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COVID-19 business support and information

Financial support for businesses

What financial support is available from the government?

The government is continuing to update information on support available to businesses. You can also use the business support finder tool to see what's available for you and your business.

Are any grants available for my business?

We're administering a number of government grants for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are grant schemes currently available based on the various tier restrictions and national lockdown periods imposed from October 2020 to date.

Find out more about COVID-19 Business Support Grants

Can I contact the council about support for businesses?

You can email us about issues affecting your business or to ask about support available. 

Can my business receive business rate relief?

The government announced in March 2020 that retail, leisure and hospitality businesses will not need to pay business rates in the 2020 to 2021 tax year. A list of eligible businesses can be found in the government’s expanded retail discount guidance. We'll apply business rates relief automatically.

What loan schemes are available for my business?

The Bounce Back Loan scheme provides small and medium-sized businesses with loans of between £2,000 and £50,000. The loans are 100% guaranteed by the government. Loan terms will be up to 6 years and no repayments will be required in the first 12 months. The Bounce Back Loan scheme is now open for applications through accredited lenders.

The length of the loan has been extended from six years to ten, reducing monthly interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays are also now available to businesses. The scheme is open for applications until 31 March 2021.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme can provide smaller businesses with loans of up to £5 million, with no interest for the first 12 months. The scheme provides the lender with a government backed guarantee of 80% of the loan and there is no fee for businesses accessing the scheme. There is no requirement for personal guarantees on loans under £250,000. The government has also given lenders the ability to extend the length of loans from a maximum of six years to ten years. The scheme is open for applications until 31 March 2021.

The Future Fund provides growing UK companies with government convertible loans from £125,000 up to £5 million. Recipients must be able to attract an equivalent amount in match funding from private sector investors and have raised at least £250,000 from third-party investors over the past 5 years. The scheme is now open for applications and will close on 30 November. The scheme is open for applications until 31 March 2021.

How can I access financial support for employees’ wages?

The government has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which provides support for employees’ wages, will be extended until April 2021. The scheme will provide grants to employers to pay 80% of wages for employees not working, up to £2,500 a month. Employers will need to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions but will not be required to contribute towards salary costs as previously required. Employers may top up salaries to 100% if they wish.

You can check if you can claim and make a claim online.

What support is available for self-employed workers?

The government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) offers grant payments for eligible self-employed individuals. The scheme runs until the end of April 2021. The deadline for the third claim was 29 January 2021. Details about the fourth grant are expected to be announced on 3 March 2021.

Can I claim Universal Credit if I am self-employed?

You can claim Universal Credit if you're self-employed, providing you meet the usual eligibility criteria. The government has relaxed the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor for the duration of the outbreak. You can find more information in the government’s guidance on self-employment and Universal Credit.

You can access support to help you claim by contacting Citizens Advice.

Can I defer VAT payments?

Businesses were able to defer VAT payments between March and June 2020, with payments being due in full by March 2021. The government has now announced that businesses who deferred VAT bills will be given the option to make payments in 11 smaller interest-free instalments during the 2021-22 financial year.

Are any tax cuts available?

In July, the government reduced the VAT rate for hospitality and tourism businesses from 20% to 5%. This reduction will apply until March 2021.

Page last updated: 23 February 2021

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