Advice and support for local business
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.
Available business support grants
Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) top-up payments
We are providing top-up payments to previous successful applicants of ARG 1, 2 and 3. All payments will be made via BACS over the coming weeks. Businesses do not need to re-apply for this top-up payment.
The government has introduced a new scheme of one-off Restart Grants, which replace the national scheme of Local Restrictions Support Grants.
These are one-off payments to rate-paying businesses, that were trading on 1 April 2021, predominantly reliant on delivering in-person services for the general public, in the non-essential retail and hospitality, leisure, personal care and accommodation sectors.
- grants of up to £6,000 will be paid to non-essential retail business premises, to help them reopen safely
- grants of up to £18,000 will be allocated to hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym business premises (they may open later, under plans set out in the government’s roadmap and will be more impacted by restrictions when they do re-open)
Only certain non-essential retail businesses are eligible for the grant. There are specific exclusions, including food retailers, garden centres, vehicle repair and MOT centres, laundrettes and dry cleaners. Read the full government guidance and eligibility and exclusions.
Due to the significant changes in the new Restart Grant guidance provided to us by government, it is necessary for us to run a new online grant application process for the Restart Grant scheme.
Applications opened on 6 April and will be processed in order of when they are received.
Closed business support grants
Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment (CBLP) – The application window for this closed on 31 March 2021
The government has given us details of a new one-off grant for retail and hospitality businesses of up to £9,000 called the Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment (CBLP). Download business support package guidance for local authorities from GOV.UK (PDF).
The good news is that businesses will not have to make a fresh application to us. However, some businesses will be required to certify they were trading on Monday 4 January, 2021. We will be emailing asking them to confirm this so please monitor your email. We will not ask for bank details as we already hold this information.
Businesses eligible for CBLP have also been supported by a further payment of up to £4,500 under the Local Restrictions Support Grant, depending on rateable value. This is intended to cover the period up and including Friday 12 February, 2021.
Additional Restrictions Grant 3 (ARG3) – The application window for this closed on 22 April 2021
Applications for the third round of this scheme opened on 25 March 2021, and were open for four weeks.
We have been working with local businesses and organisations that represent businesses to develop the options for the next round of the ARG in order to design a scheme that provides the most support.
Local Restrictions Support Grant
You can still apply for this grant until 31 May for the period 16 February to 31 March 2021. These are for businesses with a rateable value. We will ask you to provide proof of your eligibility.
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.
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
We have produced guidance for management of COVID-19 in workplaces, which outlines the steps you should take as an employer, if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your workplace / premises / establishment.
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
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.