A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees.

This page helps businesses find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply.

 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
What is it?

The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports small and medium-sized businesses with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to six years.

The Government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.

The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the Government-owned British Business Bank.

There are 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks.

The Government has banned lenders from requesting personal guarantees on loans under £250,000.

The new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme as been launched to ensure more firms are able to benefit from government-backed support.

The scheme will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45million and £500million. 

Are you eligible?

You are eligible for the scheme if:

How do you access it?

You should apply via your lender’s website or through one of the 40 accredited finance providers offering the scheme (and not the British Business Bank).

Please note that branches may currently be shut down to enable social distancing.

The full rules of the Scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website.

When can you access it?

The scheme is now open for applications. All major banks are offering this scheme.

 Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
What is it?

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020, will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will pay employers a grant worth 80% of an employee’s usual wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that subsidised wage. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st if applicable and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary.

Are you eligible?

All UK-wide employers with a PAYE scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020 will be eligible including:

  • Businesses,
  • Charities,
  • Recruitment Agencies (agency workers paid through PAYE),
  • Public Authorities

The employer must have a UK bank account.

How do you access it?

You will need to:

  1. Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.
  2. Once the new online portal is live, submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings.
When can you access it?

HMRC are working urgently to set up a system to pay these grants. We expect the first grants to be paid within weeks, and we’re aiming to get it done before the end of April. If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

Further guidance

For more information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme please read the guidance for employers. We have also published guidance for employees.

 Self-employment Income Support Scheme
What is it?

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000. The scheme will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by May.

Are you eligible?

To be eligible for the scheme you must meet all the criteria below:

  • Be self-employed or a member of partnership;
  • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19;
  • File a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. Those who have not yet filed for 2018-19 will have an additional 4 weeks from this announcement to do so;
  • Have traded in 2019-20; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID 19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
  • Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
    • Your trading profits and total income in 2018/19
    • Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.
How do you access it?

Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational. HMRC will then pay the grant directly to eligible claimants’ bank account. HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid out by beginning of June 2020. For eligible individuals who have not submitted their returns for 2018-19, they will have 4 weeks’ notice from the date of the announcement to file their returns and therefore become eligible for this scheme.

HMRC are publishing guidance on the scheme, available here. This guidance will continue to be updated.

When can you access it?

HMRC is urgently working to deliver the scheme; grants are expected to start to be paid by the beginning of June 2020. This time is necessary to ensure that the scheme is both deliverable and fair. In the interim the self-employed will still able eligible for other government support including more generous universal credit and business continuity loans.

Further information on how to access these schemes can be found here.

 Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure
What is it?

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year. Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019-20 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

Are you eligible?

You will be eligible if:

1. Your business is based in England*, AND

2. Your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector. Properties that will benefit from the relief will be those that are wholly or mainly being used:

a. as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues,
b. for assembly and leisure; or
c. as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.

How do you access it?

There is no action for you. Local authorities will apply the business rates holiday to your bills. For more information please check the guidance on gov.uk.

2. You can estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year using the business rates calculator.

3. You can find your local authority on gov.uk.

When can you access it?

This will apply to your business rates bills for the 2020/2021 tax year. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill. They will do this as soon as possible.

 Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure
What is it?

If your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector, you will receive a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.

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.

Are you eligible?

You will be eligible if:

1. Your business is based in England*

2. Your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

3. Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied properties that are wholly or mainly being used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

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.

How do you access it?

1. You do not need to do anything.

2. Your Local Authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

When can you access it?
Local Authorities will write to all eligible businesses with information on how to claim this grant. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant Local Authority. To find your local authority, use this search tool.
 Small Business Grant Funding
What is it?

The Government is providing additional funding for Local Authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Are you eligible?

You will be eligible if

1. Your business is based in England* AND

2. You are a small business and already receive SBRR and/or RRR AND

3. You are a business that occupies property

How do you access it?

You do not need to do anything. Your Local Authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant.

When can you access it?

Local Authorities will write to all eligible businesses with information on how to claim this grant. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant Local Authority. To find your Local Authority, use this search tool.

 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate
What is it?

The Government will bring forward legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for staff sickness absence due to coronavirus. This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of coronavirus.

Are you eligible?

You will be eligible if:

1. Your business is UK based AND

2. Your business is a small or medium sized and employs fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020.

How do you access it?

A rebate scheme is being developed, further details will be provided in due course.

When can you access it?

The Government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP.

If you are self-employed and want to know if you are eligible for Universal Credit, please visit the gov.uk Universal Credit page

 Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility
What is it?

The new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) means that the Bank of England will buy short-term debt from larger companies. This will support companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms. The scheme will be funded by central bank reserves – in line with other Bank of England market operations. It will operate for at least 12 months, and for as long as steps are needed to relieve cash flow pressures on firms that make a material contribution to the UK economy.

Are you eligible?

Companies – and their finance subsidiaries – that make a material contribution to the UK economy are able to participate in the facility. More information on eligibility can be found on the Bank of England Website.

How do you access it?

In order to access the CCFF, you will need to contact your bank. It is important to note that not all banks issue commercial paper. If your bank does not issue commercial paper, UK Finance will provide a list of banks that are able to assist. More information can be found on the Bank of England website.

When can you access it?

This scheme is now available for applications.

 Business Rates Holiday for Nurseries
What is it?

Nurseries in England* do not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year.

Are you eligible?

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be those occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and are wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

How do you access it?

1. There is no action for you. Local authorities will apply the business rates holiday to your bills. For more information please check the guidance on gov.uk.

2. To estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year please check the business rates calculator.

3. To find your local authority, you can use this search tool.

When can you access it?

This will apply to your business rates bills for the 2020-21 tax year. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill. They will do this as soon as possible.

 VAT Deferral
What is it?

The Government will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months.

Are you eligible?

All VAT-registered UK businesses are eligible.

How do you access it?

This is an automatic offer with no applications required. UK Registered businesses will not need to make VAT payments normally due with VAT returns during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020-21 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.

Customers who normally pay by direct debit should cancel their direct debit with their bank if they are unable to pay. Please do so in sufficient time so that HMRC do not attempt to automatically collect on receipt of your VAT return.

When can you access it?

The deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

 Deferral of Self-Assessment payment
What is it?

The Self- Assessment payment on account, that is ordinarily due to be paid to HMRC by 31 July 2020 may now be deferred until January 2021.

Are you eligible?

If you are due to make a self- assessment payment on account on 31 July 2020 then you are eligible for the deferment. The deferment is intended to assist self-assessment taxpayers, including those who are self-employed, who are suffering hardship as a result of the coronavirus.

The deferment is optional and any persons still able to pay their second self-assessment payment on account on 31 July 2020 should still do so.

How do you access it?

This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged if you defer payment of your July 2020 payment on account until January 2021.

HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of coronavirus and have outstanding tax liabilities.

When can you access it?

On 31 July 2020 when your self-assessment payment on account, ordinarily due to be paid on that date, may be deferred until 31 January 2021.