employers will be required to pay employer national insurance and pension contributions. In September, employers will also be required to pay 10 per cent of wages and the government will contribute 70 per cent. In October, the employer contribution will increase to 20 per cent with the government contribution falling to 60 per cent.

Tax helpline

HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax or wishing to defer VAT payment due to coronavirus (COVID-19). If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 024 1222.