Government support for businesses 

A new Gov website has been launched with further information on Government support during the Coronavirus outbreak. It can be found here.

Find coronavirus financial support for your business

(Updated 22 April) 

To help businesses find the support available to them during the coronavirus outbreak the Government have launched a new business support finder which is available here.   

Guidance on social distancing in the workplace 

(Updated 20th April 2020)   

Guidance from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy can be found here.

Business support from non-Government organisations 

(Updated 9th April 2020)  

Support from non-Government organisations, such as ACAS, can be found here

What financial support is available to my businesses? 

(Updated 7th August) 

Employee wages 

The Government’s much publicised flagship Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, often referred to as the ‘furlough scheme’. 

Between August and October the scheme will be brought to a close in three stages: 

  • August: Employers will begin to pay NI and pension contributions. 

  • September: Government will pay 70% of wages of a furloughed worker, with businesses paying the remaining 10% plus NI and pension.  

  • October: Government's contribution reduced to 60% with employees paying 20% of wages plus NI and pension contributions.         

Find out further information our employer FAQs.  

The Job Retention Bonus is a one-off payment to employers of £1,000 for every employee who they previously claimed for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and who remains continuously employed through to 31 January 2021. 

Further to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Government have introduced the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme so employees can claim Statutory Sick Pay for employees who are shielding or self-isolating (other than those who are self-isolating after returning from abroad).     


UK VAT registered businesses that have VAT payments due between 20th March and 30th June have the option to defer the payment until a later date.  

Although there is a limited amount of exceptions to this, such as import VAT, HMRC will not charge interest or penalties on any eligible VAT payments that are deferred.   

HMRC have also set up it’s Time to Pay service which facilitates arrangements for those businesses who are in financial distress as a result of coronavirus and are struggling to pay their tax bill on time.   

VAT reduction of 15% on eat-in or hot takeaway food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants and cafes from the 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021. Read more on our catering page.  

What if I am self-employed? 

In May the Government opened the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme which pays cash grants worth 80% of total profits, up to £2,500 per month over a three-month period starting from March 2020.   

On the 29th May the Government announced that self-employed individuals can in August apply for a further one-off grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits up to £6,570.   

If you’re eligible you’ll be able to make a claim for a second and final grant from 17 August 2020. 

The Government have also announced that self-employed individuals can delay making the second payment of your Self Assessment tax bill without penalty, so long as it is payed before 31st January.  


The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) aims to provide Government backed loans of up to £5 million for most businesses, with this being capped at £2 million for growers due to state aid rules.  

We continue to lobby Government about the need for existing schemes to flex to the needs for our sector. 

In the meantime, we encourage members that are in financial distress and can take on a loan to speak with their banks to find out what other options are available to you. 

Small businesses can apply for Government backed loans via the Bounce Back Loan scheme which provides loans of between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover – up to maximum of £50,000.    

For larger businesses the Government have also introduced the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme which provides loans up to £200 million.  

If your business has raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last 5 years it may be eligible for a loan via the Future Fund

England only schemes  

Businesses in the retail sector in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. 

Your local council should apply this discount automatically, although they may have to reissue your bill.  

Retailers can also apply for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund which provides retailers who have a ratable value of between £15,000 and £51,000, with a grant of £25,000. 

If your property has a ratable value of £15,000 you may be eligible for a £10,000 grant as part of the Small Business Grant Fund. 

Both of these schemes are closing on the 28th Augusts and we are encouraging all members who haven't yet applied to do so as soon as possible. 

Small and medium sized businesses in England can access grants between £1,000 - £5,000 for new equipment and technology and specialist advice. These can be applied for via your LEPs Local Growth Hub.  

Scotland only schemes  

Retailers can apply for a 100% rates relief for 2020-2021. If your Local Authority has not already provided this to you we encourage you to contact them directly. Further to this rates relief for retailers, all premises are eligible for a 1.6% rates relief. 

The Scottish Government have recently launched its rebuilding better actions for economic recovery. 

Wales only schemes  

In Wales all retail businesses with a ratable value of below £500,000 will receive a 100% business rates relief in 2020 to 2021.    

If you haven't already received any grant funding from the Welsh Government and have a forecast annual turnover below £50,000 you may be eligible for a Start Up Grant.  

Northern Ireland only schemes   

The Northern Irish Executive has announced that all garden centres will be eligible for a 100% rates relief up to the 31st March 2021. 

The Northern Ireland Executive have also made £1.2m-1.6m in support for the Ornamental Horticulture Sector. Daera will contact eligible businesses directly.