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.
Business support grants
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.
We're open for applications from 6 April and expect to be making the first grant awards during week commencing 19 April.
All applications for Restart Grants will be processed in order of when they are received.
Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment (CBLP)
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 will also be 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.
Businesses closed under Tier 4
We are also contacting businesses that were required to close from Saturday, 19 December by email so we can make payments under the Tier 4 grant scheme. We will then make a payment to these businesses to cover the period up to and including Friday 12 February 2021.
We will only ask you if you were trading as of Saturday, 19 December 2020 and that you comply with state aid rules. We will not require your bank details as we already have this information. No fresh application will be required while these businesses are obliged to remain closed.
Businesses required to close under Tier 4 will automatically receive their one-off CBLP payment of up to £9,000 provided they have responded to our email confirming that they were trading when those restrictions came into force.
Business closed under national restrictions
We have made payments to the majority of eligible applicants who have applied for the scheme which covered the four-week national restrictions period between Thursday, 5 November 2020 and Wednesday, 2 December 2020. Those who have already applied and are eligible will receive their payment shortly.
Applications for this scheme remain open. Grants of up to £3000 are available both for businesses which were required to close. Those in the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sectors who were not obliged to close but suffered a demonstrable drop in income during the four-week period could receive 70% of the full grant.
To be eligible businesses must have a business rates bill reference number with us.
Businesses closed under Tier 2
We still offer financial support under two existing schemes to businesses such as ‘wet-led’ pubs that were required to close under Tier 2 restrictions.
Pubs without a food licence or who self-certified as being ‘wet-led’ where more than 50% of sales come from alcohol will receive the one-off £1000 Christmas Support Grant and an amalgamated payment to cover the period between Wednesday, 2 December 2020 and Friday, 12 February 2021. All payments will be made by 5pm on Friday, 8 January.
To be eligible a business must:
- have been required to close under Tier 2 restrictions and remain closed under subsequent restrictions
- have a business rates bill reference number with us
- have been trading on Wednesday, 4 November
Additional Restrictions Grant 3 (ARG3)
Applications for the third round of this scheme opened on 25 March 2021, and will remain 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 (open)
Local Restrictions Support Grant applications closed on 31 March 2021. These were primarily for businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors and ran from 24 February to 31 March 2021.
Help us help you
Our teams are working as hard and as quickly as they can to process applications. Because of the pressure they are under, we are unable to assist with queries about an application’s progress as this simply takes away time away from processing applications.
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.