Help for businesses

Last updated on 6 April 2021

Restart Grants

We are now accepting applications for Restart Grants that were announced by the Chancellor in the budget on the 3 March 2021. For details of these and to apply please see below under Business Grants and Funding.

Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) (Addendum)

Businesses are still able to make an application under this scheme for the period 16 February 2021 to 31 March 2021. For further details and to apply please see below under Business Grants and Funding

Exceptional Hardship Scheme

We have reopened the Exceptional Hardship scheme for additional applications. For further details and to apply please see below under Business Grants and Funding. 


 This section outlines:

  • The range of measures Government has made available to support businesses and the self-employed cope with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak
  • How we can help you meet Government guidelines and keep employees and customers safe
  • Local business support organisations

For further guidance on coronavirus support for businesses, visit the government's Business Support website.

If you would like help navigating the range of measures including eligibility, contact Business East Sussex, a free and impartial government funded business support service. More information can be found on the Business East Sussex website.

Restart Grants

We are now accepting applications for grants under the Restart Grant Scheme that was announced by the Chancellor in the budget on the 3 March 2021. These consist of two different strands as follows:

Strand 1 is for non-essential retail and will be paid at the following rates:

  • RV (rateable value) of £15,000 and under: £2,667
  • RV of £15,001 to £50,999: £4,000
  • RV of £51,000 and over: £6,000

Strand 2 is for those businesses in the hospitality, leisure, accommodation, gyms and sports and personal care sectors. These will be paid at the following rates:

  • RV of £15,000 and under: £8,000
  • RV of £15,001 to £50,999: £12,000
  • RV of £51,000 and over: £18,000

Please be aware that whilst we are now accepting applications we are still waiting for the funding allocation. As such no grants will be paid until this funding is received.

Apply here


Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) (Addendum)

Businesses are still able to make an application under this scheme for the period 16 February 2021 to 31 March 2021. This is not a new scheme and only businesses who have not already received a grant for this period are able to apply. Grants are paid at the following rates:

  • RV (rateable value) of £15,000 and under: £2,096
  • RV of £15,001 to £50,999: £3,143
  • RV of £51,000 and over: £4,714

Apply here 


Exceptional Hardship Scheme

We are accepting further applications from businesses who missed the deadline to apply under this scheme. Businesses who applied previously, will not be eligible for an additional grant under this scheme. Businesses, who applied previously but were declined due to lack of information can apply again if they now have the required information.

Apply here 


If you would like to know about funding options that have now closed visit our Closed Business Grants page.

Other grants

A business advisor at Business East Sussex can help businesses on a one to basis to explore what other grants businesses might be eligible for. More information can be found on the Business East Sussex website.

Lewes Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed Addendum) tier 4

Lewes Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed Addendum) tier 4
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Last Modified: 11 January 2021

Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

The online claims service for the fourth grant will be available from late April 2021. 

Further information on the fourth grant can be found on the gov.uk website.


Universal Credit

Businesses that can no longer operate, or whose earnings have reduced, may be able to claim Universal Credit. More information can be found on the Understanding Universal Credit website. 


Council Tax

Those who are self-employed and have not qualified for Council Tax Reduction in the past due to the minimum income floor, may now be able to get help through a new Covid-19 Hardship Fund. For more information visit the Covid-19 Hardship Fund page.

Bounce Bank Loans

The scheme helped small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available was £50,000.

The scheme closed to applications on 31 March 2021.

More information can be found on the gov.uk website. 


Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme 

The scheme helped small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million.

The scheme closed on 31 March 2021.

More information can be found on the gov.uk website.  


Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The scheme helped medium and large sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £200 million. 

The scheme closed to applications on 31 March 2021.

More information can be found on the gov.uk website.  


COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility 

Under the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short-term debt from large companies. More information can be found on the gov.uk website. 


The Future Fund

The Fund provided government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.

The scheme closed on 31 January 2021.

More information can be found on the British Business Bank website.  


Bank support

Other private banks are making funds available to small businesses. Businesses should contact their banking provider.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

HMRC will provide grants to businesses to cover 80% of the wages up to £2,500 for hours not worked for employees on furlough or flexible furlough. This has been extended to until 30 September 2021. More information can be found on the gov.uk website.

Small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, can apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying Statutory Sick Pay pay to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19). More information can be found on the  gov.uk website.

Tax helpline

Businesses that are concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus, can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice on 0800 024 1222 or use their webchat service.

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. 

More information can be found on the  gov.uk website.


Reduced VAT for tourism and hospitality sectors

The VAT rate for the tourism and hospitality sectors will remain at 5%, a 15% reduction, until 30 SeptemberMarch 2021. More information can be found on the  gov.uk website.

Business owners affected by the pandemic were protected from eviction until the end of March 2021. This final extension to protections from the threat of eviction will give landlords and tenants 3 months to come to an agreement on unpaid rent. More information can be found on the  gov.uk website

The Licensing and Environmental Health team can provide guidance and local support for businesses to meet Government guidelines and to keep employees and customers safe. More information can be found on the  Licensing and Environmental Health and  Working safely during COVID-19 pages.

Kickstart Scheme

The scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. More information can be found on gov.uk website.

The Sussex Chamber can help local businesses create placements and handle the whole process.  Membership to the Chamber is not required. More information can be found on  Sussex Chamber of Commerce website.

The Skills Toolkit

The Skills Toolkit is a free online learning platform to upskill employees with free, high-quality digital, numeracy and soft skills courses. More information can be found on  The Skills Toolkit website.


Advice and support organisations

A list of organisations to help businesses and employees with employment and skills can be found on the  Employment and skills advice page.