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 0800 998 1098

The Government Business Support helpline provides free, impartial business support and help with contacting 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.

Local Restriction Support Grants

The government has announced a series of business support grants, which will be administered by Darlington Council, to provide cash grants for businesses that have been affected by either the local or national lockdown restrictions. The criteria and amounts vary across the grant schemes based on the level of restrictions but also based on the size of your business and whether or not you were forced to close. Details of the Local Restrictions Support Grants can be found here.

Other financial support

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 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will now run until the end of March 2021, with employees receiving 80% of their salary for hours not worked. Employers will have to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions, and the Government will review whether employers should be asked to increase their contributions in January.

 Check to find information on:

Please note: The previously announced Job Support Scheme will not be introduced until after Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends.

Kickstart Fund

Kickstart is a £2 billion Government initiative aiming to create thousands of 6 month, paid work experience placements with employers.

Jobs under this scheme will be open to 16-24-year-olds in receipt of Universal Credit and who are at risk of long term unemployment. The government will pay the salaries of young people in placements for 25 hours and at minimum wage. Employers can supplement hours and pay as they see fit.

Funding available for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

For full details of the Kickstart Scheme are available on the .gov website [external link].

To help the many small and medium sized companies in the Tees Valley to access this support and create jobs, Tees Valley Combined Authority has agreed to act as a Gateway for any businesses who wish to offer less than 30 job placements.

To find out more visit the Tees valley business website [external link].

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.