Coronavirus - COVID-19

Advice and support for local business

Financial support for local business

Please note: The proportion of wages payable under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was reduced from Tuesday 1 September.

The government has provided 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
  • business support grant funds
  • 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

Job Support Scheme

Find out about the Job Support Scheme, which the government will introduce on 1 November. The scheme's designed to protect viable jobs in businesses facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID-19, to help keep their employees in the workforce. The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for six months.

Support for the self-employed – scheme extension

Find out how to apply for a Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant. Applications are now open for the second set of grants. Applications must be with HMRC on or before Monday 19 October.

The government has extended this scheme for six months from November 2020 to April 2021 (read more about the extension). Grants will be paid in two lump sum instalments each covering a three-month period.

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. Please visit our Health and Wellbeing Board for advice on supporting your staff’s health.

Re-opening your business

We have produced a list of frequently asked questions about re-opening your business following the relaxation of the lockdown regulations as of Saturday 4 July. Among the topics covered are health and safety advice, selling alcohol in beer gardens or car parks and parking.

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
Emailbusinessrates@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

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 growthhub@semlep.com or call 0300 01234 35. Visit SEMLEP’s Growth Hub website for more information on the support available for business.

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