Help for businesses

Last updated on 19 November 2020

Eastbourne Borough Council and Lewes District Council understand the impact that COVID-19 is continuing to have on our business community. This is a priority for us, and we are working hard to support you during these circumstances.

Go to the Business Grants and Funding tab below for information about the current funding available.


The government announced new support for businesses that will be effected by lockdown. This includes an extension of the furlough scheme. For the latest information visit - GOV.UK - Furlough Scheme Extended and Further Economic Support announced

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

 Local Restrictions Support Grant

Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.

  Apply here

The closing date for applications is Wednesday 2 December 2020.

We have worked closely with our partner, Ascendant Solutions, to provide a portal that enables businesses to make an online application for a Local Restrictions Support Grant. The portal is hosted at www.grantapproval.co.uk, in partnership with the councils. Businesses are now able to submit their details to claim a Local Restrictions Support Grant.

You can download additional information about the grants below.

We are continuing to work on the Additional Restrictions Grant policy and will share more details as soon as we are able.

Central government has published guidance on how the grants will operate. This can be found here on the government website.  


Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)

The Additional Restrictions Grant is a discretionary grant scheme and has been developed to provide additional support to businesses that have been forced to close or are severely affected during the current national lockdown.

The funding is limited and aimed at businesses who were not eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant

If a business is required to close and has no Non-domestic rating assessment and falls within one of the following categories, then an award will be granted:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment
  • Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of Business Rates
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment
  • Home based ‘in person’ businesses where services are wholly or mainly provided ‘in person’ and cannot be provided remotely
  • Arts and entertainment organisations or businesses such as amateur dramatic groups or local theatresAgricultural businesses that wholly provide the science or practise of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool and other products

In addition to the businesses above, businesses that fall under the Food, Beverage, Event, Hospitality and Leisure supply chain and have not been forced to close will also be eligible for a grant payment.

In all cases the business must have been trading with effect 4th November 2020

The amount of grant that will be awarded has been decided as follows:

Business type | Grant (5th November 2020 to 2nd December 2020)

Bed & Breakfast - £1,334

Supply chain – Food, Beverage, Event, Hospitality and Leisure: 

  • For businesses with a rateable value of under £15k - £1,334
  • For business with a rateable value of more than £15k and less than £51k - £2,000
  • For businesses with a rateable value of £51k or more - £3,000

Market Traders - £667

Shared spaces - £1,334

Agriculture - £1,334

Homebased business - £800

Arts and entertainment - £1,334

 Apply here

Applications for the Additional Restrictions Grant will close at 23:59 on the 13 December 2020


NatWest Social and Community Capital Coronavirus Response Fund

Applications for the NatWest Social and Community Capital Coronavirus Response Fund are now closed. Natwest will contact shortlisted entries.


 The coronavirus Future Fund

The Future Fund has been designed by government and will be delivered by the British Business Bank. The scheme opened 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


The Small Business Grant Fund scheme and the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant schemes closed on 28 August 2020.

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

Business Support Grants - frequently asked questions

Business Support Grants - frequently asked questions
Summary: Download frequently asked questions on Business Support Grants
File Size: 167KB
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Created: 26 March 2020
Last Modified: 08 April 2020

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

Individuals could apply for the first SEISS grant until 13 July.



Update: Applications for the second grant opened in August 2020. Further information on the second grant is available at GOV.uk. The grants are being administered by the HMRC and not the district and borough council.


Who can access the scheme?

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

  • submitted you Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19;
  • continued to trade in 2019-20 and intend to keep trading in 2020-21;
  • carry on a trade which has been adversely affected by COVID-19;
  • have average self-employed trading profits of no more than £50,000 and at least equal to your non-trading income.

Individuals can continue to work, start a new trade or take on other employment including voluntary work, or duties as an armed forces reservist.

You will need to confirm that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus when applying for the second and final grant. You do not need to have claimed the first grant in order to be eligible for the second and final grant.

How much you will receive

Eligible individuals can claim a taxable grant worth 70 per cent of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profit.

The amount you can receive is capped at £6,570 in total.

How to apply

Information on how to apply can be found on the gov.uk website.

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 

The VAT payment deferral period ended on 30 June 2020.

More information on what to do next is available at Deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus (COVID-19) - GOV.UK

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 launched 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 were 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 introduced 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

Employers should be aware that from 31 July there are changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

What employers need to do before 31 July:

  • Submit CJRS claims for periods ending on or before 30 June 2020 by 31 July 2020. This is the last date to make those claims. Employers need to have made a claim at any point on or before 31 July to be able to make a claim for future months.
  • Amend previous claims to add any additional employees that may have been missed off in error. After 31 July employers will not be able to add any new employees for periods ending on or before 30 June.

What employers need to do from 1 August:

  • From 1 August 2020 the scheme will no longer fund employers’ National Insurance (NI) and pensions contributions. Employers will have to make these payments from their own resources for all employees, whether furloughed or not. 

HM Revenue and Customs have published guidance outlining what employers who have claimed too much, or not enough, from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme need to do. This can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/if-youve-claimed-too-much-or-not-enough-from-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

uidance has also been published concerning the penalties for not telling HM Revenue and Customs about CJRS grant overpayments. This can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/penalties-for-not-telling-hmrc-about-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-grant-overpayments-ccfs48

The CJRS: Levels of government grant

From 1 July 2020, businesses can bring furloughed employees back part time. Individual firms can decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work.

From August 2020, the level of government grant provided through the job retention scheme will be tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work. That means that for June and July the government will continue to pay 80% of people’s salaries. In the following months, businesses will be asked to contribute a share, but individuals will continue to receive 80% of salary covering the time they are unable to work.

The scheme updates mean that the following will apply for the period people are furloughed:

  • June and July: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions. Employers are not required to pay anything.
  • August: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions.
  • September: The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.
  • October: The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. 

When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours; employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.

Employers will be required to submit data on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and actual hours worked.

Claims from July onwards will be restricted to employers currently using the scheme and previously furloughed employees. The scheme closed to new entrants on 30 June, with the last three-week furloughs before that point commencing on 10 June.

Employees who believe they are not getting their 80% share can report any concerns to the HMRC fraud hotline. 

For more information visit the Government's JRS update

Bounce back loan schemes for small businesses

The government announced a loan scheme for small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic that opened 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.

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

Guidance on opening certain businesses and venues in England from 4 July 2020 is available from https://www.gov.uk/guidance/opening-certain-businesses-and-venues-in-england-from-4-july-2020

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction.

The Coronavirus Act has been amended to extend the time period for suspension of the forfeiture of evictions from June 30 to September 30, meaning businesses will not be forced out of their premises if they a miss a payment in the next three months.

More information is available from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-provides-further-halt-to-business-evictions-and-more-support-for-high-street-firms

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 

Delivered through Innovate UK, the Government launched the Sustainable Innovation Fund to help companies, who are in need of urgent financial support, keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive.

Proposals must show evidence of the key challenges as a direct consequence of COVID-19, and how your project can help solve them. In addition, they expect your proposal to ensure that any recovery, growth and opportunity is clean and sustainable.

The Sustainable Innovation Fund: round 1 (temporary framework) closed for applications on 29 July 2020, and The Sustainable Innovation Fund: SBRI phase 1 closed on 5 August 2020.

For more information visit the Innovation Funding Service.


If your business is in financial difficulty and is registered with Companies House, you can apply for a moratorium under the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020. It will give you 20 business days, free from creditor action, to consider rescue and restructuring options.

For more information visit Gov.uk.