Help for businesses

The Government has made available a full range of business support measures during this time. For all the latest up-to-date government guidance on coronavirus support for businesses, please visit the Business Support page.

These measures include:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

Latest update 28 May 2020 

On Friday 1 May the Government announced a ‘Top Up’ discretionary grant for certain small businesses not in scope for the business grant funds scheme. The application process will open on Friday 29 May. Go to our Discretionary top-up fund page for details on how to apply

On Tuesday 26 May the Government will launch its online service for small and medium-sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees. Go to the 'Statutory Sick Pay' tab below for more details.

The Future Fund has been designed by government and will be delivered by the British Business Bank. The scheme is open to applications on Wednesday 20 May 2020 and is open to eligible companies operating in all sectors. Go to the 'Business grants and funding' tab below for more details and links. 

The scheme will issue convertible loans between £125,000 to £5 million to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak.

These grants will be open for application from Wednesday 13 May via the GOV.UK website. The grants are being administered by the HMRC and not the district and borough council. Find our if you are eligible here - Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

On Friday 1 May the Government announced a ‘Top Up’ discretionary grant for certain small businesses not in scope for the business grant funds scheme. Select the Business Grants and Funding tab below for more details.

The government has announced a new loan scheme for small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May. Go to the Loans for businesses tab below or visit Bounce Back Loan Scheme

The Government has a launched a new support page to help businesses find about out what help is available.

The government has acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to affect the ability of many tenants, owner-occupiers and buy-to-rent landlords to pay their housing costs. We have released a Housing Bulletin with information on the support currently available.

The Government has announced financial support for fishing businesses. Go to our Fishing Businesses page for more details.

The business grants funding scheme is now up and running. Go to our Small Business Grants page for more details on how to apply.

You can now Claim for 80% of your employee’s wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions, if you have put them on furlough because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

To make a claim you must have:

  • created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020
  • enrolled for PAYE online
  • a UK bank account

Any organisation with a UK payroll can apply, including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities. 

You can claim now at on the Job Retention Scheme web page, where further information regarding what you will need to make a claim, how to claim and what happens after you have claimed can be found.

Use this scheme if you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have lost income due to coronavirus.



Update: These grants will be open for application from Wednesday 13 May via the GOV.UK website. The grants are being administered by the HMRC and not the district and borough council. Find our if you are eligible here - Self-Employment Income Support Scheme


 

Who can access the scheme?

You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:

  • have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
  • traded in the tax year 2019-20
  • are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19.

Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income come from self-employment. This is determined by at least one of the following conditions being true:

  • having trading profits/partnership trading profits in 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your total taxable income

  • having average trading profits in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 of less than £50,000 and these profits constitute more than half of your average taxable income in the same period

If you started trading between 2016-19, HMRC will only use those years for which you filed a Self-Assessment tax return.

HMRC will use data on 2018-19 returns already submitted to identify those eligible and will risk assess any late returns filed before the 23 April 2020 deadline in the usual way.

If you have not submitted your Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, you must do this by 23 April 2020.

How much you will receive

You will get a taxable grant which will be 80% of the average profits from the tax years (where applicable):

  • 2016 to 2017
  • 2017 to 2018
  • 2018 to 2019

To work out the average, HMRC will add together the total trading profit for the 3 tax years (where applicable) then divide by 3 (where applicable), and use this to calculate a monthly amount.

It will be up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months.

You will be paid the grant directly into your bank account, in one instalment.

HMRC has published how it works out total income and trading profits for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme. This information can be accessed on the HMRC website

How to apply

 You cannot apply for this scheme yet.

HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online.

Individuals do not need to contact HMRC now. - Self Employment Income Support Scheme

After you apply

 Once HMRC has received your claim and you are eligible for the grant, they will contact you to tell you how much you will get and the payment details.

If you claim tax credits you will need to include the grant in your claim as income.

Other help available

If you are a director of your own company and paid through PAYE you may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.

Government is supporting businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

VAT 

For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

  • All UK businesses are eligible.
  • This is an automatic offer with no applications required.
  • Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period.
  • Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period.
  • VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Income Tax 

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.

  • You are eligible if you are self-employed.
  • This is an automatic offer with no applications required.
  • No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period. 

HMRC is also administering the Time to Pay offer (see below) to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities.

Coronavirus statutory sick pay rebate scheme

On Tuesday 26 May the Government will launch its online service for small and medium-sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees.

This scheme will allow small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.

Employers will receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP that they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.

Tax agents will also be able to make claims on behalf of employers.

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks of SSP and is payable if an employee is unable to work because they:

  • have coronavirus; or
  • are self-isolating and unable to work from home; or
  • are shielding because they’ve been advised that they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

To can check online to see if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to COVID-19

Further advice is available on  Gov.uk

Expanded Retail Discount

The government has introduced business rates discount for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the financial year 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. We have now received some guidance from Government on eligibility criteria.

Most businesses involved or related to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will be eligible including: 

  • Shops, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, pubs, cinemas and live music venues
  • Sport and leisure facilities, clubhouses, tourist attractions
  • Hotels, guest houses and self-catering accommodation.

Businesses that may be visible on the high street, but are not covered are:

  • Financial services (eg. banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, payday lenders, pawn brokers)
  • Medical services (eg. doctors, dentists, vets, osteopaths, chiropractors)
  • Professional services (eg. solicitors, accountants, financial advisors, insurance agents)
  • Post office sorting offices

How do I receive the rates discount?

We are pleased to advise that the Expanded Retail Discount has now been applied to all eligible businesses in both Eastbourne and the Lewes District and all revised bills will have been sent by the end of Friday 27th March 2020. This includes those businesses added in the updated guidance on 25th March 2020 such as estate agents, betting shops, etc.

If you think that your business should have received the Expanded Retail Discount but hasn’t then please email the details to customerfirst@lewes-eastbourne.gov.ukfor one of our team to review.

For more information see  GOV.UK - Support for those affected by COVID-19 or visit our Business Rates reliefs and discounts page.

Business Rates Nursery Discount

The government will introduce a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. 

You are eligible for the business rates holiday if your business is based in England

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be hereditaments:

  • occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
  • wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage 

The discount will be applied to eligible accounts and revised bills will be issued as soon as possible.

Items In This Category

The coronavirus Future Fund

The Future Fund has been designed by government and will be delivered by the British Business Bank. The scheme is open to applications on Wednesday 20 May 2020.

The Future Fund is open to eligible companies operating in all sectors.

The scheme will issue convertible loans between £125,000 to £5 million to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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

Your business is eligible if:

  • it is UK-incorporated. If your business is part of a corporate group, only the parent company is eligible;
  • it has raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last 5 years;
  • none of its shares are traded on a regulated market, multilateral trading facility or other listing venue;
  • it was incorporated on or before 31 December 2019;
  • at least one of the following is true: 1.) half or more employees are UK-based; or, 2.) half or more revenues are from UK sales.

Useful Links

 


 

Top-up to local business grant funds scheme

On Friday 1 May the Government announced a ‘Top Up’ discretionary grant fund which will soon be available for certain small businesses previously not in scope for the business grant funds scheme. The application process for this fund opens on Friday 29 May.

Go to our discretionary top-up fund page for details on how to apply

 Top-up to local business grant funds scheme - GOV.UK


As part of the package of measures to support businesses, local authorities are due to administer the following:

  • Small Business Grant Funding (SBGF) of £10,000 for businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) funding of £10,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value up to £15,000 and £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000

You can apply to these grant funds on our Small Business Grant Fund web page

You can download frequently asked questions about the grants and funding below:

Bounce back loan schemes for small businesses

The government has announced a new loan scheme for small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May. Firms will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.

Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.

Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses will be able to apply online through a short online application form.

The government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and will pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months.

We are currently awaiting more information, and will update these pages once further guidance is received.

You can access this information at Bounce Back Loan Scheme 


Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

A new temporary scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, has now launched to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to access bank-lending and overdrafts.

The CBILS scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value, with the first six months of the finance interest-free. Find out more information and eligibility criteria.

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.

  • These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
  • You are eligible if your business pays tax to the UK government and has outstanding tax liabilities

How to access the scheme

If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, you should call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 08000 241 222.

Government has stated that where hotels, hostels, and B&Bs are providing rooms to support homeless people, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies, they should remain open.

Guidance on the closure of all retailers that sell non-essential goods and other non-essential premises is available from Gov.uk

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. These measures, included in the emergency Coronavirus Bill currently going through Parliament, will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next three months.

The change will come into force when the Coronavirus Bill receives Royal Assent. It will last until 30 June, with an option for the government to extend if needed. 

The Bank of England has also opened its new lending facility for larger firms, called the Covid Corporate Financing Facility. The scheme is a cost-effective way to raise working capital for companies experiencing severe disruption to cash flows. It is open to firms that can demonstrate they were in sound financial health prior to the coronavirus pandemic. More information is available at Bank of England