COVID-19 support for businesses

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COVID-19 Support for business

The UK Government has outlined a number of schemes to help support businesses through the Coronavirus crisis.

By far the most impactful scheme is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

This scheme can be used to claim back up to 80% of an employee’s salary through HMRC. This means that employees that would otherwise have been terminated or moved to unpaid leave can be retained. To access this funding you will need to:

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
  • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required). This guidance will be updated as and when more information on the HMRC portal is available.
HMRC are deferring VAT payments
It’s important to note this is a deferral, not a removal so you will still have to pay at a later date. It is a measure designed to help with your cashflow in the immediate term. HMRC will not be taking March 2020 payments but you will need to settle the difference by the end of the tax year
If you’re self-employed there is an income tax deferral available
Again this is not a giveaway and will need to be paid at a later date. Payments will be deferred from June 2020 to January 2021
Additional financial support for employers to pay Statutory Sick Pay

Small and medium-sized businesses and employers will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

  • this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
  • employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  • employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
  • eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force
  • the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible
There’s specific support for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure businesses

As well as the salary cover provided above, there are additional measures that retail, hospitality and leisure businesses can take advantage of. These are:

  • A business rates payment holiday. This is not a deferment and represents a direct cashflow improvement for your business.
  • Cash grants
    • For businesses with a rateable value of under £15,000 a grant of £10,000 will be paid
    • For businesses with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 a grant of £25,000 will be paid
  • You are eligible for this payment holiday and grant if:
    • Your business is based in England
    • Your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector
    • The rateable property must be occupied and be used for one of the following:
      • Shop, restaurant, café, drinking establishment, cinema or live music venue
      • For assembly or leisure
      • As Hotels, guest and boarding premises or self-catering accommodation
  • There is no action for you to take. Local authorities will automatically issue amended bills as soon as possible and will write to you with details on the grant you will receive.
Childcare settings can benefit from a business rate holiday

As well as the salary cover provided above, there are additional measures that nursery businesses can take advantage of. These are:

  • A business rates payment holiday. This is not a deferment and represents a direct cashflow improvement for your business. To be eligible you must:
  • Be based in England
  • Your property must be on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
  • It must be used wholly or mainly for provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage
  • There is no action for you to take. Local authorities will automatically issue amended bills as soon as possible
Businesses that pay little or no business rates
These businesses will be in receipt of small business rate relief (SBBR), Rural Rate Relief (RRR) or tapered relief. You will receive a £10,000 grant to meet ongoing costs. There is no action for you to take and if you are eligible your local authority will contact you.

    Keep up-to-date 

    Keep up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 developments on the government's dedicated business support page.