Advice and support for businesses
Access information about financial schemes and support on the Government's Coronavirus Business Support website
- Guidance on the Small Business Grant Scheme and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund
- Businesses can claim for wage costs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The scheme allows all UK employers to claim for wage costs for at least 3 months starting from 1 March 2020. Guidance is now available on GOV.UK.
- Further guidance on the deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus has been published.
- HMRC has produced guidance to help employers find out what equipment, services or supplies are taxable if your employees are working from home due to coronavirus.
- Rules on carrying over annual leave to be relaxed to support key industries during COVID-19, workers will be able to carry it over into the next two leave years.
- Measures to support self-employed people are now available. Further information on the Self-employment Income Support Scheme has been published along with a frequently asked questions page.
- A HMRC helpline has been launched to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19). The helpline allows any business or self-employed individual who is concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus to get practical help and advice. The new number is 0800 024 1222.
- Guidance for food businesses has been added to GOV.UK, the guidance includes need to know information about coronavirus and food, food hygiene guidance, managing employee sickness and maintaining social distancing in specific food business settings.
- Business Rates: expanded retail discount guidance has been updated removing exclusions for this relief so that retail, leisure, and hospitality properties that have been forced to close as a result of the COVID-19 restriction measures will now be eligible for the relief
- Businesses can now apply for a three-month extension to file accounts with Companies House and avoid late penalties if you have been affected by coronavirus.
- Updates to the Guidance for UK businesses trading internationally, including a business support helpline
- Guidance: Further businesses and premises to close which confirms that accommodation businesses should close unless they are providing for key workers or are a permanent residence. Businesses offering delivery and take away food can still operate.
- Guidance for employees, employers and businesses including information on healthcare advice for employers and support for businesses
- Guidance for businesses including information on Small Business Grant Scheme and the Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme
- Information about the Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- How to access financial support if your business has been affected by COVID-19
- Sick notes: An online sick note system has been launched for coronavirus absences
- Support for businesses paying sick pay to employees
- Support for businesses paying business rates
- Support for businesses paying little or no business rates
- Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility. Information for businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have also been added.
- Support for businesses paying tax: Time to Pay service
- Support for businesses on Insurance
- The Department for Transport guidance for staff in the transport sector much of which seems transferable to the tourism sector.
- The World Health Organisation interim guidance for organisers of mass-gatherings
Other available support
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has put together a £50 million emergency fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The Heritage Emergency Fund will be available for grants of between £3,000 and £50,000. It is available to organisations across the full breadth of heritage, including historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives, parks and gardens, landscapes and nature.
Organisations which have received funding in the past and are either a current grantee, or still under contract following a previous grant, can apply.
Priority will be given where:
- there is limited or no access to other sources of support
- where heritage is most at risk
- where an organisation is at risk of severe financial crisis due to COVID-19
Government updates affecting the Tourism Industry
2 April - Update to the guidance for local authorities setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF), outlining information on state aid, monitoring and reporting requirements, post payment checks, and the eligibility of charities.
The Business rates: expanded retail discount – guidance has been updated to confirm that the government’s assessment that the expanded retail discount is not a state aid, and that local authorities should therefore award relief to all eligible properties.
The 2020 National Living Wage comes into effect today (Wednesday 1 April), a 6.2% increase on the previous rate
1 April - Following the Government’s announcement that from grants and business rates packages from today we wanted to share the guidance published today for businesses on the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund:
Key information includes:
Details on how grants will be provided:
- Central Government will provide funding to local authorities that are responsible for business rate billing. Those local authorities will contact eligible businesses to arrange payment of the grants. The business ratepayer will be contacted and receive the funds if they are eligible.
Details on how much funding will be provided to businesses:
- Under the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) all eligible businesses in England in receipt of either Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system will be eligible for a payment of £10,000.
- Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) eligible businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for a cash grants of £10,000 or £25,000 per property.
- Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to and including £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.
- Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
- Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme. Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in this scheme.
Also covered is eligibility of businesses for both funds, exclusions to the funds, information around fraud and rating list changes. The full guidance is available for download from GOV.UK.
The Government is asking businesses if they can offer coronavirus (COVID-19) support. The support needed includes:
- Medical testing equipment, medical equipment design, protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser
- Hotel rooms, transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
- Manufacturing equipment
- Warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
- Expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement, engineering or communications
- Social care or childcare
Businesses can share the areas they can offer support through the online portal.
30 March - Over the weekend Business Secretary Alok Sharma gave the Government's daily briefing including an update on the business support schemes:
On the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Sharma confirmed that 40 accredited lenders are processing thousands of applications.
Guidance has also been given to English councils on the grants to the smallest business (inc retail and hospitality). The first part of the funding arrived with councils on Friday 27 March, and should be with businesses as soon as possible.
Other updates included:
Updated information on the closing certain businesses and venues page around compliance. The new Regulations extending the restrictions are now enforceable by law due to the threat to public health.
DCMS Secretary of State provides an update on access to cultural attractions from home
The Cabinet Office has produced COVID-19 FAQs detailing what you can and can’t do, which businesses may wish to share with their employees.
Government cracks down on spread of false coronavirus information online
Letter from Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing to caravan and park owners, asking them to remain open for key workers and vulnerable groups
25 March - The Home Office has published new guidance on immigration provisions for individuals affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus (COVID-19). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Home Office is providing visa extensions for those affected by coronavirus. Nobody will be penalised for circumstances outside of their control. The Coronavirus Immigration Helpline remains open. Customers are asked to check gov.uk first as that is the central source of information, but if individuals remain concerned about their immigration status they can contact the helpline at: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk
23 March - The PM's speech includes further "stay at home" measures to tackle the spread of COVID-19, including closing playgrounds, outdoor gyms and "non-essential" shops, as well as gatherings of more than two people including weddings and christenings (funerals are exempt). Police have been given powers to enforce social distancing through fines and dispersal.
The Government has announced two new pieces of guidance. The first, Guidance: Further businesses and premises to close and second, Social Distancing/Vulnerable people.
The Foreign Secretary has advised all British travellers to return to the UK.
22 March - The Government has announced the launch of the business support measures outlined last week. As part of this, they have also launched a dedicated business website that collates information on the support available for businesses.
The Government has also produced guidance for people planning to visit second homes or holiday premises during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Transport Secretary has confirmed that they are offering the opportunity for train operators to transition into ‘Emergency Measures Agreements’ for a period of six months (this can be extended), which will suspend normal financial mechanisms of franchise agreements and transfer all revenue and cost risk to the Government. These measures will ensure services operate for key workers, and minimise disruption to the rail sector in the long term.
17 March - the UK Government announced a £330 billion financial rescue package to support and protect businesses affected by COVID-19, including those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Full details can be found on GOV.UK. Chancellor announces additional support to protect businesses
Watch the Commons speech
Read Rt Hon Rishi Sunak's speech
In addition, information on the Coronavirus Bill (which will be pushed through the house this week) was published. This guidance outlines the powers the government will receive.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all non-essential international travel, initially for a period of 30 days. This advice takes effect immediately.
16 March - The UK public was asked to stop 'unnecessary travel and non-essential contact' for around 12 weeks
11 March - In the 2020 budget, the UK Government announced support for businesses affected by COVID-19.
4 March - The UK Government announced that statutory sick pay will be made available from day one when self-isolating.