Help for businesses

Last updated on 14 January 2021

On 13 January 2021 the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) issued the guidance for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) Closed Addendum scheme (05 January onwards) and the Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment scheme.  You can view this guidance here

Businesses that might be eligible for both grants will be able to make one application for both grants and will receive a ‘one-off’ payment for the period 26 December 2020 up to 15 February 2021. We will be inviting applications later this week, or early next week latest.

Please note - Businesses that had already applied and received a grant payment under the LRSG Closed Addendum scheme will not be required to re-apply and will automatically receive the additional grant payment for the Businesses Lockdown Payment scheme. We will be shortly emailing those businesses to confirm this.

Details of the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme and how to apply will also be published later this week, or early next week latest.

During the pandemic the council has provided grants of almost £25 million to Lewes district businesses and £22 million to Eastbourne businesses. This has been a huge administrative task.

The council continues to work on grant applications for businesses as fast as we can, so we appreciate your patience during this difficult time.


 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.

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


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

This is a discretionary scheme aimed primarily at those businesses within the hospitality, hotel, bed and breakfast and leisure sector who whilst open have experienced a significant impact on their business due to the current social distancing guidelines. 

We are now accepting applications under the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) scheme for the periods 2nd December 2020 – 15th December 2020 and 16th December 2020 – 29th December 2020. These grants are for businesses within the hospitality and leisure sector who are open but have experienced a severe reduction in their income.

For businesses who are rated payments under this scheme are as follows:

  • Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less - £467 per 14 day period
  • Businesses with a rateable value of £15,001 to £50,999 - £700 per 14 day period
  • Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over - £1,050 per 14 day period

For businesses operating a Bed and Breakfast from a property that is rated for Council Tax payments under this scheme will be £467 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 22 December will not be processed until 4 January 2021.

Payments for the period 16 December 2020 – 29 December 2020 will not be made until we have received the funding from central government.

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.

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.