UK government support


The 2020 Budget announced a plan to provide support for businesses affected by Coronavirus. These measures were supplemented with further UK government responses.

For further information and clarification, view the Coronavirus FAQ's here.

HMRC is delivering a programme of webinars on the measures to support employers and self-employed individuals through this period of disruption caused by coronavirus. Businesses can also register to attend a free webinar to learn more about the support available to help them deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus by registering on GOV.UK.

1. Tax

Deferral of VAT for 3 months- VAT payments will be deferred for 3 months (until 30 June 2020). This is an automatic offer with no applications required. 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. For the self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021. Self-employed will get full Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay.

Time to Pay upscaled - a dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities to receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement

2. Financial aid

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) - This scheme delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable small and medium sized businesses to apply for a loan, up to £5m, with the government providing a guarantee of 80% on each loan and with no interest due for the first twelve months. Personal guarantees of any form cannot be taken under the scheme for any facilities below £250k. CBILS supports a wide range of business finance products, including term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance facilities. The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the British Business Bank. CBILS is now open for applications.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) - Government will provide a guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans to firms with turnover of between £45 million and £250 million of up to £25 million and loans of up to £50 million for firms with turnover of more than £250 million. Facilities will be available from 3 months up to 3 years and will be offered at commercial rates of interest. The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the British Business Bank. CLBILS is now open for applications.

Bounce Back Loans scheme - Aimed at the UK’s smallest firms, the Bounce Back Loans scheme will offer loans of between £2,000 and £50,000. Businesses can borrow up to the value of 25% of their turnover up to a maximum of £50,000. The Government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. There will be a short, standardised online application to apply for a loan. There is no forward-looking test of business viability or ‘complex’ eligibility criteria. Finance should reach businesses ‘within 24 hours’ of approval. The scheme will launch for applications at 9am on Monday 4 May and firms will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.

Future fund - a new Future Fund to support the UK’s innovative businesses currently affected by Covid-19. These businesses have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as CBILS, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. The scheme will deliver an initial commitment of £250m of new government funding which will be unlocked by private investment on a match funded basis. The scheme will be open for applications in May, will initially be open until the end of September. More details to follow.

Support to self employed individuals

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme is a ground-breaking UK-wide scheme for self-employed individuals whose income has been impacted by coronavirus to receive direct cash grants.

Those who are eligible can receive a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years, up to £2,500 per month. This covers 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment.

Other loans and grants

£25,000 cash grant - for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000

£10,000 cash grant to small businesses - there will be a £10,000 cash grant to small firms in England eligible for Small Business Rate Relief. This will be delivered by Local Authorities.

Please see the guidance for businesses setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

Update from local authorities in Suffolk (2/4/2020): 

To apply for the Coronavirus/COVID-19 £10k small business grant, or the £25k hospitality, leisure and retails grants. Please visit the relevant local authority portals which are now up and running:

East Suffolk - https://lnkd.in/dgbiC2f

Ipswich - https://lnkd.in/d-mEdFA

Babergh & Mid Suffolk - https://lnkd.in/dnhJrb9

West Suffolk - www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/c19business

3. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month. The scheme, open to any employer in the country, will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st. This scheme is now open for claim submissions and will remain open until the end of June. 

4. Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

SSP will be temporarily available to those who are advised to self-isolate and people caring for those within the same household who display Coronavirus symptoms and have been told to self-isolate. A new style Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit will be available to those that are not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the UK government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.

5. Business Rates

The UK government is temporarily increasing the Business Rates discount to all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England to 100% for 2020-21, irrespective of rateable value.

6. Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

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. People able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.

7. Three-month ban on eviction for commercial tenants

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction.This will mean that no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next 3 months. Commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent after this period.

8. Relaxation of rules and regulations

The UK government has published a list of the rules that have been temporarily relaxed to make it easier for businesses to continue working through the disruption caused by Coronavirus.

For further information and clarification, view the Coronavirus FAQ's here.

There may be some variations to the above measures announced among devolved nations. Further information on support for businesses in the devolved nations can be found below: