Funding sources for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic

Blogs 24 Feb 2021

National grants and schemes available to small businesses and the self-employed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This content was last reviewed 24 February 2021.

FSB has called for a five-point support plan for small firms impacted by the latest wave of COVID-19 restrictions.

➡️ Small business cash grants
➡️ German-style Revenue Replacement Scheme
➡️ Directors Income Support Scheme
➡️ Help for newly self-employed
➡️ Emergency loans extension


This guide contains information regarding national grants and schemes available to small businesses and the self-employed.

Grants and funding are also available at local authority level to help support businesses through the COVID-19 crisis. To find out what help and support is available in your area, we strongly recommend you contact your local council.

This information is updated regularly and is correct to the date shown above. We always recommend checking with your Local Authority for sources of local funding in addition to those mentioned here. 

FSB members should log into their dashboard to find details of their local FSB contacts, who can outline local support available.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Deadline: Extended until April 2021 
Available in: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will now remain open until April 2021. Read our update to furlough to learn more.

The Government will pay at least 80 per cent of employee wages up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. Employers will be required to pay the National Insurance and pension contributions for each employee. 

Claims for January 2020 must be made by 14 February 2021. You can no longer submit claims for claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.


Job Support Scheme

Starts: May 2021 (expected)
Available in: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

Read our guide to frequently asked questions about the Job Support Scheme.

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) will now not be introduced until the CJRS scheme ends. 

This will follow the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme. The Government will support employers with wages, allowing employees to work shorter hours rather than being made redundant. 

The Chancellor also announced that the Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions.

There are two types of support available for businesses to help cover employment costs.

  • JSS Open – if your business is operating but facing decreased demand.
  • JSS Closed – if you’re legally required to close as a direct result of coronavirus restrictions in the UK.
  • All SMEs are eligible, even if you haven’t used the furlough scheme.

The Job Retention Bonus

Starts: Unconfirmed.
Available in: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

The Job Retention Bonus was announced as part of the ‘plan for jobs’ announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak in July 2020.

The bonus will now not be paid in February, and a retention incentive will be redeployed at the appropriate time. 


Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

Deadline: 30 April 2021
Available in: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme has been extended to 30 April 2021. The grant extension is for self-employed individuals who are currently eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and are actively continuing to trade but are facing reduced demand due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The extension will provide two grants and will last for six months, from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in two lump sum installments each covering a three-month period.

The first grant will cover a three-month period from the start of November until the end of January. HMRC will provide a taxable grant covering 80 per cent of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single installment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is open to those who are self-employed or a member of a partnership that has been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

To claim you must:

  • Have been previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (Even if you did not claim)
  • Be currently actively trading and intending to continue to trade but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus
  • Have been unable to trade due to the impact of coronavirus
  • Reasonably believe there will be a significant reduction in your trading profits due to reduced demand or your inability to trade. If you’re unsure, the Government website outlines example scenarios.

Limited companies or trusts cannot claim the grant. The Government has extensive advice on eligibility for the scheme which includes an eligibility checker on their website.

Claims for the third SEISS grant have now closed. The last date for making a claim for the third grant was 29 January 2021.

Details about the fourth grant are expected on 3 March 2021.


Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

Deadline: 31 March 2021
Available in: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

Businesses who have borrowed less than their maximum will be able to top-up their existing loan. 

If you meet the following criteria: 

  • UK based business
  • Negatively impacted by coronavirus
  • Existed by 1 March 2020
  • Not ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019
  • Have a tax return or business tax account

You may be eligible for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, which allows SMEs to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.

 However, the following businesses are exempt:

  • Insurer or re-insurer (but not insurance broker)
  • Bank
  • Public-sector body
  • Grant-funded further education establishment
  • State-funded primary and secondary school

Loans are capped at 25% of turnover, but there is no turnover limit. The government will guarantee 100% of the loan, with no fees or interest in the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 10 years, and no repayments will be due in the first 12 months. If you do decide to pay back in the first year, there is no penalty.

The Pay As You Grow scheme will extend repayments of the Bounce Back Loan.

On 8 February 2021, it was announced that the Pay as You Grow repayment scheme now includes the option to delay all repayments for a further six months, with the option to pause repayments from the first repayment, rather than after six. 

  • Extended loan terms are estimated to halve the average monthly repayment
  • Option to extend the length of the loan from six years to ten
  • The option of interest-only repayments for six months, up to three times throughout the loan
  • No impact on credit rating
  • Option to pause repayments entirely for up to six months

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) 

Deadline: 31 March 2021
Available in: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

Read our guide on applying for a CBILS loan and check the CBILS eligibility criteria before you apply online.

What is it?

  • A loan from £50,001 to £5 million, for businesses with 2 to 3 years of trading history.
  • Interest and fees will be covered by the government for the first 12 months.
  • A decision typically in 24 hours from submission of relevant documents.
  • Rates between 1.4% - 8.9% APR, no penalty for early repayment.

What you'll need:

  • Last 2 years filed company accounts.
  • Up to date management accounts.
  • Last 3-6 months business bank statements.
  • Clear purpose for the borrowing.

FSB Funding Platform is supporting FSB members in finding business finance from the UK’s largest panel of funding providers, including CBILS loans.


VAT Deferral Payments Scheme

Deadline: 21 June 2021 
Available in: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

If you deferred VAT payments between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, you can either:

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 to extra help to pay with HMRC by 30 June 2021

To prepare for the scheme, you must:

  • create your own Government Gateway account if you don’t already have one
  • submit any outstanding VAT returns from the last 4 years. You will not be able to join the scheme if you have not done so
  • correct errors on your VAT returns as soon as possible. Corrections received after 31 December 2020 may not show in your deferred VAT balance
  • make sure you know how much you owe, including the amount you originally deferred and how much you may have already paid

Deferral of Self Assessment payments on account

Deadline: TBC
Available in: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

Self-assessed income taxpayers can spread their outstanding tax payments over a 12-month period from January 2021. Payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.

If you owe less than £10,000, you might be able to set up a Time to Pay Arrangement online. This lets you pay your Self Assessment tax bill in installments.

We will update this entry when further details are published. 


Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

Deadline: Not yet announced
Available in: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

If you’re an employer, you may be able to use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees’ coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

The repayment will cover up to two weeks, starting from the first day of sickness due to COVID-19. The scheme can be used if you had a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020, and you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020.

Check if you are eligible.


Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG)

Deadline: To be confirmed
Available in: Check with your local authority

On 5 January 2021, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak announced new lockdown grants of up to £9,000 per property to support retail, hospitality and leisure businesses forced to close in England, as well as additional funds for devolved administrations. This is in addition to the Local Restrictions Support Grants. This funding will be administered by Local Authorities.

  • £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

Contact your local authority for further information.

The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) supports businesses that were open as usual but were then required to close due to local lockdown restrictions imposed by the government as well as businesses that are still open but have been severely impacted by the lockdown. These grants are administered by local authorities. 

For businesses who are closed due to restrictions: LRSG (Closed)

Businesses who have been required to close due to local or national restrictions may be entitled to LRSG (Closed). The grant will be based on the rateable value of the property on the first full day of restrictions. 

  • If your business has a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £667 for each 14 day period your business is closed.
  • If your business has a property with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £1,000 for each 14 day period your business is closed.
  • If your business has a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £1,500 for each 14 day period your business is closed.

Read the government guidance and eligibility criteria

Find your local authority and apply for the grant

For businesses who are open but have been severely restricted due to local or national restrictions: LRSG (Open)

Businesses that have not had to close but which have been severely impacted due to local restrictions or national lockdowns may be eligible for LRSG (Open).

  • If your business has a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, you may be eligible for a cash grant of up to £934 for each 28 day period.
  • If your business has a property with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, you may be eligible for a cash grant of up to £1,400 for each 28 day period.
  • If your business has a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, you may be eligible for a cash grant of up to £2,100 for each 28 day period.

Read the government guidance and eligibility criteria

Find your local authority and apply for the grant

For businesses who have been unable to re-open since the national restrictions introduced in March 2020: LRSG (Sector)

This grant is only for those businesses which have not yet been permitted to re-open.

  • If your business has a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £667 for each 14 day period your business is closed.
  • If your business has a property with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £1,000 for each 14 day period your business is closed.
  • If your business has a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £1,500 for each 14 day period your business is closed.

Read the government guidance and eligibility criteria

Find your local authority and apply for the grant


Coronavirus Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)

Deadline: To be confirmed
Available in: Check with your local authority

The Additional Restrictions Grant supports closed businesses that do not directly pat business rates as well as those businesses still trading but severely impacted. 

Eligibility and funding levels are decided by local authorities, contact your local authority for more details of the scheme. 


Christmas Support Payment (CSP)

Deadline: 28 February 2021
Available in: Check with your local authority

The Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs supports pubs that predominantly serve alcohol rather than provide food and have been severely impacted over the festive season due to temporary local restrictions.

Eligible businesses may be entitled to a one-off cash grant of £1,000 from their local council in areas under Tier 2 or Tier 3 local restrictions after 2 December 2021. 

Your pub may be eligible if you:

  • are based in England
  • derive less than 50% of your sales from food
  • are in an area subject to Tier 2 or Tier 3 local restrictions since 2 December 2020
  • were established in the pub before 1 December 2020

Businesses excluded from the fund

You cannot get funding if your business:

  • has exceeded the permitted subsidy limit
  • is in administration, insolvent or has been struck off the Companies House register

Visit your local council website to apply


Other Discretionary Grants and Funding

Other business grants are being administered by local authorities - any queries should be addressed to them directly. All businesses can speak to their Local Authority about business rates payment deferrals.

You can find contact details for your local authority on the GOV.UK website.


Scotland Specific Funding

In addition to the UK wide initiatives, there are a number of schemes specific to Scotland. Find out how to apply for the Strategic Framework Business Fund and more information here.

Sector-specific support

The Scottish Government has launched a large number of support schemes with help extended to the newly self-employed and people who provide close contact services (e.g. hairdressers). Full details of these can be found on the find business support website.

Business Rates

In addition to the Small Business Bonus, retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will get 100% rates relief in 2020-21. It is expected that this help will continue into financial year 2021-22, though businesses will need to apply for the relief through their local authority.  

Local Authority Support

Councils in Scotland are also providing additional help for local businesses. Approach your local authority about their discretionary fund or your Development Manager to find out what’s available. More information can also be found on the find business support website.


Wales Specific Funding

The Business Wales Government portal contains a fully searchable database of funding currently available to Welsh businesses during the pandemic. An eligibility checking tool for the ERF Phase 3 Business Development Grant is also available

Business Rates

All retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of £500,000 or below will receive 100% non-domestic rates relief in 2020-21. This relief will be available from 1 April 2020 until 31 March 2021.

Sectoral support

There are various different sectoral support packages for agriculture, childcare, culture, creative and sports sector, life sciences, social business sector and taxi and private hire. Full details can be found on the Business Wales website.


Northern Ireland Specific Funding

NI Business Info provides links to the availability of funding for businesses based in Northern Ireland. 

Business Rates

Properties used for certain purposes will not be charged business rates from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 in Northern Ireland. The sectors are listed below, with examples of some of the qualifying uses:

  • Hospitality – including restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, public houses.
  • Tourism – including B&Bs (which pay business rates), guest houses, hotels, privately run caravan & camping sites, self-catering holiday accommodation, tourist attractions and facilities.
  • Leisure – including cinemas, theatres, leisure centres and facilities, museums, sports premises, sports grounds and associated sport clubs, clubhouses, and music venues.
  • Retail and retail services – shops of all types and sizes (excluding retail premises with retail floor space greater than 500m² Net Internal Area (NIA) and which is wholly or mainly used for the retail sale of food and household goods; and off-licences). Examples of services include hairdressers, barbers, nail and beauty services, fast food outlets, garden centres, travel agencies, car showrooms, auction houses, retail estate agents, and clothing, shoe or electrical goods repairs.
  • Childcare – children’s day-care and nursery premises.
  • Airports – Belfast City Airport, Belfast International Airport and City of Derry Airport.
Sectoral support

There are various different sectoral support packages for childcare and arts activities. Full details can be found on the NI Business Info website.


Resources and links

UK wide

HMRC coronavirus helpline for businesses and the self-employed
Call: 0800 024 1222
Lines Open: Monday - Friday, 8am to 4pm

HMRC Time To Pay helpline:

Call: 0300 200 3835
Lines Open: Monday - Friday, 8am to 4pm

You can also use the dedicated coronavirus business support finder.

England

The UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has launched a dedicated business support helpline, where small business owners in England can get advice on how to minimise/cope with the impacts of coronavirus.

Call 0800 998 1098
Lines open Mon - Friday 9am - 6pm
Email [email protected]

Scotland

The Scottish Government coronavirus helpline
Call 0300 303 0660
Lines open Mon - Friday 8:30am - 5:30pm

Scottish Government COVID-19 hub
 Wales

Wales Business Helpline

Call 0300 060 3000
Lines open Mon - Friday 8:30am - 5:30pm
Welsh Government COVID-19 hub

Northern Ireland

NI Business info
Call 0800 181 4422
Lines open Mon - Friday 8:30am - 5pm

NI Government COVID-19 hub


 

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