Financial support for businesses
- Business grants
- Business rates and rent protection
- Government-backed loan schemes
- Winter Economy Plan
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
- Other forms of business support
See all the available grants on our dedicated webpage:
All retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, as well as nurseries, will receive 100% discount on business rates for 2020/21. This means that they will not have to pay business rates for the coming year. The new bills confirming retail relief have now all been issued.
The government has announced extra protection for businesses through:
- a ban on evictions for commercial tenants who miss rent payments
- protection from aggressive rent collection, calling on tenants to pay rent where they can afford it and in recognition of the strains also felt by commercial landlords, see GOV.UK website (external link)
The government has announced two loan schemes for businesses who need short-term cash flow support.
The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £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. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year.
The scheme is now closed.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support to smaller businesses affected by COVID-19.
The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months.
The scheme is now closed.
To find out more and see if your business is eligible, visit the CBILS page at GOV.UK (external link).
The maximum loan size under the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) has been increased from £50 million to £200 million to help ensure those large firms which do not qualify for the Bank of England’s COVID Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) have enough finance to meet cashflow needs during the outbreak. Visit the British Business Bank website (external link) for guidance on how to apply.
The Chancellor has put in place a range of measures to help businesses and workers affected by COVID-19 in the government’s Winter Economy Plan.
The package includes:
- An extension of the Job Retention Scheme (furlough) until 30 September 2021. You can no longer submit claims for claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.
- Anyone made redundant after September 23 can be rehired and put back on furlough
- An extension of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme
- An extension of the 15% VAT cut for the hospitality and tourism sectors until 31 March 2021
- More time to pay back the government’s 'Bounce Back' loans
- Business who deferred their VAT bills will be eligible for the New Payment Scheme, which gives the option to pay back in smaller instalments
The Job Support Scheme which was to replace furlough has now been put on hold.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021.
Find out if you’re eligible and how much you can claim to cover wages for employees on temporary leave ('furlough') due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
You can claim 80% of an employee’s usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
You can no longer submit claims for claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.
How to claim
Check if you can claim for your employees' wages and find out more on the CJRS (external link).
Adjusting your claim
If you’ve over-claimed through the CJRS, you can either:
- correct it in your next claim
- make a payment to HMRC (only if you’re not making another claim)
You’ll need your 14 or 15-digit payment reference number that begins with X. You must contact HMRC to get your payment reference number. See more details on the CJRS at GOV.UK (external link).
Statutory Sick Pay
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme went live on Tuesday 26 May. Small and medium-sized employers - with fewer than 250 employees - can use an online claim service to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments made to their employees.
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. See the full SSP guidance on GOV.UK (external link).
- The Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) website (external link) has advice for businesses on dealing with a range of employment issues including staff absence, homeworking, staff presenting symptoms, closing premises and staff lay-offs.
- Jobcentre Plus (external link) - help with advertising vacancies
Additional support measures announced by the government are:
- Businesses will be able to apply for a 3-month extension for filing their accounts, with those citing issues around COVID-19 being automatically and immediately granted an extension
- VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 can be deferred until the end of the 2020-21 tax year
- Businesses that are having difficulties paying their tax bill can contact the government’s Time to Pay service for support
Advice for businesses that trade internationally has been published by the Department for International Trade (external link).
Businesses that have taken out insurance covering both pandemics and government order closure are able to make a claim. Standard business interruption insurance may not be sufficient as it is dependent on damage to property and excludes pandemics. The Association of British Insurers (external link) have produced a guide to coronavirus and business insurance, and businesses should check the terms and conditions of their specific policy.
The London Community Response Fund (external link) is providing grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 to enable businesses to change the way they deliver work to ensure it continues to meet the needs of their communities, from switching to digital channels to redeploying staff to boost your capacity at a time of increased demand.
There is a wide range of support and guidance available to businesses, provided by trade bodies, networks and other organisations - please visit:
- London Business Hub (external link) - including a checklist to prepare businesses and the offer of a free one-hour consultation.
- Federation for Small Businesses (external link)
- Enterprise for London (external link)
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