Business Support Hub


In these times of uncertainty and a near constant stream of new information and support packages for a wide range of businesses, sole traders and the general public, it’s important that we have somewhere to refer back to – in plain English – so you know exactly where you stand in these tough times.


What we do want you to know is that we’re here for you.


It is our job to support and guide you through these tough times. Just like you, we are a small business too and know the struggles and the uncertainly of this situation. We are here to support you and your business.

It’s important to think past these troubling times, and to the weeks and months past this when we’re out of the other side. We will get through it, but whilst we’re all in the thick of it at the moment, please don’t keep quiet and worry, please use this information to make a plan, and we’re here for you to share those plans with.

Latest Announcements – Lockdown 3.0 (January 2021)

The situation with COVID19 and the support available is rapidly changing every day.

On the 5th January 2021, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced further support as we as a country go into our third lockdown since the Coronavirus began.

We’ve compiled all the relevant ongoing information in the top portion of this page so you can see the most recent information available to support your business.


NEW - Furlough Extended Again

The furlough scheme has been extended until 30th September 2021 with the government continuing to contribute 80% towards wages – giving businesses and employees across the UK certainty into the New Year.

The government will continue to pay 80% of the salary of employees for hours not worked until the end of June. Employers will only be required to pay wages, National Insurance Contributions (NICS) and pensions for hours worked; and NICS and pensions for hours not worked.

From July 2021, Employers will be required to make a partial contribution towards their employees furlough payments. 

How does it work?

Employers can fully furlough their employees until 30 September 2021 if they feel the need.

Employees can be required to take their holiday during this time, with employers having to top up the furlough pay, and then claim the 80% support, with employers required to make up 10% from July, 20% from August, and 30% in September 2021. 

What are the terms of this scheme?

It will be available for small and medium sized businesses, and is open to businesses even if they didn’t use the furlough scheme, for employees on payroll as at 30th October 2020.

Employers are still responsible for paying employers national insurance, and employer pension contributions.

Flexible and full furloughing will still be allowed.

Employers can still choose to top up employees wages.

Businesses will not be able to issue redundancy notices to employees while taking part in the extended furlough scheme and there will be restrictions on capital distributions to shareholders for larger businesses while they are in receipt of money for their workers on this scheme.

When can I claim?

The furlough portal will be open from 11th November 2020.

Furlough claim portal

There are some new deadlines you need to be aware of.

Claim for days in November 2020 – Deadline for claiming 14th December 2020

Claim for days in December 2020 – Deadline for claiming 14th January 2021

Claim for days in January 2021 – Deadline for claiming 15th February 2021

Claim for days in February 2021 – Deadline for claiming 15th March 2021

Claim for days in March 2021 – Deadline for claiming 14th April 2021

Claim for days in April 2021 – Deadline for claiming 15th May 2021

Claim for days in May 2021 – Deadline for claiming 14th June 2021

Claim for days in June 2021 – Deadline for claiming 14th July 2021

Claim for days in July 2021 – Deadline for claiming 16th August 2021

Claim for days in August 2021 – Deadline for claiming 14th September 2021

Claim for days in September 2021 – Deadline for claiming 14th October 2021

HMRC may accept a claim made after the relevant deadline if you had a reasonable excuse for failing to make a claim in time and you then claimed without delay after the excuse no longer applied.

HMRC will not consider reasonable excuses in advance of a claim deadline.

If you want to delete a claim in the online service, you must do this within 72 hours of starting it.

Job Retention Bonus Scrapped

Employers that furloughed their staff, but kept them on until the new year were expecting a £1,000 per furloughed employee bonus, in a bid to reduce the number of redundancies across the economy.

With furlough being extended until 31 March 2021, this bonus has now been cancelled, as employers are receiving furlough support instead.


NEW - Recovery Loan Scheme

The recovery loan scheme ensures businesses can access loans and other finance of up to £10m per business once existing COVID-19 loan schemes close.

The Government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender. The scheme launches on 6 April 2021 and is open until 31 December 2021.

Finance terms are up to six years for term loans and asset finance facilities and up to three years for overdrafts and invoice finance facilities.

No personal guarantees will be taken on facilities up to £250,000, and a borrower’s principal private residence cannot be taken as security. Businesses that have received support under existing COVID-19 guaranteed loan schemes will still be eligible to access this scheme.

You can apply to the scheme if Covid-19 has affected your business.

You can use the finance for any legitimate business purpose – including managing cashflow, investment and growth. However, you must be able to afford to take out additional debt finance for these purposes.

Accredited Lenders (as at 8th April 2021);


Arbuthnot Latham

Bank of Scotland

Barclays Bank

Clydesdale Bank

Danske Bank

Ebury UK




OakNorth Bank






Ulster Bank

Yorkshire Bank

Bounce Back Loans 'Pay as you grow scheme'

With the anniversary of the first bounce back loans being received fast approaching, businesses will soon be required to start repaying these loans, which then adds an extra headache to an already stretched economy.

So, Chancellor Rishi announced on 8th February a new extension to the bounce back scheme to help businesses delay repayments whilst they recover from the pandemic.

Known as the ‘pay as you grow’ scheme, it allows businesses to apply for repayment flexibilities, including the option to delay all repayments for a further 6 months, meaning businesses can choose not to make payments on their bounce back loans for the first 18 months.

This option will be available from month one, rather than after the first 6 months.

Pay as you grow also allows borrowers to extend the length of the loan from 6 years to 10 years, cutting the monthly repayment by almost half, and make interest only payments for the first 6 months (within the option to do this up to 3 times during the length of the loan), in order to tailor the repayment schedule to suit their individual circumstances.

Lenders are expected to offer this to all borrowers under the bounce back scheme, and correspondence will be received from lenders within 3 months of the first repayment.

Bounce Back Loans and CBILs deadline extended - ENDED

In a move to ensure firms can access the support they need through continuing economic disruption, Rishi Sunak also confirmed he would be extending the government-guaranteed Covid-19 business loan schemes until the end of March.

Businesses will be given until the end of March to access the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. These had been due to close at the end of January 2021

The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million.

The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months.


You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • has an annual turnover of up to £45 million

You need to show that your business:

  • would be viable were it not for the pandemic
  • has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus

If you want to borrow £30,000 or more, you also need to confirm that your business wasn’t classed as a business in difficulty on 31 December 2019.

Who cannot apply

Businesses from any sector can apply, except:

  • banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools

How long the loan is for

The maximum length of the facility depends on the type of finance you apply for and will be:

  • up to 3 years for overdrafts and invoice finance facilities
  • up to 6 years, for loans and asset finance facilities

How to apply

There are over 50 lenders participating in the scheme including all the main retail banks. You should approach a suitable lender yourself via the lender’s website.

You’ll need to tell the lender:

  • the amount you’d like to borrow
  • what the money is for
  • how long you’d like to pay it back

Supporting documents

You’ll need to provide documents that show you can afford to repay the loan.

These may include:

  • management accounts
  • cash flow forecast
  • business plan
  • historic accounts
  • details of assets

The documents required will vary from lender to lender and depend on how much you’re asking for. If you’re asking your existing lender for a small loan, the process may be automated and not require all of the documents.

The lender will check that the loan is:

  • for a suitable business purpose
  • affordable for you
  • the right type of finance for your needs

The lender will decide whether to offer you a loan or another type of finance and you’ll be responsible for repaying 100% of the amount borrowed.

Bounce Back Loans

The bounce back loan scheme was scheduled to finish on the 4th November, but was extended to the 31st March 2021.

The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000.

The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year.

Successor Loan Scheme

Further support will be offered to businesses past March 2021, including a new successor loan scheme – details of which will be released in due course (expected by 3rd March 2021 – budget day).

Bounce Back Loan 'Top Up' - ENDED

Bounce Back Loan ‘Top Up’

There’s now the option to ‘top up’ your bounce back loan. This applies to businesses that haven’t already borrowed the maximum amount allowed under the scheme (25% of total turnover), which is usually based on the 2019 calendar year, but new businesses can estimate.

This option can only be used once, and should be available from Monday 9 November provided lenders are ready.

The loans can now last for 10 yearsSo that’s a year interest-free and the rest at 2.5%. The loans were originally set up to last for six years, but this has now been extended to 10 – which the Government says could cut monthly repayments by almost half, though you will end up paying more interest.

However, you can repay at any time without paying a fee, which gives you flexibility – and of course, the sooner you repay once interest is charged, the smaller the overall cost.

You can now also take a payment holiday and/or interest-only periods of up to six months. This includes the option to:

  • Move to interest-only payments temporarily up to three times, with each interest-only period lasting up to six months, and/or
  • Take one payment holiday over the length of the loan, where you pause repayments entirely for up to six months. You can only use this option once you’ve made at least six payments (whether capital and interest or interest only).


NEW - Restart Grants

To support the recovery of the high street as Government trading restrictions are relaxed, the Chancellor has announced the one-off payment ‘Restart Grant’. This grant will replace the Local Restrictions Support Grant (CA/C) from April 2021 onwards (for eligible businesses).

Although guidance is expected soon, it is likely that this grant will be made available to qualifying High Street, Hospitality and Leisure businesses from w/c 12th April 2021 onwards and:

  • Non-essential retail businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, will receive a one-off grant of £2,667.
  • Non-essential retail businesses with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, will receive a one-off grant of £4,000.
  • Non-essential retail businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, will receive a one-off grant of £6,000.
  • Qualifying Hospitality and Leisure properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, will receive a one-off grant of £8,000.
  • Qualifying Hospitality and Leisure properties with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, will receive a one-off grant of £12,000.
  • Qualifying Hospitality and Leisure properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, will receive a one-off grant of £18,000.


Essential Open Business Support Grant

A grant for businesses with fixed costs that are allowed to stay open under the 5 January 2021 National Lockdown. The primary activity of the business must the sale of goods and services on a face to face basis.

To apply a business must meet all of the following:

  1. can evidence it was trading on 4 January 2021
  2. has annual fixed property costs (commercial rent/ mortgage or business rates)
  3. is in occupation and trading from the premises
  4. can show a significant loss of trade due to coronavirus restrictions
  5. must be an eligible business that:
  • have been allowed to remain open by government
  • the public are required to enter business premises to purchase goods and services
Examples of eligible businesses;
  1. food retailers, including food markets, supermarkets, convenience stores and corner shops. Includes fresh food retailers (such as butchers, bakers, greengrocers, fishmongers, and delicatessens)
  2. off licences and licenced shops selling alcohol
  3. pharmacies (including non-dispensing pharmacies) and chemists
  4. mobility and disability support shops
  5. newsagents
  6. builders merchants and suppliers of products and tools used in building work and repairs.
  7. garden centres and agricultural supplies shops
  8. veterinary surgeons, animal rescue centres, boarding facilities, and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals. Animal grooming facilities used for the purposes of an animal’s welfare (and not for aesthetic purposes)
  9. dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health
  10. banks, building societies, credit unions, short term loan providers, savings clubs, cash points currency exchange offices
  11. post offices
  12. funeral directors
  13. laundrettes and dry cleaners
  14. bicycle shops, vehicle repair and MOT services
  15. petrol stations and automatic car washes
  16. vehicle hire businesses and motorway service areas


The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • businesses in administration, insolvent or subject to a striking off notice
  • businesses that have already received a grant relating to the restrictions from 14 October 2020 to date
  • businesses that have been forced to close under the national restrictions
  • national chains
  • large companies
  • franchises
  • car parks
  • empty properties
  • residential properties
  • landlords
  • places of worship
  • businesses not capable of trading activity
  • businesses considered to have a detrimental impact on the city eg imposition or breach of statutory notice

How much is the grant worth?

There is one grant per eligible business property, and the amount received will depend on rent, mortgage or rateable value of the property;

Rent / fixed property costs of £1 – £15,000 = £1,400
Rent / fixed property costs of £15,001 – £50,999 = £2,100
Rent / fixed property costs over £51,000 = £3,150

It’s worth noting that not all local authorities are offering this grant yet, so keep an eye on your local council’s website in the meantime. 
Low and no fixed property costs grants

Low and no fixed property costs grants

A grant for businesses with no fixed property costs. They must operate in, or supply to, a sector forced to close since 14 Oct 2020


To apply, a business must meet all of the following:

  1. can evidence it was trading on 13 October 2020
  2. does not have a business rates account (for the no fixed property costs grant)
  3. have annual fixed property costs of £1,500 or less (or no property costs for the no fixed property cost grant)
  4. is in occupation and trading from the premises applying for
  5. can show a significant loss of trade due to coronavirus restrictions
  6. be an eligible business that:
    1. either was forced to close under the current national lockdown
    2. or mainly operates in the supply chain to sectors forced to closed under the national lockdown
  7. have a valid liability / professional indemnity insurance certificate (for the no fixed property costs grant only)

Eligible Businesses

Business who operate in or mainly supply to these sectors:

  • accommodation
  • entertainment venues
  • hospitality venues (including offering takeaway from premises closed to the public)
  • leisure and sports facilities
  • personal care facilities
  • retail (non-essential) (including those offering click and collect)


The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • businessess who have received £1,000 or more in the most recent payment from the Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
  • business that have already received a grant relating to restrictions from 13 October 2020
  • business in administration, insolvent or subject to striking off notice
  • businesses not forced to close and not in the supply chain
  • car parks
  • places of worship
  • businesses not capable of trading activity
  • businesses considered to have a detrimental impact on the city eg imposition or breach of a statutory notice

How much is the grant worth?

There is one grant per eligible business of £1,000, or £1,000 per eligible business property.

It’s worth noting that not all local authorities are offering this grant yet, so keep an eye on your local council’s website in the meantime. 

Top Up Grants for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

The chancellor has announced a further £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants. With this, it includes up to £9,000 per property to help businesses in the hospitality, retail and leisure industries that have been forced to close.

This is to help those affected businesses survive through to the Spring. 

The grants will be on a per property basis, not per business. 

£4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of under £15,000.

£6,000 for businesses with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000.

£9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000.

Sheffield Gov Grants page


Discretionary Grants for other impacted businesses

The chancellor has announced a further £594 million in new discretionary lockdown grants. How these will be awarded is at the discretion of local authorities and devolved administrations, and will be awarded to businesses not eligible for the other grants, but are affected by the Lockdown. 

Businesses should apply to their local authorities when the criteria has been updated.

Discretionary Grants Portal


Supply chain business support grant - Sheffield Businesses

The supply chain business support grant is available for Sheffield business whose main activity is in the supply industry. They must supply hospitality, accommodation, leisure and entertainment sectors with goods or services.


To apply, a business must meet all of the following:

  1. the business/property must be located in Sheffield (including storage facillities)
  2. have minimum fixed property costs (rent, mortgage or rateable value – see table below)
  3. was open and trading on 13 October 2020
  4. must be in occupation and trading from the premises applying for
  5. can show a significant loss of trade due to local and national restrictions
  6. can show the majority of their business activity is supplying to the eligible sectors:
  • hospitality
  • accommodation
  • leisure
  • entertainment

Here are some examples of eligible business types;

  • Cleaning companies
  • Coach Hire
  • Event Stewards
  • Florists
  • Fun Fair Suppliers
  • Laundrettes
  • Ticketing companies
  • Tour Operators
  • Venue services (catering, linen, marquees etc)
  • Wedding suppliers

The grant is based on the rateable value of your premises – so you’ll need premises and be registered with the Sheffield Council for business rates to be applicable.



Supply Chain Grant Portal


Discretionary lockdown business support grant - Sheffield Businesses

The discretionary lockdown business support grant is available for Sheffield business that were forced to close during the tier 3 restrictions and/or the second national lockdown.





To apply, a business must meet all of the following:

  1. is not registered for business rates
  2. can evidence it was open and trading on 13 October 2020
  3. must be in ocupation and trading from the premises applying for
  4. was providing services in person to customers from the premises
  5. must be one of the following businesses who chose or were forced to close:

Forced to close on 5 November 2020 (second national lockdown)

  • accommodation
  • entertainment venues
  • hospitality venues
  • leisure and sports facilities
  • personal care facilities
  • retail (non-essential)
  • community halls offering space for hire

Forced to close on 23 October 2020 (tier 3 local restrictions)

  • pubs, bars and licensed premises (who do not serve substantial meals)
  • casinos
  • betting shops
  • adult gaming centres
  • soft play centres

Chose to close after 14 October 2020 before they were forced to close

  • accommodation
  • hospitality venues
  • leisure and sports facilities

This grant is for businesses that are non rate payers (they have no official business premises registered for business rates).

Discretionary Lockdown Grant Portal


Sheffield City Region investing for growth fund

The Sheffield City Region investing for growth fund is focused on existing organisations based and/or substantially operating in the Sheffield City Region (SCR), which comprises Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield, who are looking to grow their trading activity.

In terms of support, eligible organisations can access some or all of the following:

  • One to one growth support – business plan review and feedback, financial model analysis etc
  • One to many growth support – workshops and masterclasses
  • Growth grants – for capital expenditure from £5k to £25k

Applications will be made via an application portal and then assessed for support needs.

Are you eligible?

  • Activity to be supported/grant funded must be in the SCR.
  • Support/grant funding must be focused on business growth/development.
  • Applicant must have clear social aims and objectives, and fit one of the following descriptions:
    • Not for private profit
    • Asset locked
    • Have clear policies or restrictions around profit distribution (at least 51% of profits reinvested for social aims and objectives)
  • Must meet SME definition – less than 250 employees, turnover of less than E50m and assets of less than E43m.
  • Can only support existing social enterprises that have been trading for over 1 year.
  • Grants can only be used to cover capital costs.
  • Must be financially stable (solvent).
  • Must qualify for grant under de minimis – have received less than E200k in the last three years.
  • Must have relevant insurance, permissions and policies in place (particularly when working with vulnerable people- children, disabled people, older people, people with mental health challenges etc.).

SCR Investing for Growth Application


Additional grants available


Local Restriction Support Grant

Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under, grants available of £1,334 per month, or £667 every 2 weeks.
  • For properties with a rateable value between £15,000 and £50,999, grants available of £2,000 per month, or £1,000 every 2 weeks.
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51,000 and over, grants available of £3,000 per month, or £1,500 every 2 weeks.

These grants are known as ‘Local Restrictions Support Grants’, and will be paid out via your local authorities, much like the original coronavirus grants.

Sheffield Council – Grant Claim

Rotherham Council – Grant Claim

Doncaster Council – Grant Claim

Barnsley Council – Grant Claim


One off ‘per head’ grant payments

Also, £1.1billion is being given to Local Authorities, distributed on the basis of £20 per head, for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses more broadly.

Self Employed Support

NEW - SEISS Extension to September 2021

At the 2021 Budget, it was announced that the fourth SEISS grant will be set at 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment, capped at £7,500.

The fourth grant will take into account 2019 to 2020 tax returns and will be open to those who became self-employed in tax year 2019 to 2020. The rest of the eligibility criteria remain unchanged.

The UK government has also announced that there will be a fifth and final grant covering May to September.

You will be able to claim from late July if you are eligible for the fifth grant.

The amount of the fifth grant will be determined by how much your turnover has been reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021.

The fifth grant will be worth:

  • 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500, for those with a turnover reduction of 30% or more,
  • 30% of 3 months’ average trading profits, capped at £2,850, for those with a turnover reduction of less than 30%
    Further details will be provided on the fifth grant in due course.

Your eligibility for the scheme will now be based on your submitted 2019 to 2020 tax return. This may also affect the amount of the fourth grant which could be higher or lower than previous grants you may have received.

Who can claim

To be eligible for the fourth grant you must be a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership.

To work out your eligibility the HMRC will first look at your 2019 to 2020 Self Assessment tax return. Your trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and at least equal to your non-trading income.

If you’re not eligible based on your 2019 to 2020 Self Assessment tax return, the HMRC will then look at the tax years 2016 to 2017, 2017 to 2018, 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020.

You must also have traded in both tax years:

  • 2019 to 2020 and submitted your tax return by 2 March 2021
  • 2020 to 2021

You must either:

  • be currently trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus
  • have been trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus

You must also declare that:

  • you intend to continue to trade
  • you reasonably believe there will be a significant reduction in your trading profits due to reduced business activity, capacity, demand or inability to trade due to coronavirus.

How to claim

To allow the HMRC to process recently submitted 2019 to 2020 Self Assessment tax returns, the online claims service for the fourth grant will be available from late April 2021 until 31 May 2021.

If you are eligible, HMRC will contact you in mid-April to give you your personal claim date. This will be the date that you can make your claim from.

There will be more guidance about the fourth grant in due course.

Claimed SEISS in error? – We’ve got you covered, read our blog all about claiming SEISS in error and what to do. 

SEISS Extension to 31 March 2021

The self employed income support grant (SEISS) has been extended further in line with the additional furlough support, allowing the self employed to claim 80% of their average trading profits up to a total of £7,500 for the three months to 31 January 2021.

The same claim process will be in place, and the portal will open from 30th November 2020.

SEISS Portal Guidance


Homeowner & Landlord Support

NEW - Stamp Duty Holiday Extended

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the stamp duty holiday until the end of June 2021 – and ruled it will then be tapered until the end of September.

The extended stamp duty holiday means that no tax will be levied on the first £500,000 of property purchases in England and Northern Ireland until June 30.

From June 30 until September 30, tapering will mean no stamp duty will be charged on a residential property bought for up to £250,000.

NEW - Mortgage Guarantee Scheme

The government has announced a new mortgage guarantee scheme to support a new generation of people wanting to join the housing ladder, but have seen their earnings impacted by COVID19.

This will increase the availability of 95% Loan-to-value mortgage products, enabling more households to access mortgages without the need for large deposits.

The document’s first section introduces high loan to value mortgage lending and the role of the mortgage guarantee scheme, the second section gives an overview of trends in high loan to value lending and the third section outlines how the new mortgage guarantee scheme will work.

Mortgage holidays extended

Mortgage payment holidays will no longer end at the end of October.

Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file.

The FCA will announce further information on Monday 2nd November.

VAT & Other Taxes

NEW - Business Rates Relief extended

As announced at the Budget on 3 March 2021 by the Chancellor, the government will continue to provide eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England with 100% business rates relief from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.

This will be followed by a partial relief of 66% business rates relief for the period from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, capped at £2 million per business for properties that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021, or £105,000 per business for other eligible properties.

NEW - 5% VAT Cut Extended again

The government’s VAT cut to help the hospitality sector during the coronavirus crisis is to be extended for another six months to 30 September 2021.

The cut to 5% was due to finish on the 13th January, but to support the sectors most at risk if the second wave takes hold, the decision was taken to extend this in the Budget 2021.

As a consumer, you may see that 5% cut being passed on, but businesses are not legally required to pass this on, so some will inevitably use the saving to support their business.

From October 2021, the VAT rate will increase to 12.5% until April 2022, with a return to 20% from April 2022.

Deferred VAT Repayment Options

If you deferred VAT payments due between 20th March and 30th June 2020 and still have payments to make, you can:

You may be charged interest or a penalty if you do not:

  • pay the deferred VAT in full by 31 March 2021
  • opt into the new payment scheme by 21 June 2021
  • agree extra help to pay with HMRC by 30 June 2021

If you want to join the new scheme

The VAT deferral new payment scheme will be open from 23 February up to and including 21 June 2021.

If you’re on the VAT Annual Accounting Scheme or the VAT Payment on Account Scheme, you’ll be invited to join the new payment scheme later in March 2021.

The new scheme lets you:

  • pay your deferred VAT in equal instalments, interest free
  • choose the number of instalments, from 2 to 11 (depending on when you join)

To use the online service, you must:

  • join the scheme yourself (we can’t do this for you – we’re not allowed!)
  • still have deferred VAT to pay
  • be up to date with your VAT returns
  • join by 21 June 2021
  • pay the first instalment when you join
  • pay your instalments by Direct Debit (if want to use the scheme but cannot pay by Direct Debit, there’s an alternative entry route for you)

If you join the scheme, you can still have a ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement for other HMRC debts and outstanding tax.

How many payments do I need to make?

The month you decide to join the scheme will determine the maximum number of instalments that are available to you. If you join the scheme in March, you’ll be able to pay your deferred VAT in 11 instalments or fewer, April will be 10 instalments etc.

The table below sets out the monthly joining deadlines (to allow for Direct Debit processing) and the corresponding number of maximum instalments (including the first payment):

If you join by 19th March 2021, you’ll have 11 instalments available to you

If you join by 21st April 2021, you’ll have 10 instalments available to you

If you join by 19th May 2021, you’ll have 9 instalments available to you

If you join by 21st June 2021, you’ll have 8 instalments available to you

VAT Deferral Payments - extended

Half a million businesses who deferred their VAT bills at the beginning of the pandemic will be given extra time to pay back the VAT bill.

The ‘New Payment Scheme’, which gives businesses the option to pay back in smaller instalments will be launched, and rather than paying a lump sum in full at the end March 2021,  they will be able to make 11 smaller interest-free payments during the 2021-22 financial year.

Income tax payment deadline - extended

Back at the peak of the pandemic, it was announced that taxpayers who were required to make payments on account towards their tax bill in July 2020 would be able to defer the payment to 31 January 2021.

Self-assessment taxpayers will now be able to benefit from a separate additional 12-month extension from HMRC on the “Time to Pay” self-service facility, meaning payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.

Whilst this is a good short term cash saving exercise, we must stress that if payment is left until January 2022, you will have two years worth of tax to pay, so cash flow planning is essential. 

Section 1 – Support for Businesses (announced March 2020)

The Government acted swiftly with regards to a number of means to maintain cashflow for all UK businesses, and give them more time to file key information. These include:

  • 12-month business rates holidays for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England. The same sectors will also be eligible for grant funding of £25,000 for businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • Small business grants of £10,000 for all in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief.
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme for SMEs.
  • Bounce-back loans for small businesses.
  • COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility for larger businesses.
COVID-19 business support
COVID-19 support hospitality & leisure businesses
Click here for more information

Business Rates Holiday – for Retail, Hospitality, Leisure and Nurseries

  • Your business must be based in England
  • Your business must be in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector
  • Your property must be occupied

And your property must be in use as one of the following:

  • shop, restaurant, cafe, drinking establishment, cinema and live music venue
  • for assembly and leisure
  • for hospitality, as hotels, guest & boarding premises or self-catering accommodation
  • a children’s nursery

Your local authority will re-bill you in the coming weeks to include this support (where applicable).

More information here:


Grants for businesses

Grants are not loans from the government – they are payments made to support a business, and are not repayable. It is worth noting that grants are taxable, so you may have additional tax to pay on this money.


The Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure Grant Scheme – Now Closed

  • Cash grants of up to £25,000 per property are to be provided for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.
  • Grants for properties with rateable value of up to £15,000 are worth £10,000.
  • Grants for properties with a rateable value of between £15,000 and less than £51,000 are worth £25,000.

You are eligible for the grant if:

  • your business is based in England
  • your business is in the retail, hospitality, leisure or nursery sector
  • your business has a rateable value of under £51,000 – you’ll find this on your business rates bill, or by going to your local authority website and searching their register.

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


Small Business Grant Scheme funding – Now Closed

Small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief will be provided with a one-off grant of £10,000 to help businesses keep pay for their costs.

To receive this:

  • your business must be based in England
  • you must be a business that occupies property
  • you must be receiving small business rate relief or rural rate relief as of 11 March

What if I can’t pay my commercial rent but I am not eligible for a grant?

The Government have clearly stated that commercial tenants who are unable to pay their rent due to COVID-19 will be protected from eviction.

Currently this applies up to 30th June 2020 however there is an option to extend this if it’s needed.

Please note you will still owe your rent when the period has been deemed over. It is important that you talk to your landlord to make sure you are both fully aware of your arrangements.


Local Council Discretionary Grant Funding – Now Closed

This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs.

Local authorities are being asked to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates, but have otherwise been left out of the initial grant funding options.

As this is dependant on each local authority, they may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need, and will vary between councils.

Businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.

There will be three levels of grant payments, with the maximum being £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000 and local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. It will be for councils to adapt this approach to local circumstances.


Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Loans are being made available to all small and medium sized businesses (SME’s) for up to £5m.

The Government will provide lenders with an 80% guarantee subject to a per-lender cap. Neither businesses nor banks will be charged for this guarantee.

The ‘loans’ include access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years.

The first 12 months will be interest free 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. 40 accredited lenders are able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks.

You can apply if:

  • your business is UK based, with turnover of no more than £45 million per year
  • your business meets the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria
  • your application is for business purposes
  • your businesses generates more than 50% of its turnover from trading activity

The scheme is now open for applications. All major banks are offering this scheme and have information on their websites. Likewise you can learn more on the British Business Bank website here

For anyone with any existing commitment, please do talk to your lenders and ask for a repayment holiday to help with your cash flow.

Different lenders will have different minimum loan amounts and will judge the effect of COVID19 on your business, before allowing you access to these loans. If your business is not negatively impacted by COVID19, it is likely that they will offer you standard lending options instead.


Bounce Back Loans 

The ‘Bounce Back’ loan scheme is 100% government backed, giving small businesses quicker access to funding to help them stay afloat during the COVID19 crisis.

Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000, and will be able to access the funding within days.

The scheme is designed to ensure small businesses (not just companies) who need a vital cash injection to keep operating can get finance in a matter of days.

These loans will be interest and payment free for the first 12 months, and interest fixed at 2.5% for the life of the loan, which is set at 6 years (72 months). Early repayment penalties will not apply, so you can repay the loan back quicker, and no personal guarantees are permitted, meaning your home is safe from any recovery measures taken by the banks to recover any unpaid amounts.

This scheme is available now (from 4th May 2020), and typically the application process is through an online form with your bank.

Here’s a list of accredited lenders, and the links needed to access their application process;



Bank of Scotland



Clydesdale Bank

Danske Bank

Ulster Bank



Yorkshire Bank

Starling Bank


The Co-Operative Bank

Bank of Ireland UK

Skipton Business Finance – only available alongside an invoice finance facility



Other High Street and Fintech banks are expected to join the list soon.

List correct as at 3pm 19th May 2020.


COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

The Bank of England has pledged to buy short term debt from larger companies. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.

Providing you are not a financial company, if you meet the criteria set out on the Bank of England’s website you will be eligible. Find out more here


Corona Job Retention Scheme (‘Furlough’) – Employee Salary Support

To prevent job losses during to the COVID-19 outbreak the Government has stepped in with a series of grants to help pay salaries, initially for a 3 month period, but this has been extended to October 2020, with talk of part time return to work being added to the scheme, and employers being asked to contribute to workers pay. We’ll know more about this as the government releases more information.

The scheme is open for claims, and can be done through your PAYE portal on the HMRC website.

The grant will start on the day the employee was placed on furlough, which can be backdated to 1st March 2020.

Up to 80% of an individual’s monthly salary will be paid through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.

This is taxable income.

Here’s some key questions we’ve already had;

What does furloughed mean?

  • Simply put, it’s if you allow someone to be absent from work for a period of time.

Is the government going to pay my employees for me?

  • The government won’t subsidise 80% of your team costs while they work for you. It’s only for people who you would normally make redundant in any other situation. They are in effect on ‘garden leave’ and should not be doing any work during the ‘furloughed’ period.

Can they do some odd jobs for me whilst being “furloughed”?

  • Absolutely not!

Can they go part time and benefit from this?

  • They can’t lift a finger. We are looking at whether it would be sensible to make some of your staff full time and put others on furlough leave.

Who qualifies?

  • Anyone on payroll at 29 February 2020.

How do you work out what they get 80% of?

  • We are not sure yet but it could be an average of salary paid in the previous 3 months (and may or may not include overtime paid in the period).

Can we alter February’s payroll to increase the salary paid?

  • No. HMRC will have reports of the February payroll and you can expect serious questions if this is done to take unfair advantage of the scheme and is likely to be considered fraud.


  • Employees must have been on the company payroll on 28th February 2020.
  • You can be on any type of contract, including a zero-hour contract or a temporary contract.
  • An employer and employee both have to be in agreement.
  • You cannot undertake work for your employer while on furlough.
  • Employees can not apply for the scheme.
  • Any UK employer with a UK bank account will be able to claim.

This scheme does not apply to any income from self-employment.

Further updates to the Furlough scheme announced on 28th May 2020;

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a series of changes to the Government’s furlough scheme on Friday 29th May including workers being able to go back part-time from July.

Currently, the state pays 80% of furloughed staff salaries, up to £2,500/month, and your employees cannot work for your business whilst on furlough. Nothing changes here until 30 June 2020.

From 1st July 2020 – From Wednesday 1 July, businesses using the Government’s furlough scheme will be able to bring furloughed employees back part-time. Even if they don’t, the Government will continue to pay 80% of staff salaries during June and July.

From August 2020 – who pays for the 80% pay will change slightly. The amount the state pays will be reduced each month until October 2020, with employers expected to contribute towards furloughed employees’ employment costs. The scheme will come to an end on 31 October 2020, as previously announced.

August – The state will pay 80% of furloughed staff wages (capped at £2,500 per staff member), but not the employer national insurance and pension contributions.

September – The state will pay 70% of furloughed staff wages (capped at £2,190 per staff member), but not the employer national insurance and pension contributions. Employers will need to pay the 10% to top it up to 80%. The total wage per employee is still capped at £2,500. 

October – The state will pay 60% of furloughed staff wages (capped at £1,875 per staff member), but not the employer national insurance and pension contributions. Employers will need to pay the 20% to top it up to 80%. The total wage per employee is still capped at £2,500. 

It’s worth noting as well that the scheme will close to new entrants on 10 June 2020 – so if you haven’t furloughed a staff member by then, you won’t be able to access the scheme and put your staff on furlough later.


Sick leave

You can be furloughed after a period of sick leave. You should get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) while you are on sick leave or self-isolating, but can be furloughed after this.

If you currently have more than one employer

You can be put on furlough by one employer and continue to work for another. You must check the terms of your employment contract to guarantee this.

If both jobs become furlough you will receive separate payments from each employer. The 80% of your normal wage up to a £2,500 monthly cap applies to each job.

Universal Credit

Please check how a change in your income will affect your Universal Credit payments. – read more

If you are on Maternity Leave, contractual adoption pay, paternity pay or shared parental pay

If you are eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance, normal rules apply.

Click here for more information - 'Mini Budget 8th July Update'

On Wednesday 8th July, Rishi Sunak announced a £30 billion investment in the economy.

Here’s what we know;


Part 1 – Jobs


New Job Retention Bonus

Employers who bring back employees from Furlough and keep them employed until at least January 2021 will be paid a bonus of £1,000 per employee.

Employees must be paid a minimum of £520 average pay per month between November – January 2021 to qualify. 

This will be paid in January 2021.


Kickstart Scheme

Employers will be paid to employ 16 to 24 year olds on a minimum 25 hours a week. These employees must be paid at least minimum wage.

The government will pay 6 months wages plus an undisclosed amount towards overheads. Employers must apply to be part of the scheme which is set to start in the Autumn.


Other Subsidies

£1,000 to employers to take on young trainees (level 2 & 3 qualification)

£2,000 to employers to make new apprenticeships for 16-24 year olds.

£1,500 to employers to make new apprenticeships for 25 years plus.



Part 2 – Investing in Infrastructure



£2 billion Green Homes Grant

Beginning in September 2020 (up to £5,000 per household). These will apply to homeowners and landlords, and will be given in vouchers.

These vouchers will be for green home energy efficiency measures including double & triple glazing, boilers and insulation, and will cover two thirds of the costs.

For low income households, a grant of up to £10,000 will be available covering 100% of these costs.


Cut to stamp duty

The government has raised the stamp duty threshold in England and Northern Ireland to £500,000 until 31 March 2021.

Previously, stamp duty kicked in at £125,000 (or £300,000 for first-time buyers), meaning people moving home later this year can make significant savings. The change will also help people buying properties costing more than £500,000.

As stamp duty is tiered, they will pay nothing on the first £500,000 and then normal rates on anything above that.

The government says the temporary move will mean nine out of 10 people buying a home this year won’t need to pay any stamp duty at all.


Part 3 – Protecting Jobs in Hospitality & Tourism Industries




VAT will be cut (beginning on 15th July) to 5% in the hospitality and tourism sectors including but not limited to Cinemas, Theme Parks, Cafes, Restaurants, Hotels and Holiday Parks.

The VAT cut will cover food and soft drinks (not alcohol), and applies to both eat in and takeaway businesses.

This will run until 12th January 2021.


Eat Out to Help Out Discount

Meals eaten at participating restaurants & pubs in August (Monday – Wednesday) will be 50% off up to £10 per head including Children.

Funds will be repaid to businesses within 5 days, and businesses must sign up to the scheme to participate.

Section 2 – Support for the Self Employed – (announced March 2020)

On Thursday 26th March the Government made their announcement with regards to package of measures for people who are self-employed. They have determined that this package will provide support for 95% of self-employed people.
COVID-19 support for self-employed
Click here for more information

 How do I know if I’m self-employed?

Being self-employed can be determined as follows:

  1. If you run your business and are responsible for its success or failure.
  2. You are not paid through PAYE
  3. You don’t have the employment rights and responsibilities of employees.

The Government support is NOT available for Directors. Directors will be expected utilise the Job Retention Scheme (link) to declare themselves Furloughed. To do this you must be unable to carry out any work duties apart from general administrative duties (payroll, filing accounts, emails etc) for the business and the business must not be generating income during this time. This also prohibits directors from undertaking marketing activities during this time.

The following measures are available to:

  • those with average profits of £50k or less
  • those who make the majority of their income from self employment
  • only those already registered as self-employed and who submitted a tax return for 2018-19.

They are unable to provide this package to anyone who only recently started trading i.e. has not yet submitted a tax return before the extended deadline of 23rd April 2020.

This is because their package will be calculated in the following way:

Your support payment will be a taxable grant for 80% of your average monthly trading profits (not sales), based on the last 3 years’ tax returns (or up to 3 if you have been trading for 1-3 years.

This will be paid in a single payment, initially covering 3 months (1st March to 31st May), and capped at £7,500 (£2,500 per month).

The online portal for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has now closed for the first claim period. 

We have also written a blog to walk you through how to make a claim, step by step. Click here to access the blog.

Once your claim has been approved, your payment will be received within 6 working days into your nominated bank account.

It is important you are fully aware that these grant payments will be subject to income tax and national insurance deductions.

It is also important to note that you can receive this grant and still work, start a new trade or take other employment including voluntary work, armed forces or reservist roles.

If you’re unsure whether you’ll be able to receive this support, you can also check your eligibility here.

Further SEISS changes announced on 28th May 2020;

The SEISS will be extended with those eligible able to claim a second and final grant in August 2020.

The extra grant will be worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total, with the eligibility criteria remaining the same for both grants.

You can make a claim for the second SEISS grant even if you didn’t claim for the first grant. 

Applications for the second and final grant will open on 17th August 2020. 


For those who are not eligible or who need money before August

For those struggling now, you can access the business interruption loans, defer your income tax payment from July to January 2021, and you can now access Universal Credit in full.

If you apply for Universal Credit, as standard the process takes 5 weeks but you can get an emergency payment upfront within 10 days. This is available to apply for now.

Apply for Universal Credit

Section 3 – Tax Payments – (announced March 2020)

The HMRC have setup a dedicated helpline to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities to receive support with their tax issues.

By contacting this dedicated line, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement, which will help defer tax payments for businesses, and individuals – this will be done on a case by case basis, so not everyone will receive the same deferral period.

If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Click here for more information

Deferred VAT and Income Tax payments


Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments will be deferred for 3 months from 20th March 2020 until 30th June 2020.

All UK businesses are eligible.

This is an automatic offer. You do not need to apply to HMRC.

Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. 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. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

  • Your VAT returns must be filed by the normal due date, it is the payment that is deferred.
  • You can reclaim VAT if you are on the standard VAT scheme as normal
  • All VAT refunds should be paid by HMRC as per the usual process

We recommend you cancel your VAT direct debit before the deadline, as this is an automatic process that the HMRC won’t cancel, so your payment will automatically be collected otherwise.

Income Tax

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.

If you are self-employed you are eligible.

This is an automatic offer. You do not need to apply to HMRC.

No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

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 Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities.

  • No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.
  • 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.

I am a Director, what support can I claim?
The Government have announced several measures to support UK businesses. As at 27th March 2020, this is what we understand for anyone recorded as a Director of an active company:

The measures that were announced on 26th March 2020 for sole traders and partnerships (self-employed) do not apply to anyone who is a Director.

Your Income

If you are a Director of a company that is not able to generate income during this period, and there is no work that you can carry out in the business, you are eligible for the Job Retention Scheme.

Under the Job Retention Scheme, you can designate yourself a ‘furlough’ employee, if you satisfy the statements above, to give you access to the support being offered.

Furlough leave

As employers can claim back up to 80% of employee wages under the Job Retention Scheme, so too can Directors for their own income.

The purpose is to allow all UK employers to access financial support to continue paying salaries for those employees who otherwise might have been let go in the crisis.

All UK businesses are eligible.

HMRC will reimburse up to 80% of Furloughed workers wage costs up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

HMRC are setting up a portal for claims. When it is available, we will update you with more information.

Section 4 – Mortgages and borrowing support – (announced March 2020)

Banks have agreed with the Chancellor that they will offer help with anyone with a mortgage.
Banks can make a voluntary agreement for a three-month payment break. Banks are also offering missed payment waivers and reduced payments. Most banks have advised that mortgage holidays will increase future monthly payments rather than extend the term of the mortgage.
We recommend you call your mortgage provider to see what they can offer, as each bank’s arrangement will be different.

Section 5 – Payroll Support & HR – (announced March 2020)

The system for reporting the furloughing of employees is currently being built by the government, and we’re awaiting more information as to when this will be available.

Once the system is up and running, the government will begin to release the payments of 80% of furloughed employees wages.

To help protect businesses against the impact of COVID-19, small and medium-sized businesses (with less than 250 employees) will have the costs of SSP for any employee off work because of COVID-19 for up to 14 days refunded by the Government in full.

To keep on top of your HR needs we have teamed up with RED OWL HR Consultancy, Jo Roy can help you with the ever changing world of human resources & guide you through all the new terminology.

COVID-19 employers support
COVID-19 employee support

Section 6 – How we can help you further

It is important to take some time to think rationally, and not to make irrational decisions. You cannot make important decisions when your brain is dealing with the stress hormone and your emotions.

We can help you.

Cashflow planning – it is important to look at your cashflow, and to make a plan. This may aid you when applying for any funding from your bank, as they will want to see what impact COVID19 has had on your business’s finances.

We can look at what costs you’ve got that could be cut in the short term whilst your business is not running, and what to prioritise. Here is a blog form Float (Cash flow forecasting app) A 6 step guide to help you with cash flow through COVID-19.

Blogs – our blogs are packed with advice for a range of different areas – we strongly suggest you have a read.

Idea planning – how can we help you diversify your business? Now is the time to think about alternative income generating methods to make the best use of your situation. Here is a recent newsletter we sent out for ideas.

We can help you. Get in touch.

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