COVID-19 advice and support for local business

COVID-19 Business Support Grants

Closed: Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) – fifth round

Further funding was made available by the government to support non-ratepaying businesses affected by the Omicron variant.

Applications were open for 4 weeks until Monday 21 February 2022 and are being assessed.

View or download the ARG policy (PDF)

View or download the delegated decision notice for ARG (PDF)

Closed: Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG)

Funding was made available from the government to support businesses that offer in-person services within the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors.

Applications were open for 6 weeks until Friday 4 March 2022 and are being assessed. Eligible businesses will receive a grant amount, depending on their rateable value.

Grant amount by rateable value

Rateable value


£15,000 or less


£15,001 to £51,000


£51,001 or more


COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) (open for applications)

The government allocated us over £5.3 million to help provide additional business rates relief, to help businesses affected by the pandemic who were not eligible for existing business rate support.

We have re-opened applications, from Wednesday 16 March 2022 until Saturday 30 April 2022, to provide businesses with another opportunity to access additional business rates relief. Businesses that applied in the first round of applications will be contacted by the team with their outcome.

To be eligible your business must:

  • not have received or been entitled to receive Expanded Retail Relief, Nursery Discount, 100% Small Business Rates Relief or 100% Charitable Relief
  • have been adversely impacted by the pandemic and have been unable to adequately adapt to that impact; full details on eligibility criteria are available to read in the CARF policy (PDF)

Eligible businesses will receive a grant amount equivalent to a 30% rate relief off their 2021/22 bill. The maximum amount of funding for rate relief that can be awarded to a business is £25,000.

Apply for COVID-19 additional relief

If your application is successful, the amount of relief you will be awarded won't be calculated until the scheme has closed. We'll contact you with the outcome, once the scheme has ended.

Financial support for local business

Please note: the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until Thursday, 30 September 2021.

Furlough claims must now be submitted within 14 calendar days after the month they relate to, unless this falls on a weekend in which case the deadline is the next weekday, and employers will need to remember to get their claims in on time.

This means the online application must be complete before one minute to midnight.

Other advice and guidance

The government has advice and guidance on financial support for businesses and employers and a range of support measures to help the business community, including:

  • paying your employees
  • paying sick pay
  • paying tax
  • business rates relief
  • support for the self-employed
  • support for small and medium-sized businesses
  • support for large businesses

Use the business support finder tool to determine what financial support is available to your business during the coronavirus pandemic.

Business support finder

Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) extension

The government has extended this scheme until 30 September 2021 with a fourth and fifth grant (read more about the extension).

What to do if your business has an outbreak of COVID-19

For advice or guidance on coronavirus in your workplace, please email

Government advice on working safely during the pandemic

The government has produced both general and sector-specific advice on working safely during coronavirus. There are also many free or cost effective resources to improve staff wellbeing. 

Business Rates Relief

The government has extended the business rates holiday (100% business rates relief) to all retail, leisure, hospitality and nursery businesses irrespective of rateable value.

Revised bills have now been issued to all eligible businesses. If you haven’t heard from us, please get in touch:

Telephone: 0300 300 8011

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years. The full details are available on the British Business Bank website.

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

Under the new COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.

More information is available from the Bank of England.

Paying our suppliers

We are committed to paying our suppliers to ensure service continuity both during and after the outbreak. We are trying to make outstanding payments as quickly as possible regardless of the payment terms in contracts. Our general approach will therefore be to pay approved invoices submitted by suppliers immediately on receipt wherever possible. 

Find out what you need to do, if you're one of our suppliers.

New scheme to get young people into work

You can use the government's Kickstart Scheme to create new six-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The job placements should support the participants to develop the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the scheme. You need to create a minimum of 30 roles, but can do so in partnership with other companies or organisations. 

Further business support

SEMLEP’s Growth Hub is a government-funded local business support service, providing information, advice and support to business directors. Its business advisers can help you to navigate the current COVID-19 financial support measures and official guidance, and help you to work through options if you are not eligible for the government schemes. It can support you directly on your business continuity planning and overall business resilience.

To contact the team, please email or call 0300 01234 35. Visit SEMLEP’s Growth Hub website for more information on the support available for business.

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