Help and support for you

Everything you need to know to stop your business from running you.

Coronavirus – How can we help you?

The Government is offering a lot of support and I thought it would be helpful to try to have one place to update you as to what support is available, and where, and ask if you needed our help. As a business owner you need to focus on your customers and staff – and you can leave us to update you on what information you need to know!  

If you need our help just click on any of the email links, give us your phone number and email address and we will get back to you ASAP! Of course, this is an ongoing issue and not all details are available for the various items of government support when they are announced.  This page has evolved so some of the information is old as well as newer updates. Check back to see what changes periodically.

Budget 2021

The Chancellor announced various changes in his Budget of 3rd March 2021 – little detail yet and more updates to follow.

Support for businesses: the key points

●     The furlough scheme continues to Sept 2021 across the UK. From 1st July the government will reduce the amount of an employee’s wage from 80%. Full details of the furlough payments available to businesses are available here.

●     From April 2021, the government is introducing a ‘super deduction’ tax credit scheme by 25p for every pound they invest in new equipment. This scheme will be in place for 2 years. We need to know the details of this scheme, but if you can delay any new equipment purchases until April 2021 it may be in your best interest to do so.

●     £5 billion for Restart Grants. These are a one off cash grant of up to £18,000 for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses in England.

●     A new UK-wide Recovery Loan Scheme offering loans between £25k and £10 million, plus invoice finance between £1,000 and £10 million will be available for all businesses to help with recovery.

●     VAT cut to 5% for hospitality, accommodation and attractions across the UK until the end of September 2021, followed by a 12.5% rate for a further 6 months until 31st March 2022.

●     Eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will benefit from business rates rising.

●     An extension of the apprenticeship hiring incentive in England to September 2021 and an increase of payment to £3,000. Plus a new “flexi-job” apprenticeship programme and an additional £126 million for 40,000 more traineeships in England.

●     Small and medium-sized employers in the UK will continue to be able to reclaim up to 2 weeks of eligible Statutory Sick Pay per employee from the government.

●     The current reduction in Stamp Duty Land Tax in England and Northern Ireland will continue until September 2021.

●     Individuals and businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland continue to be supported by the UK Government through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, self-employment grants, loan schemes and VAT cuts. Devolved administrations have received Barnett funding to provide support in areas of devolved responsibility.


Support for sole traders and self employed individuals

●     The UK-wide Self Employment income support scheme will be extended to Sept 2021, with the criteria relaxing so that more people can now claim for the first time. Here are the full details of the scheme.

● The 4th SEISS payment will be based on your 2019/2020 tax return, and set at 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits. It will be capped at £7500 and paid out in 1 instalment likely to be available from late April 2021 to 31st May 2021.

●     This 4th grant is open to people who meet these criteria:

○     Traded in the tax years 2019 to 2020 (and submitted your personal tax return for this year) and 2020 to 2021

○     Trading profits under £50,000 and at least equal to your non-trading income

○     Are currently trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to the pandemic or the pandemic is temporarily stopping you from trading

○     Believe that there will be a significant reduction in your trading profits due to the pandemic

○     Plan to trade

●     There will be a 5th grant covering May to Sept 2021. The amount of this 5th grant will be determined by how much your turnover has reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021. I.e. pre-pandemic vs pandemic. This 5th grant will be worth:

○     80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500, for those with a turnover reduction of 30% or more

○     30% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850, for those with a turnover reduction of less than 30%



Government Coronavirus support 
(…keep reading below for more detail)

Project Restart – support to help the economy restart:

National Lockdown premises grant

Job Support Scheme – JSS Open / JSS Closed

Local Restrictions Support Scheme

Kickstarter scheme -young people & Apprentices

Job Retention Scheme Bonus

Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

Temporary VAT reduction

Temporary Stamp Duty reduction

Incentives to help young people into the workforce

Bounce Back Loans for Small Businesses

Project Lockdown – support to keep the economy going:

Funding for 80% of wages, up to £2,500

Funding for 80% of self-employed profits, up to £2,500

Funding for SSP payments

Cash grant £10,000

Cash grant £25,000

Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund

Automatic planning for takeaway food license

Business rates holiday

Business interruption loans

HMRC time to pay

HMRC defer your VAT payment by 3 months

IR35 changes deferred to April 2020

Lenders give 3-month mortgage payment holiday

Renters get a 3-month payment holiday and can claim housing benefit and universal credit

Self employed claim ESA and universal credit

MOT certificates extended.

From 23rd March non-essential shop and business premises are closed.

From June, some shop and business premises can reopen.

JVCA Support

How can we support you?

Cashflow forecasting to help you understand your finances

Claiming SSP on your behalf

calculating and claiming furlough grants on your behalf

Consultancy help and advice so you can get a grip on events

Financial/Virus Risk Assessment for your business

Access to funding

Cost minimisation review

Is there a silver lining for your business (and maybe we can help you to find it!) 

Help to keep your employees motivated when working virtually

 …. and just being there when you need us!

Click here to email us

Detail on the various topics of support is shown below:

National Lockdown premises support Scheme

Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions are eligible for the following:

For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks

For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks

For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.

Note that this is administered by your local rating authority and you need to check their website for information and whether they will pay it out automatically or if you need to claim it.    There is also further grants available under the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund.

Job Support Scheme

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) has been tweaked several times between its announcement on 24 September and 24 October it has now been delayed to start in December – or more relevantly, when the Furlough scheme ends!.

There are two types of the JSS, one for businesses that are open and one for businesses that are closed due to a tier 3 lockdown or similar.  JSS Open and JSS Closed have some similarities but are effectively two different schemes.    Both schemes are a change to the employees working conditions and thus need to be agreed to in writing between the employer and the employee.  Both schemes come into force when the extended furlough scheme ends and run for 6 months. 

JSS Closed is for employees who are not working and pays 2/3rds of normal wages up to a cap of £2083.33/m – ie pretty much Furlough version 3.

The employer is responsible for the employer’s NIC and minimum pension contributions.

The employer has discretion to pay a top-up amount.

Importantly, the business premises must have been legally required to close by a Tier 3 restriction or similar.   Note that if the premises are closed to the public, but available for delivery or collection services or to serving food outdoors then they still count as closed.  But, business premises closed by public health authorities as a result of a workplace outbreak are not eligible!

JSS Open is for employees who are working at least 20% of their normal hours and the grant pays 2/3rds of the hours not worked up to a cap of £1541.75/m.

The employer pays for the hours worked and also pays 5% of the hours not worked up to a cap of £125/m.

The employer has discretion to pay a top-up amount.

The employer pays the employer’s NIC and minimum pension contributions.

Reference salary – the guidance refers to a reference salary as being their normal wages.  That is the amount of wages you are contractually obliged to pay including basic or regular wages and plus non-discretionary payments such as overtime, fees, commission & piece rate.  It doesn’t include discretionary amounts such as tips and bonuses. 

For salaried employees, this is either the last pay period before 23/9/20 or the last pay period before 19/3/2020. 

For employees with variable pay this is the greater of

same period last year,

average wages for 2019/20, or

average wages from 1/2/20 to 23/9/20.

Usual hours – for employees contracted to a fixed number of hours, the usual hours worked are the greater of contracted hours for the last pay period before 23/9/20 or for the last pay period before 19/3/20.  

For employees who work variable hours the usual hours calculation is based on the greater of

average hours for the same period last year,

average hours for 2019/20 or

average hours from 1/2/20 to 23/9/20.

Qualifying employees needed to employed on or before 23/9/2020 and reported to HMRC on a RTI between 6 April 2019 and 23 September 2020.

Claims are made via HMRC online portal in a similar way to the CJRS furlough scheme.  The portal will be available from 8 December 2020.    Claims must be made for a minimum period of seven-days, but employees can work very flexibly and come in and out of the JSS Open across a month.   Note that claims can’t be made until the relevant RTI return has been made and the net pay paid to the employee. 

Record keeping is just as important for the JSS as it was for the Furlough scheme and must be kept for 5 years.

Penalties – just as with the Furlough scheme, the guidance says not only do you have to repay and incorrectly claimed grants, but that you will get a penalty of up to 100%.  The phrase ‘up to’ implies some discretion by HMRC and suggests that any errors need to be promptly reported and rectified to minimise the potential for penalties.

Eligible employers:

Small and medium sized employers are automatically eligible

Large employers are subject to a financial assessment test to ensure turnover has declined due to Covid19. Large employers also face a ban on dividend payments and share buybacks whilst accessing the Job Support Scheme.

Employers must have a UK bank account and a UK PAYE scheme

You can read more on HMRC’s guidance https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-job-support-scheme/the-job-support-scheme

Coronavirus Job Support Scheme (CJRS or Furlough Scheme)

The furlough scheme has been extended and no longer ends on 30 October but in December.

The extended CJRS will operate as the previous scheme did, with businesses being paid upfront to cover wages costs. There will be a short period when HMRC are changing the legal terms of the scheme and update the system and businesses will be paid in arrears for that period.

The CJRS is being extended until December. The level of the grant will mirror levels available under the CJRS in August, so the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 and employers will pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions only for the hours the employee does not work.

As under the current CJRS, flexible furloughing will be allowed in addition to full-time furloughing.

Eligible employees are those who have been on your payroll between March and October 2020. 

Further details to follow!   A seems to be the way with Government announcements details, including how to claim this extended support through an updated claims service, will be provided “shortly”.

The Job Support Scheme will be introduced following the end of the CJRS.

 (note details of the original furlough scheme are shown further down the page)

Local Restriction Support Grant

This is a cash grant to support businesses with premises that are shut down by a local lockdown.

Grants are linked to rateable values, value less than £51k = £1000 grant for each 3-wek period. Rateable valueover £51k or more, grant of £1,500 for each 3-week period.

Discretionary Funding aspect – see local rates authority website for details, but discretionary grant up to £1500 at the discretion of your local council.

Up to a maximum of £3,000 per month payable every two weeks. (note previous maximum was £1,500/month)

Eligible if you occupy a property with business rates

In a local lockdown area and been required to close following local restrictions after 9 September

Required to close for at least 3 weeks

Unable to provide a usual in-person service from its premises

Not applicable to:

Businesses subject to national lockdowns, eg nightclubs

Businesses that have reached the state aid limit (generally 800,000 euros over 3-years but check your circumstances)

Businesses that have chosen to close but are not required to close by a local lockdown

Businesses which are able to continue to operate as they do not depend on providing direct in-person services from their premises.

Note applications are made via your local authority’s webpage and check for local rules and guidance.

Job Retention Bonus

The government have announced a Job Retention Scheme Bonus of £1,000 per employee – if you bring back to work a previously furloughed employee.  (Limited details are available as the detailed guidance has not been released)

They are continuously employed for November, December & January

The employee is paid at least an average of £520 per month

Then the employer will receive £1000 per employee.

This is to be calculated and paid once your January RTI returns have been received (ie after 6th February 2021.

Eat Out to Help Out Scheme – August 2020 only

The Eat out to Help out Scheme allows participating restaurants to offer a 50% discount up to £10 per person.

Restaurants have to register and you can register if your establishment:

sells food for immediate consumption on the premises

provides its own dining area or shares a dining area with another establishment for eat-in meals

was registered as a food business with the relevant local authority on or before 7 July

 You can use the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme:

all day, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 31 August 2020

to offer a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person, to diners for food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in

There is no limit to the number of times customers can use the offer during the period of the scheme.

What is excluded:

Alcohol and service charges are excluded from the offer.

Takeaway food and drink is excluded from the offer.

Your cannot get a discount for someone who is not eating or drinking.

Mobile vans or trailers are excluded

Registration will close on 31 August.

Temporary VAT reduction 

This applies to eat in or takeaway food, hospitality and leisure.

From 15th July 2020 to 12th January 2021 there is a reduction from 20% to 5% in the rate of VAT chargeable on goods and services for these categories.   NOTE in September 2020 this was extended to 31 March 2021.

food and non-alcoholic beverages sold for on-premises consumption, for example, in restaurants, cafes and pubs

hot takeaway food and hot takeaway non-alcoholic beverages

sleeping accommodation in hotels or similar establishments, holiday accommodation, pitch fees for caravans and tents, and associated facilities

The reduction also applies to admission to the following attractions, where they do not qualify for the cultural VAT exemption:




amusement parks






similar cultural events and facilities.

Temporary Stamp Duty cut

The point at which Stamp Duty on homes applies has been increased to £500,000

If you purchase a residential property between 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021, you only start to pay SDLT on the amount that you pay for the property above £500,000. These rates apply whether you are buying your first home or have owned property before.   Although, if you are purchasing a second property or via a limited company then the extra 3% still applies.

Incentives to help young people into work

There are several different incentives, all based around young people being hired and the firms getting their wages subsidised by the government under its £2billion Kickstart Scheme.  


£2,000 cash bonus to hire trainees, who are hired between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021.   

50% paid after 3 months, the remainder after 12 months of employment.

Traineeships must provide classroom-based lessons in maths, English and CV writing, as well as up to 90 hours of unpaid work experience.  Small and medium sized employers only pay 5% of the training costs.

Subsidised “kickstarter” jobs

The government will cover the cost of 25 hours’ work a week at the National Minimum Wage – £4.55 for under 18s, £6.45 for 18 to 20-year-olds, and £8.20 for 21 to 24-year-olds.   Employers will be able to top up that payment if they wish.

Note the Kickstarter scheme:

requires blocks of 30 young employees at a time, so local Chambers of Commerce are offering an aggregating service so that smaller businesses can access the scheme as well.

requires the young person to have been on Universal Credit.

Bounce Back Loans for Small Businesses

The Bounce Back Loan for small business is available, apply through your business bank or via certain other lenders.   Check their website for details or ask us.

Loans of 25% of turnover, up to a maximum loan of £50,000

Simple online self-certify application process

100% guaranteed by the government – and therefore easy to get!

Fast Track application process (but can take over a week in some cases)

No fees or interest for the first 12-months (and 2.5% after that)

No repayments for the first 12 months

borrow over 6 years and can repay at any time without penalty.

Limited to small and medium sized businesses 


You can apply for a loan if your business:

is based in the UK

has been negatively affected by coronavirus

was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019

Who cannot apply

The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)

public-sector bodies

further-education establishments, if they are grant-funded

state-funded primary and secondary schools

 Note: in September 2020, the application window was extended from ending on 30th September to ending on 30th November.  On 30 October it was extended again to 31 January 2021.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Funding for 80% of wages, up to £2,500

The coronavirus job retention scheme enables employers to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages for employees who are temporarily not working due to the virus. 
The initial CJRS pays up to 80% of wages for up to £2500 per worker each month. The first part of the scheme, 80% up to £2,500 goes from 1 March to 31 July. 

The second phase of CJRS runs from 1st August to 31 October. 

The third phase, announced 30 October, runs from 1 November to December and may be extended.

From 1 July, business can bring furloughed employees back part time.  But only employees who have been previously furloughed are eligible for the scheme and the CJRS will close to new entrants on 30 June 2020.  The minimum furlough period will reduce to 1 week.

From August, a furloughed employee must still be paid 80% but the amount the employer pays increases.

In August the employer is responsible for paying the Employers NIC and Pension contributions

In September the CJRS will pay 70% and the employer pays 10% plus NIC and pension.

In October, the CJRS will pay 60% and the employer pays 20% plus NIC and pension.

In November, the CJRS pays 80% and the employer pays the NIC and pension.

Making a claim

Follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Note: you can claim at any time, but only once per month, and HMRC take 6 to 10 days to pay once they have received the information.   The portal is staying open for claims until the scheme ends.

Which Employers are eligible?

Any UK organisation,

with employees can apply providing they have,

created and started a PAYE scheme on or before 28 February 2020 and made a RTI payroll tax return by 19 March 2020 and

have a UK bank account

Note if companies are in a formal Administration then they can also access the scheme.

Which Employees are eligible?

For the third phase, starting November, eligible employees are those employed between March and October and included on an RTI by 30 October 2020.

Any employee who was on your PAYE payroll scheme … and the RTI return showing them was made to HMRC by 19/3/20

Including company directors and salaried partners of a LLP

The employee must be put on furlough. Ie a formal written change to their terms and conditions of employment

The employee cannot undertake work for the organisation.

Note: employees who have been made redundant can be temporarily rehired and paid using JRS.

Note: employees hired after 28th February 2020 might not be eligible – must have been reported to HMRC using RTI process by 19 March 2020.

Note: employees already on unpaid leave at 28th February 2020 are not eligible.

Note: Employees on Sick leave or who are self-isolating get SSP and can be furloughed.

Note: employees with more than one employer may be furloughed by one but not by the other.

How long can an employee be on furlough?

The job retention scheme runs from 1st March

The JRS is currently due to end on 31st October, but may be extended again

The minimum period an employee can be furloughed for is 3 weeks.

An employee can be furloughed multiple times, ie furloughed for 3 weeks, do some work and then be re-furloughed.

What can a furloughed employee do?

They cannot do anything that provides their normal service or generate revenue for the organisation – furlough is effectively paying them not to work.

A furloughed employee can do volunteer work or training – as long as this does not provide a service or generate revenue for your organisation.

If an employee is required to do training whilst furloughed, then they must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for the time spent training even if this is more than the 80% of the JRS.

NOTE: A company director may continue to carry out statutory duties, ie filing accounts, but cannot do anything that provides a service or generates a revenue for the business.

What can an employer claim for?

80% of the regular wage, but not commissions or bonuses.

The employers national insurance charge on that 80%

The employers minimum auto enrolment pension contribution on that 80%

NOTE HMRC have a calculator for you to use https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/job-retention-scheme-calculator 

How do you work out the 80%

For salaried employees it is their actual salary on last payslip notified to HMRC by 19/3/3030

For employees whose pay varies it is the higher of 

The same month’s earnings for the previous year

Average monthly earnings for the 2019/20 tax year.

If an employee started after April 2019, then use a pro-rata for their earnings so far in the 2019/20 tax year.

NOTE: HMRC guidance is here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/work-out-80-of-your-employees-wages-to-claim-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

How does an employer claim?

HMRC have a new section on their online portal.  You or us as your accountant need to have online access to your businesses PAYE scheme using your HMRC Online service.  Note if your not sure about this speak to us ASAP!

You will need details from your PAYE scheme and pay calculations.

Employers can submit at least one claim every 3 weeks

HR and employment law notes

Employment law continues to apply whilst furloughed.

Holiday entitlements continue as normal whilst an employee is furloughed.

Can carry over 2-weeks holiday to next 2-years.  Normal rules on not carrying holiday over to the next holiday year are to be amended.

National Minimum Wages does not apply to furloughed workers as they are not working but furloughed.

The minimum time for an individual to be furloughed is 3-weeks.  Employees can be furloughed multiple times.

Maternity/Paternity/Adoption leave and Pay: mothers must take a minimum of 2-weeks Maternity leave as per normal. Employees who qualify for SMP are still eligible for 90% of average earnings for the first 6 weeks followed by 33 weeks at the lower of 90% of weekly earnings or the statutory rate.

When deciding who to offer furlough to, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way.

HMRC anti-fraud

I expect HMRC to audit a number of claims and to have a simple risk model to identify employers who have abused the system.


You can read the governments guidance here  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

We have a draft furlough letter for employers to use and a draft Directors Board minute template. Email us for a copy on [email protected]

Funding for Self-employed profits

This package is a cash grant of 80% of self-employed profits capped at £2500 per month, initially for 3-months (march, April, May). 

This was extended with a second 3-month grant (June, July, August), but at 70% and capped at £2190 per month. 

In September 2020 it was extended again with a third grant to cover November to January, worth up to 20% of annual profits and capped at £1875.

A potential grant to cover February to April was also announced, but this is subject to further announcements.

Follow this link to check for eligibility https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

And claim using this link https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme

Note that the grant for the first three months needs to be claimed by 13 July. Claims for the second started in August and must be claimed by 19 October. The claim window for the third grant is not yet available at the time of writing.

If HMRC’s eligibility checker says you are not eligible then you can appeal against this and HMRC will contact you to check.

To be eligible for the scheme you must meet all the criteria below:

Be self-employed or a member of partnership;

Have reduced trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19;

File a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. Those who have not yet filed for 2018-19 have until 23 April 2020 to do so;

Have traded in 2019-20; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID 19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021

Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions: 

Your trading profits and total income in 2018/19

Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.

+ If you have not submitted your Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, you must do this by 23 April 2020.
+ To minimise fraud, only those who are already in self-employment and meet the above conditions will be eligible to apply. HMRC will identify eligible taxpayers and contact them directly with guidance on how to apply.
+ Grants will be paid in a single lump sum instalment covering the 3-months to May 2020, and will start to be paid at the beginning of June.
+ Individuals should not contact HMRC now.

+  HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and are planning to write to all self-employed individuals by mid-May 2020

+ NOTE:  You will access this scheme only through GOV.UK. If someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you can claim financial help or are owed a tax refund, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it is a scam.
+ Those who pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company are not covered by the self-employed scheme but will be covered for their PAYE salary by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, if they are operating a PAYE scheme.  

HMRC will use the average trading profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to determine the size of the grant

If years are missing, HMRC will use what you have returned and work out an average monthly amount.

this scheme also applies to members of partnerships

before grant payments are made, the self-employed will still be able to access other available government support for those affected by coronavirus including universal credit and business continuity loans where they have a business bank account

Government guidance is here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

Funding for SSP payments

SSP is from Day 1 of an absence rather than day 4 and the government will reimburse small employers for up to 2-weeks of SSP per eligible employee. This is organised via your PAYE scheme as normal, ie good record keeping is required!
This takes effect from 13 March 2020.
Eligible employers are those who had less than 250 employees at the end of February 2020.
The individual needs to go online to NHS111 and complete an online ‘isolation note’ to provide to the employer…and employers need to ask for this isolation note or a sick note.

Cash grant £10,000

All business with a rateable value that means they benefit from small business rate relief or rural rate relief are eligible for a one-off cash grant.  This means a rateable value under about £15,000. The various local authorities are responsible for organising this. 

Some local authorities are requesting you to fill in an online form to claim this. Some are saying they will write to you.   Check your local authority web pages to see if you have to do anything or not.

+ Qualifying date for eligible business properties was 11 March 2020
+ One payment per ratepayer, paid to person/business whose name is on the business rates bills
+ Applies to business land and buildings but not car parks, parking spaces or buildings occupied for personal use.
+ Business that don’t have a commercial premises are not included.
+ Future changes to the rating list of property, ie amending the rateable value do not affect the cash grant or eligibility for it, unless it is to correct a factual error.
+  Government Counter Fraud departments will monitor and audit the grants.
+ no time frame for when the local authorities will actually make payment (yet).

Click here to find out more.

If you need to look up details of your rateable value then try this government resource  https://www.gov.uk/correct-your-business-rates

Cash grant £25,000

If your rateable value is between £15k and £51k, and you are in the appropriate sectors (retail, leisure and hospitality) then this is you and you get a £25,000 cash grant.
If you have a smaller rateable value, ie up to £15k, and are in these sectors then you will be entitled to a cash grant of £10,000 whether or not you get small business rate relief or rural rate relief.
The local authorities are responsible for this – check your authority’s website for details.
See the guidance published as per note 4 above.

Also, if you run a pub or restaurant that serves food (or used to before you were closed) then you will be able to operate a hot food takeway service without going through the usual planning process.  You need to notify your local authority but you don’t need prior approval.

7. Local Authority Discretionary Grand Fund (updated 22 May 2020)

This fund is aimed at small and micro businesses who were not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Fund.

This grant is aimed at businesses with:

relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs,

which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the COVID-19 crisis,

and which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.

Which businesses will local authorities prioritise to receive grants?

Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment;

Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment;

Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates; and

Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.


This grant funding is for businesses that are not eligible for other support schemes. Businesses which are eligible for cash grants from any central government COVIDrelated scheme (apart from SEISS) are ineligible for funding from the Discretionary Grants Fund. Such grant schemes include but are not limited to: 

Small Business Grant Fund

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

The Fisheries Response Fund

Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme (DSSS)

The Zoos Support Fund

The Dairy Hardship Fund

Businesses who have applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are eligible to apply for this scheme.

Businesses who are eligible for the Self-Employed Income support scheme (SEISS) are eligible to apply for this scheme as well.

Only businesses which were trading on 11 March 2020 are eligible for this scheme.

Companies that are in administration, are insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made are not eligible for funding under this scheme.


There are three levels of grants



Less than £10,000

The amounts paid are subject to the local authority’s discretion.  Each authority will have an application process containing more local details.

How to apply

Check your local authority’s website for details

Business rates holiday

This should be organised automatically by your local authority and is for the 12 months to 31 March 2021.

You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

your business is based in England

your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector or a children’s nursery.

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied properties that are wholly or mainly being used:

as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues

for assembly and leisure

for hospitality, as hotels, guest & boarding premises or self-catering accommodation

More information on eligibility is set out in the expanded retail discount guidance.

Check your local authority’s website for details, although you should not need to do anything it should be processed automatically and your 2020/21 rates bill re-issued.

Business interruption loans 

The government is giving banks and other lenders financial support so that they can deal with issuing loans under the CBIL scheme– and:

1)  80% security guarantee and hence easier to get than an ordinary loan

2)  12-month interest holiday, paid for by the government
3)  Contact your usual bank (or get help from us!).

4)  The CBILs scheme will (initially) run for 6-months from 23rd March 2020.  Update -application window has been extended to 30 November 2020.

To be eligible for support via CBILS, the small business must:

Be UK-based in its business activity

Have an annual turnover of no more than £45 million

Have a borrowing proposal which the lender would consider viable, were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic

 self-certify that it has been adversely impacted by the Covid19 virus.

Businesses from any sector can apply, except the following: 

Banks and building societies

Insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)

Public-sector organisations, including state-funded primary and secondary schools and further education establishments 

Key features

There is no guarantee fee for SMEs to access the scheme.

There is no guarantee fee for SMEs to access the scheme.  

There is no interest for the first 12 months – the Government will make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the interest payments and any lender-levied fees.

You (the SME) will therefore benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.

The loans are available to businesses whether or not they have not been refused a commercial loan.

The lenders have authority to decide whether or not to offer finance. If one lender turns you down, you can still apply to the others.

Interest rates are set at 3.5%+base for up to 3 years and 4%+base for longer (ie up to 7 years) (NB info from HSBC and not checked other banks yet)

For loans up to £250,000, business owners will not have to supply personal guarantees.

For loans of over £250k any personal guarantee must exclude recourse to your home and are limited to 20% of the outstanding balance.

Update – repayment period extended from 6 years to 10 years.


You might get a better interest rate by having a normal secured loan at 2%(ish)+base!

You might only need an overdraft – Some banks are not offering CBILs overdrafts.

Is this suitable for startups – probably not as one of the requirements is that you already have a viable business.  Visit www.startuploans.co.uk for potential startup loans.

As with any kind of formal borrowing, you will need:

Your books fully up-to-date

Up-to-date management accounts

Projections and forecasts for the business

One of the big positives from the revamp is that the guarantee and security guidelines have been updated by the British Business Bank. Nobody wants to think about their business going bust – but if the worst comes to the worst you are protected by the scheme.

If you are thinking of accessing the CBIL scheme or a commercial loan scheme or any other type of borrowing, please get in touch as we can help you through the process.

HMRC time to pay

If you have a tax bill ring the HMRC virus support line and they will give you easy terms to pay or defer your tax bill.
HMRC’s dedicated helpline number is 0800 0159 559

HMRC are also being nice on penalties! Penalties related to late payment and interest may be waived if you have payment issues as a result of the virus.

HMRC defer your VAT payment by 3 months and Income tax payment by 6 months

No VAT needs to be paid this VAT quarter (from 20 March to 30 June 2020). Of course it will then fall due later and you have until 5th April 2021 to pay this deferred VAT – at which point a time to pay arrangement might be handy.
Note that VAT deferral is automatic, you do not need to apply.   However, if you pay by direct debit you need to cancel the DD at your bank or it will still be collected!

Also note, that the VAT return itself still needs to be done on time.

Similarly if you have a 31 July Income Tax Payment to make then it can be deferred to January 2021- at which point your normal January 2021 tax bill will also be due!
Note that deferral is automatic and that no penalties or interest for late payment will be charged for the deferral period.

IR35 changes deferred to April 2021

If you are a freelancer then this works for you – if you have work!   The Off Payroll Working rules will now come into affect for private sector businesses from 6 April 2021. 
If you don’t know what this means then it probably doesn’t apply to you.

Lenders give mortgage payment holiday

A great cash boost to anyone with a mortgage. You will still owe the money to your lender, it is just a payment holiday and so your mortgage term is effectively extended by 3 months.
This applies to households with residential mortgages and to landlords with buy to let mortgages.
If you have other debts (credit cards, etc.) you should contact your lender as most of them are offering flexible support, ie payment holidays.

Renters, claim housing benefit and universal credit

Tenants can apply for a 3-month payment holiday from their landlords.
If you are a renter and you don’t have a paying job. Claim universal credit and housing benefit now! It takes a little while to process so don’t delay but start it today.
Local Housing Allowance will pay for at least 30% of market rents. 
Landlords will not be able to start evicting tenants for non-payments for at least a 3-month period.  At the end of this period, landlords and tenants are expected to work together to put in place a repayment plan for the backlog.

This is clearly not great news for Landlords!  so make sure you match the rent holiday with a mortgage payment holiday to avoid cash flow difficulties.

Individuals can claim ESA and universal credit

If you as an individual are struggling financially then please claim Universal Credit or employment support allowance (ESA). 

If you literally have no money then claim for emergency funding and you should get help.

Note that this is means tested and you don’t get paid if you have £16,000 of savings or more.

Don’t delay, start your claim now as it takes a while for anything to happen.  Over recent weeks there has been a 10 fold increase in the number of claims so the system is creaking under the strain.

Universal Credit
The minimum income threshold for Universal Credit will be temporarily removed for those directly affected by COVID-19 or in self-isolation, providing compensation for any income losses. Universal Credit will be available to those directly affected by COVID-19 or in self-isolation, with no need to attend a job centre.  Go online to NHS111 and get an online virus ‘isolation note’ if you are self-isolating.  you can email this to the job centre as part of your claim.
At present, single claimants under the age of 25 are eligible for a monthly entitlement of £251.77, while those aged 25 and over can claim £317.82.

Employment and Support Allowance
ESA will be available to those directly affected by COVID-19 or in self-isolation, from the first day of sickness rather than the eighth day. At present, single claimants under the age of 25 can claim up to £57.90 per month, while those aged 25 and over can receive up to £73.10 

Tax payments
If you have a 31 July Income Tax Payment to make then it can be deferred to January 2021- at which point your normal January 2021 tax bill will also be due!

MOT certificates extended
If your car, motorcycle or light van’s MOT expiry date was due on or after Monday 30th March then it will be automatically extended by 6-months.   This will happen automatically.

If you have a lorry, bus or trailer then they are extended by 3-months from 21 March 2020, for certain vehicles you need to apply for this.

If your road tax is due, you can tax your vehicle straight away.

Note that you still have a responsibility to keep your vehicle in a safe and road-worthy condition.

You can check your MOT history to see when your MOT expiry date has been extended.

Government guidance is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-cars-vans-and-motorcycles-due-from-30-march-2020

Non-essential shops and business closed
Second National Lockdown

30 October 2020 Second national lockdown announced and all non-essential businesses to close from 5th November until 2nd December (and this might be extended).

Guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november

First National Lockdown

From midnight on 23rd March non-essential business premises are to be closed.  Note that this is a government prohibition order and therefore enforceable with unlimited fines!

What is essential and what is non essential? Check out the government guidance here.

If you stay open then you must: 
+ Ensure a distance of two meters between customers and shop assistants; and 
+ Let people enter the shop only in small groups, to ensure that spaces are not crowded. 
+ Queue control is required outside of shops and other essential premises that remain open.

 High street shops, department stores and shopping centres to reopen (announced 25 May 2020, updated 2nd July)

13 May Golf Clubs can reopen their courses, but not their clubhouses.

1st June outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen.

15th June all other non-essential retail can reopen.

4th July Pubs, Restaurants, Hotels, Accommodation and Leisure and Hairdressers can reopen

11th July outdoor swimming pools can reopen

25th July indoor swimming pools and gyms can reopen

Also Schools to reopen normally in September

Note in order to reopen businesses must complete a risk assessment, consult with workers and be confident of managing risks and display a mandatory Covid notice.

Guidance on which businesses can re-open and which are still closed is here

If you need help or support then please email [email protected] or visit our contact us page

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