COVID-19: Support for Employers and Employees

COVID-19 Business Grants and Loans

COVID-19 Business Grants and Loans

Below is a list of various Covid-19 related business grants and loans. Please click on the header to reveal more information about the scheme.

Additional Restrictions Grant (Discretionary Grant Scheme) - Scheme to re-open for applications from the 31/12/2020

On Wednesday 30 December 2020 the Government announced new national restriction measures, these announcements moved South Northamptonshire Council from Tier 3 to Tier 4 with effect from the 31 December 2020.  Subsequently on the 4 January 2021 the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a further period of National Restrictions commencing with immediate effect. The Government has provided funding to support businesses that are required to close due to the restrictions being put in place to manage coronavirus.

Part of the financial measures announced are grants for businesses that have been forced to close under the latest national measures. Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions (listed on the government website) will be eligible for the following Local Restriction Support Grant (LRSG)

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per 28-day qualifying restriction period
  • For properties with a rateable value of over £15k and below £51k, grants to be £2,000 per 28-day qualifying restriction period
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per 28-day qualifying restriction period

The Government has also recognised that some businesses that are required to close may not have a rateable value and that others may not have been forced to close, but they will be significantly impacted by the lockdown.

As such Local Authorities have been allocated funding under the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). This funding is to support businesses alongside the Local Restrictions Support Grant and can be used across financial years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022.

Local Authorities are required to determine how to use this funding to support local businesses in line with the eligibility criteria set out in the guidance provided by Government which encourages Local Authorities to develop discretionary grant schemes to help those businesses.

The Council has agreed an Additional Restrictions Grant Policy. Our goal is to try and support as many businesses as possible that have been affected by the national lockdown restrictions while keeping the individual grant amounts high enough that they will provide meaningful support to those businesses.

Exclusions to the scheme

  • Businesses which can continue to trade and can operate their services remotely
  • Businesses which have chosen to close but are not required to close unless they can demonstrate significant financial impact as a result of lockdown restrictions
  • Businesses which have already received grant payments that equal the maximum levels of State Aid permitted under the de minimis and the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework
  • Business which are in administration, insolvent or where a striking off notice has been made

What are the eligibility criteria?

  • Businesses must have a registered address in the South Northants District to be eligible for this scheme. The business will need to be trading within the South Northants District. Where a business is registered in another council area (although has a presence in the South Northants District Council area) the council will take a discretionary view on a case-by-case basis
  • Businesses must have been actively trading on or before 30 December 2020
  • Businesses which have been forced to close and which are outside of the business rate system, for example shared spaces and market traders, are eligible to apply under this scheme
  • Businesses while not legally forced to close but which provide goods or services to a business that is mandated to close are eligible to apply for a grant. This could include, for example, businesses which supply the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors or businesses in the events sector are
  • Larger local businesses which are essential to support the wider local economy may also be eligible for additional support on top of funding provided to these businesses via the LRSG (closed). This will be in exceptional circumstances and each case will be considered on its own merits with a view to the local economic impact if the business ceased to trade

This grant scheme will open imminently, a link to the application form will be available here once the scheme has opened.  Please note if you have previously received funding through the Additional Restrictions Grant you will still need to re-apply for this further period of Tier 4/National Restrictions.

Support Grant for businesses mandated to close from Thursday 5 November 2020 until Wednesday 2 December 2020

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Addendum is intended to support businesses which have been required to close because of the government’s national lockdown restrictions from 5 November until 2 December 2020.

Businesses required to close under the national lockdown restrictions include non-essential retail, hospitality venues, leisure, sports and entertainment venues, and personal care facilities. A full list of businesses required to close can be found on the Gov.uk website.

To qualify for this grant, your business must have been:

  • open as usual on 4 November 2020
  • providing services in person to customers from the premises
  • required to close the main part of the business, due to the national lockdown restrictions imposed by government
  • liable to pay business rates for the premises on 5 November 2020 (even if you have not paid your business rates this financial year due to a relief or exemption)

Businesses are also eligible if they have had to adapt their business model to provide a reduced service, such as takeaways or click and collect. If the main part of the business (before government restrictions) is to provide takeaways or click and collect services, then the business is not eligible for this grant.

If your business is closed and you do not have a business rates account, please do not apply. There will be a separate discretionary grants scheme for businesses without a business rates account. Details of this scheme will be provided here in due course, together with a separate application process.

Your business will not qualify for support under the Local Restrictions Grant Support Grant (Closed) Addendum scheme if it:

  • has been able to continue to operate during the lockdown because it does not depend on providing direct in-person services from its premises
  • has chosen to close
  • has reached the state aid limit; or
  • is in administration, insolvent or a striking off order was made at the time local restrictions started

How much is the grant?

Rateable value of premises Grant payment per four weeks
£15,000 or under £1,334
£15,001 - £50,999 £2,000
£51,000 or over £3,000

You can find the rateable value of your premises on your latest business rates bill.

State aid rules

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Addendum counts towards state aid. The rules are fully explained in the government state aid guidance. By accepting this grant, you must confirm that you are not in breach of these rules.

How to apply

All businesses wishing to claim this grant will have to complete an online form (below) and the following information will be needed:

  • Business rates account number
  • The 2017 List Rateable Value of the property (you will find this on your latest business rates bill)
  • Copy of a recent bank statement showing account name, address, sort code and account number

Before starting to complete your application form, please check that you have this information to hand. Please note that we will need all of this information before we can make a grant payment.

After submission of your online form, a grant payment should normally be processed and paid within a fortnight.

Apply for Local Restrictions Support Grant (National Lockdown)

Local Restriction Support Grant – Updated 06/01/2021

Local Restrictions Support Grant – Coronavirus

Businesses in England required to close due to being located in tier 3 or tier 4 regions or subject to National Restrictions (Lockdown) and therefore being subject to local lockdown measures will now be able to receive grants worth up to £3,000 every month.

Please Note: The local lockdown is triggered when the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care requires the closure of businesses in a local area under regulations within the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.

National Restrictions (Lockdown) (TBC) and Tier 4 Restrictions (31 December 2020 – TBC)

Local Restrictions Support Grant (National Lockdown) - Also known as LRSG (closed) Addendum

This is available for those businesses that were mandated to close during either a period of National Restrictions (Lockdown) or Tier 4 Restrictions being imposed. There are different levels of payment dependant on the amount of rateable value of the property and it is a one-off payment for a 28-day period, payment for the period of Tier 4 restrictions will be calculated on a Pro Rata basis.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the grant, a business that was open as usual and providing in-person services to customers must have been required to close due to local COVID-19 restrictions.

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under, grants of £1,334 per 28 day period
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15,000-£51,000, grants of £2,000 per 28 day period
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51,000, grants of £3,000 per 28 day period

Please note: a link to the application form for the period of Tier 4/National Restrictions will be available here shortly. Please note all previous applicants for the period 05/11/2020 to the 02/12/2020 will have to re-apply for further funding from the 31/12/2020, whilst the Authority remains in Tier 4/National Restrictions payments will then be made on a cyclical basis every 28 days (unless instructed otherwise by central Government).

Tier 3 Restrictions (26 December 2020 – 30 December 2020) and Tier 2 Restrictions (2 December 2020 – 25 December 2020)

Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) - Also known as LRSG (Closed)

This is available to businesses that are mandated to close in Tier 3 and in Tier 2 restrictions, from the effective date of the restriction. There are different levels of payment dependant on the amount of rateable Value of the business and it is a payment for every full 14-day period the district remains in those restrictions.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the grant, a business that was open as usual and providing in-person services to customers must have been required to close due to local COVID-19 restrictions.

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under, grants of £1,334 per 28 day period
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15,000-£51,000, grants of £2,000 per 28 day period
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51,000, grants of £3,000 per 28 day period

Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) - Also known as LRSG (Open)

This is available to businesses that are not mandated to close in Tier 3 or in Tier 2, but they have proven to be severely impacted. There are different levels of payment based on the Rateable Value of the business. It is a payment for every full 14-day period the district remains in the restriction, the payment amount is calculated on a Pro Rata basis when an Authority is moved between Tiers (either up or down) midway through a 14 day period.

Local Authorities have been provided with additional funding to support businesses in high (Tier 2) alert level areas. These businesses are not subject to enforced closures but are severely impacted by the restrictions on socialising.

The funding South Northamptonshire Council received is based on the number of hospitality, hotel, B and B, and leisure businesses in the area.

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under, grants of up to £934 per 28 day period
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15,000-£51,000, grants of up to £1,400 per 28 day period
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51,000, grants of up to £2,100 per 28 day period
  • This is equivalent to 70% of the grant amounts given to legally closed businesses in Tier 3 (worth up to £3,000/month) 28 day period

Please note: a link to the application form for the period of Tier 2/Tier 3 restrictions will be available here as shortly.

Payments

Payments are triggered by a national decision to close businesses in a high incidence area. Each payment will be made for a 4 week national restriction period and each new 4 week period triggers an additional payment. Eligible businesses must have been closed for the entirety of the 4 week period, where an Authority is moved between Tiers, as has been the case in South Northamptonshire, payments will be calculated on a pro rata basis to take into account the number of days the authority was in the respective eligible Tier.

As with other COVID-19 business grants, local grants to businesses will be treated as taxable income.

Visit new grants for businesses affected by local lockdowns for more details.

In addition to the above central Government announced on the 5 January 2021 a further, one-off payment, grant scheme to provide support to closed businesses as follows:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

Please note: We had planned to open applications for these grants on Monday 18 January 2021, but unfortunately they will now go live Wednesday 27 January.  This is due to unavoidable technical difficulties at our end, for which we would like to apologise.  We know this is a tough time for businesses and a stressful time for everybody, and we will work doubly hard to process applications quickly once they open on Wednesday 27 January.  Sorry for this delay in opening for applications.

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

Government will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Eligibility

You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

  • your business is based in England
  • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

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
  • for hospitality, as hotels, guest and boarding premises or self-catering accommodation

More information on eligibility is set out in the expanded retail discount guidance.

How to access the scheme

There is no action for you. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to provide this support. They will do this as soon as possible.

You can estimate the business rate charge using the business rates calculator.

Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme 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 known as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and is available until the end of October.

Claim for wage costs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

See HMRC's step by step guide on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees

Government will bring forward legislation to allow small- and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

  • this refund will cover up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
  • employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  • employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
  • eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force
  • the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible

Eligibility

You are eligible for the scheme if:

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

How to access the scheme

Check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Support for businesses paying tax – HMRC’s Time to Pay

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.

Eligibility

You are eligible if your business:

  • pays tax to the UK government
  • 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, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559.

If you’re worried about a future payment, please call nearer the time.


Bounce Back Loan Scheme

The Bounce Back Loan scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.

The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

Loan terms will be up to six years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.

Eligibility

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • has been negatively affected by coronavirus
  • was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019

Who cannot apply

The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • further-education establishments, if they are grant-funded
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools

If you’re already claiming funding - If you’ve already received a loan of up to £50,000 under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020.

How to access the scheme

Apply through the Government website.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will support SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 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 government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to pre-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. 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.

Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply.

See here for support for large businesses through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

Under the new COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.

This will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities.

It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.

Eligibility

All non-financial companies that meet the criteria set out on the Bank of England’s website are eligible.

How to access the scheme

The scheme is now available for applications. More information is available from the Bank of England.

Protection from eviction for commercial tenants

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction.

These measures will mean no business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment up until 30 June.

There is the option for the government to extend this period if needed.

This is not a rental holiday. All commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent. Commercial tenants are protected from eviction if they are unable to pay rent.

Eligibility

All commercial tenants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are eligible.

How to access the scheme

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.
More information on commercial tenant eviction ban

South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP)

SEMLEP’s Growth Hub Advisers can provide guidance to employers on the different types of funding streams available and advise on which is best for the business outside of the grants administered by us.