Information on Business Grants and Charitable Support available to HTA Members can be seen by logging in to the website

Universal Credit

What Universal Credit is

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly - or twice a month for some people in Scotland.

You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income or out of work.

This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

If you live in Northern Ireland, go to Universal Credit in Northern Ireland.

If you already get other benefits

Universal Credit is replacing the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

If you currently get any of these benefits, you do not need to do anything unless:

  • you have a change of circumstances you need to report
  • the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) contacts you about moving to Universal Credit

Severe disability premium

You cannot claim Universal Credit if you either:

  • get the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it
  • got or were entitled to the severe disability premium in the last month, and you’re still eligible for it

If you have a change of circumstances that affects the severe disability premium or your other benefits, report it and you’ll be told what to do next.


Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)


You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.

ESA gives you:

  • money to help with living costs if you’re unable to work
  • support to get back into work if you’re able to

You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.

If you get Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance

You might be moved to ESA if you’ve been claiming Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance. You’ll be told what you need to do and how much ESA you’ll get.


Lay-offs and short-time working


Your employer can ask you to stay at home or take unpaid leave if there’s not enough work for you.

A lay-off is if you’re off work for at least 1 working day. Short-time working is when your hours are cut.

How long you can be laid off

There’s no limit for how long you can be laid off or put on short-time. You could apply for redundancy and claim redundancy pay if it’s been:

  • 4 weeks in a row
  • 6 weeks in a 13-week period

Lay-off pay entitlement and short-time working payments

You should get your full pay unless your contract allows unpaid or reduced pay lay-offs.

If you’re unpaid, you’re entitled to guarantee pay.


If you cannot pay your tax bill on time

Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as soon as possible if you have missed your payment. How you contact HMRC depends on what you need to pay.

If you cannot pay because of Coronavirus

Call the HMRC Coronavirus helpline.

HMRC Coronavirus Helpline
Telephone: 0800 015 9559
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 8am to 4pm


Here are a few examples of the response to COVID-19 from major banks. Please ensure you contact your own banks to check information relevant to you and your business.


Financial support

HSBC have announced a package of support to help you tackle the financial impact of COVID-19.

If you’re in financial difficulty, this could include:

  • short-term support through reduced or deferred payments for mortgages
  • longer-term support through extending the remaining term of your mortgage, switching rates or switching part or all to interest-only mortgage arrangements
  • giving you early access to fixed-rate savings accounts without closure charges
  • support for anyone with unsecured debt through reduced payments or breathing space to defer payments due. These solutions are tailored to individual needs
  • the option of a temporary increase in credit card and overdraft limits

You can find more information about dealing with money worries here. And if you’d like to discuss your financial situation, please contact HSBC on 03457 404 404.

If you have investments with HSBC, you can read HSBC market analysis of how the virus is affecting global markets on the Wealth Insights hub.

Do your banking at home

You can manage your everyday banking needs through online banking or the HSBC mobile banking app (on compatible devices) without needing to leave home.

There’s no need to visit a branch to make payments or pay in cheques – your banking needs are at the touch of a button.

Visit the HSBC managing your account page for more information.

Need help getting set up? Find out how to register.

Support for businesses

HSBC has allocated £5 billion to help businesses in need of support.

They proactively contacting their customers to see what help their businesses need.

You can contact their helpline on 08000 121 614, from 09:00 – 17:00 Monday to Friday.

For more advice on planning for any possible disruption, visit

Beware of fraud

Some criminals are using the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to scam the public. This includes offering medical products, guidance or a safe haven for money. Remember, HSBC will never ask you to move money to a safe account. Please remain vigilant and stay up to date with the latest information on their fraud and security page.

Travel Insurance

If you’re not sure whether coronavirus might affect holidays or flights you’ve booked, check out these Frequently Asked Questions.

Where they refer to the ‘FCO’, this stands for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The FCO provides advice to help UK citizens make judgements about travelling to a particular country. Please visit for up-to-date advice on your destination.

Source: HSBC UK


Managing your money

If your income has been affected by the disruption from the coronavirus, Lloyds have options to help you. These include:

  1. No fees for missed payments on credit cards, loans and mortgages.
  2. Payment holidays on mortgages and loans with additional support provided when you need it.
  3. Emergency access to savings in fixed-term accounts without charge.
  4. Deposit limits of up to £500 for mobile banking, so you'll be able to scan and pay in cheques.

If you’re worried about your financial situation because of coronavirus, please contact them.

Travel and holiday disruption

If you’re concerned about travel disruption, you can check your travel provider’s website – many of them have put useful information on there to help their customers.

If you used your credit card to book travel there may be protection should you need to change your plans. Find out more about the terms of your Credit Card.

If you are abroad when plans change and require emergency credit limit increases, Lloyds can help. 

If you're having difficulty using your card abroad, call Lloyds on +44 (0) 1702 278 272.

Lines are open Mon-Sun, 7am - 11pm.

If you are a Platinum Account holder, travel insurance is included as an account benefit. To check what you are covered for, view your policy details or visit Axa’s website for more information.  If you're abroad or your travel plans have been impacted by coronavirus, please click here to find out more.

Stay fraud safe

Unfortunately, times of uncertainty can provide opportunity for fraudsters. Stay alert to suspicious emails, calls or texts claiming to be your bank.

Lloyds will never call, email or text and ask you to:

  • Share your account details like user ID, password and memorable information.
  • Tell us your Personal Security Number (PSN) for Telephone Banking.
  • Tell us your PIN code, expiry date, CVV number which is the last 3 digits of the security code on the back of your card.
  • Move money to another account.

Lloyds online fraud guarantee is there to protect you if you fall for fraud. But there are also things you can do to stay safe. You can find out more about it here.

Lloyds also use the latest technology to help protect you round the clock.

Accessing your account

If you’re unable to visit your local branch or a Cashpoint® machine, there are a number of ways you can stay in control of your finances from home.

Internet Banking

Banking online is safe, secure and easy. Move your money, manage your bills and statements, and access your account when it suits you.

To help keep you safe whilst using Internet Banking, it’s really important that Lloyds have your up-to-date telephone number, as they will text a passcode to your mobile or call your landline to make sure it’s definitely you logging on.

It’s also easy to register for Internet Banking: enter your personal details, choose a user ID and password and then create your memorable information. 

Mobile Banking app

If you’re registered for Internet Banking, the Lloyds app lets you bank securely and take care of everyday transactions. Easily pay people and bills, manage standing orders, freeze your card or report it lost or stolen, and pay in cheques. 

Available for Android, iPhone and iPad. 

Download the app

Telephone Banking

Call Lloyds on 0345 602 1997 (or +44 1733 347 007  if you’re calling from abroad) to access your accounts using the quick and easy 24/7 automated service and their advisers are available 7am to 11pm if you need to speak to someone. If you aren’t already registered, Lloyds can help you start the registration process to make it easy for you in the future.

You can call Lloyds on 0345 850 2808 to register for our voice ID service.

Source: Lloyds Bank


If you are concerned about being impacted financially or being unable to get to the bank due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), Natwest are here to support you.

You can use the Natwest mobile banking app and online banking to help you manage your everyday banking needs without having to leave your home.  You can learn more about how you can access these and what you can do on their ways to bank page.

Or if you need further help and are unable to visit a branch, their Video Bankers may be able to help you. Find out more about the service and book an appointment here.

And, if you find yourself struggling financially you can find additional support here.

If you are concerned about planned travel arrangements please contact the company you booked with for further guidance.

Need Natwest help?:

- Send them a private message on social media

- Message them securely in their app

- Visit their FAQs

- Natwest are continuing to monitor the situation closely and will provide updates 

Remember to be alert to suspicious phone calls, texts or emails from anyone claiming to be from the bank with a message about Coronavirus. Trusted organisations will NEVER ask you for your full PIN or password, card reader codes.

Get the app

Source: Natwest

The FSB also has a range of guidance available for small businesses here.