Help for businesses

Last updated on 4 March 2021

Restart Grants

We are currently waiting to receive the guidance for the Restart Grants announced in the 3rd March 2021 Budget, where businesses in the non-essential retail, hospitality and leisure sectors could receive grants of up to £18,000. We will provide more information once we are able.

Business Rates Holiday 

During the budget on the 3rd March a further holiday for Business Rates was announced. Qualifying businesses will get a 100% reduction until the end of June 2021. Followed by a two thirds reduction until the end of March 2022. We do not currently have any further details on how this will be implemented or what the qualifying criteria will be. However, we hope to have this reflected on the 2021/2022 financial year bills if possible.

Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) (Addendum)

The current payments that have been made under the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) (Addendum) Scheme cover the period up to 15 February. This is in line with the guidance and funding that we have received from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). 

The Government has confirmed a further round of payments from the 16 February to the 31 March 2021 under the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) (Addendum) scheme. Payment amounts will be as follows:

RV £15,000 and under - £2,096.29
RV £15,001 to £50,999 - £3,142.86
RV £51,000 and over - £4,714.29

We are awaiting confirmation and receipt from BEIS of the funding allocation for this period which will be confirmed later next week. Once the allocation as been received we will provide further updates on when payments will be made. It is not anticipated that current eligible businesses will be required to reapply for this additional funding. 

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)

We will be making additional payments to eligible businesses to cover the period 16 February to 31 March. This will be a payment of £2,096.29 and payments will be made during the week beginning 1st March. See the 'Business grants and funding' tab below for further details.

Since the 26th December when Lewes and Eastbourne entered tier 4 restrictions we have supported over 700 businesses with £1.2 million funding under the Additional Restrictions Grant Scheme (ARG) across the two authorities. This scheme will continue to support eligible businesses while we are still in lockdown. However, we are aware that there are a number of businesses that are still struggling and as a result we have recently carried out a review of the scheme.

As a result of this review we will shortly be expanding the ARG to enable us to support more businesses. We aim to offer additional support by way of the following:

Exceptional Hardship Scheme – This will be aimed at micro, small and medium sized businesses and will be designed to help businesses that are still currently trading but have suffered a significant downturn in income, as well as businesses that have been mandated to close by the Government.

Business Adaptation Grant – This will allow businesses to access funds to cover expenses such as training or upskilling new staff, expansion of an existing business or costs associated with adaptation as a result of pandemic i.e. diversification into online retail or making the property COVID compliant.

Business Futures Bid Fund – This will allow local trade organisations, CICs and not for profit organisations to submit robust business cases for funding to support activities that will help drive the regeneration of a specific business sector.

In addition to the above schemes, Lewes District Council will be looking to support the self-employed and companies that have not had access to other Government schemes.

Eastbourne Borough Council will be looking to provide support to taxi and private drivers that have seen a decrease in their trade.

The details of these schemes are still being finalised and we aim to launch them in March. Further information will be provided in due course including the date applications will be accepted.


We have produced two infographics to help show at a glance the grants available to businesses in the district and borough:


 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.

Additional Restrictions Grant

We are now accepting applications from businesses for grants under the Additional Restrictions Grant scheme. This scheme will only apply whilst either tier 4 or national lockdown restrictions apply.

Who is it for?

This scheme is a discretionary scheme aimed at the following businesses: 

  • Those in the agricultural sector who have not been mandated to close but have been severely impacted by the current lockdown restrictions
  • Those in the Arts and Entertainment sector who are not named on the Business Rates bill
  • Bed and Breakfast accommodation which is registered with the council but pay Council Tax and not Business Rates
  • Those who are mandated to close but operate out of a shared space where their landlord is responsible for paying the Business Rates
  • Regular market traders who sell non-essential items
  • Those who are part of the supply chain for the hospitality and leisure sectors and have been severely impacted by the current lockdown restrictions
  • Those who have no business premises and offer an ‘in-person’ service that is mandated to close under the current lockdown regulations

What period does it cover?

This grant initially covers the period 26 December 2020 (when Eastbourne and Lewes entered tier 4) until 15 February 2021 (when the current national lockdown restrictions are due to be reviewed). This is a total of 52 days. If either national lockdown or tier 4 restrictions apply after the 15 February 2021, the scheme will be extended accordingly.

How much is the grant?

The amount of the grant will be as follows:

  • Agricultural - £2,477.43
  • Arts and Entertainment - £2,477.43
  • Bed and Breakfast - £2,477.43
  • Shared Space - £2,477.43
  • Market Traders - £2,477.43
  • No Business Premises offering ‘in-person’ services - £2,477.43
  • Supply Chain
    1. No rateable value - £2,477.43
    2. Rateable Value of £15,000 and under - £2,477.43
    3. Rateable Value of £15,001 to £50,999 - £3,714.29
    4. Rateable Value of £51,000 and over - £5,571.43

Apply here


Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) (Addendum)

We are now accepting applications from businesses for grants under the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) (Addendum) scheme. This scheme will only apply whilst either tier 4 or national lockdown restrictions apply.

Who is it for? 

This scheme is for businesses who are named on the Business Rates bill and have been mandated to close since Lewes and Eastbourne entered tier 4 restrictions on 26th December 2020. Businesses that have not been mandated to close will not be eligible for this grant even if you have decided to close.

Details of which businesses must close and those that are allowed to remain open can be found on the government website

What period does it cover? 

This grant initial covers the period 26th December 2020 (when Eastbourne and Lewes entered tier 4) until 15th February 2021 (when the current national lockdown restrictions are due to be reviewed). This is a total of 52 days. If either national lockdown or tier 4 restrictions apply after the 15th February 2021, the scheme will be extended accordingly.

How much is the grant? 

The initial amount of grant that you will receive is based on the rateable value of your property. Grants will be paid at the following levels:

  • Rateable Value of £15,000 and under - £2,477.43
  • Rateable Value of £15,001 to £50,999 - £3,714.29
  • Rateable Value of £51,000 and over - £5,571.43

Further payments will only be made under this scheme should tier 4 or national lockdown restrictions apply after the 15 February 2021.

Apply Here


Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) 2/12/2020 to 15/12/2020 and 16/12/2020 to 29/12/2020

We are now accepting applications for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) for the period 2nd December 2020 – 15th December 2020 and 16th December 2020 – 29th December 2020. This is aimed at businesses that provide in-person services to customers from their business premises but are mandated to be closed. We expect this to only be pubs that are unable to serve food.

Payments under this scheme are as follows:

  • Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less - £667 per 14 day period
  • Businesses with a rateable value of £15,001 to £50,999 - £1,000 per 14 day period
  • Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over - £1,500 per 14 day period

Please note you will need to make a separate application for each period. Any application received after 23:59 on the 22nd December 2020 will not be processed until 4th January 2021.

Apply here 


Local Restrictions Support Grant (Sector)

This scheme is for businesses that have been required to remain closed since March and have not reopened in any capacity.

Payments under this scheme are as follows:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £667 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £1,000 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £1,500 per two weeks.

Apply here 


Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs

We are now accepting applications for the Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs. This is aimed at pubs that derive less than 50% of their income from food. This is a one-off payment of £1,000. 

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.

Business Grants available in Lewes district

Business Grants available in Lewes district
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Self-Employed Income Support Scheme

The online service to claim the third grant is open. If you are eligible, you must make your claim for the third grant on or before 29 January 2021.

To make a claim for the third grant your business must have had a new or continuing impact from coronavirus between 1 November 2020 and 29 January 2021, which you reasonably believe will have a significant reduction in your profits.

The third taxable grant is worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.

Further information on the third 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 helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000.

The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year.

The scheme is open to applications until 31 March 2021.

If you already have a Bounce Back Loan but borrowed less than you were entitled to, you can top up your existing loan to your maximum amount. You must request the top-up by 31 January 2021.

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


Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme 

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

The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months.

The scheme is open until 31 March 2021.

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


Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The scheme helps medium and large sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £200 million. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender.

The scheme is open to applications until 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 provides government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.

These convertible loans may be an option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access other government business support programmes because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit.

The scheme is open for applications until 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 April 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 31 March 2021. More information can be found on the  gov.uk website.

Business owners affected by the pandemic will be 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.

If businesses are unable to create a minimum of 30 job placements, the Sussex Chamber is acting as an intermediary for local businesses. 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.