This article outlines the various types of support your business may be eligible for as a result of the pandemic, including grants and loans and information on government furlough and rebate schemes. We have also included specific information and registration links for businesses based in our local authorities of East Sussex, Brighton and Hove, and Croydon.
A range of business continuity grants have been issued by central Government and are managed by local authorities - the application process may differ depending on where your business is registered.
Brighton & Hove City Council:
Businesses may qualify for more than one type of grant and only need to complete one application. The council will then assess your application and determine which are applicable for your business.
- Local Restrictions Support Grant (Sector): For businesses fully closed since the first national lockdown on 23rd March 2020.
- Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed): This grant covers the second national lockdown period from 5th November to 1st December 2020. This LRSG is applicable to businesses that pay business rates and were closed during the second lockdown. You can be eligible even if your business wasn’t fully closed during this period. Although this lockdown was 27 days, the grant will award a full four-week payment. The deadline to apply is 31st January 2021.
- Additional Restrictions Grant: Businesses that aren't eligible for the Closed LRSG due to not paying business rates, but which face similar circumstances, may apply for the Additional Restrictions Grant. This also applies to businesses without a business premises or that pay business rates to a landlord. Some rate paying businesses who just miss out on qualifying for a closed LRSG may also receive support.
- Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open): This grant covers the period from 2nd-25th December, when Tier 2 restrictions were introduced. This LRSG is applicable to businesses that were significantly impacted by the Tier 2 restrictions, even if they remained open.
- Closed Business Lockdown Payment: This grant covers the third national lockdown period beginning on 5th January 2021. A one-off payment of either £4000, £6000 or £9000 will be available to businesses forced to close, depending on the size of the business premises. As of publication of this article, specific government guidance on the eligibility criteria for this grant are yet to be made.
To apply for the various grants available, only one application needs to be made. After your application has been approved, payment should be received within 10 working days.
- Local Restrictions Support Grant: This grant is available to businesses that have a Business Rates Account Number and have been forced to close by any of the national or local lockdowns and restrictions.
- Additional Restrictions Grant: This grant covers the second national lockdown period from 5th November to 1st December 2020. This LRSG is applicable to businesses forced to close which don't have a Business Rates Account Number. Up to £10,000 can be awarded depending on eligibility.
- Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. To be eligible you must have traded in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 tax years, be currently trading but have been affected by coronavirus, intend to continue trading and anticipate a significant reduction in trading profits. If eligible, you will receive a grant matching 80% of 3 months of your business trading profits in a single payment, which is capped at £7,500. The deadline to apply is 29th January 2021.
- Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries will also receive a one-off top-up grant of £9000 per property, to help businesses through the lockdown period.
The government are also offering a range of loans which business owners can take advantage of.
- Business Interruption Loan Scheme: This scheme provides up to £5m for successful SMEs impacted by the pandemic. To be eligible your business must be based in the UK, have an annual turnover of up to £45m, can be proven to be viable if it weren’t for COVID-19 and can be proven to have been significantly affected by COVID-19. Find out more and apply here.
- Coronavirus Future Fund: This scheme provides convertible loans of between £125,000 and £5m to innovative businesses facing difficulties due to COVID-19. To be eligible you must meet several conditions, such as having raised over £250 000 in equity investment from 3rd party investors in the last five years, and being incorporated no later than December 2019. Find out more and apply here.
- Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan: This scheme enables SMEs to borrow a sum of between £2,000 and £50,000 comprising up to 25% of their turnover. To be eligible you must be based in the UK, have been established before 1st March 2020 and have been significantly impacted by COVID-19. Find out more and apply here.
Business Rates Relief:
The government is offering various types of business rates relief which can be found here. We have already supported Sussex Innovation tenants with their applications for rates relief in 2020, and eligible members of our community will have received what they are entitled to. At present, the top-up to rates relief for 2021 is targeted at high street retail and hospitality sectors - if this changes we will update this article and contact all tenants who are eligible.
As a small business, you can obtain rate relief if your property's rateable value is below £15,000 and you only use one property - although you may still be eligible for relief in some circumstances if you use more. Rates relief is accessed through your local council:
- Brighton & Hove council - Apply for Small Business Rate Relief
- Croydon Council - Coronavirus business rates relief and grant funding
Other financial support:
As well as grants and loans, the government is offering other forms of financial support to businesses during the pandemic
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme / Furlough: The furlough scheme has been extended until the end of April 2021. This allows for the government to pay 80% of employees’ wages up to £2,500 per month. The scheme also allows your business to part-time furlough employees. Make a claim here.
- Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme: This payment will cover up to 2 weeks from the first day of an employee’s sickness due to COVID-19. Check if you can claim here.
- Self Assessment deferment: If you're self-employed it is possible to defer your Self-Assessment payment due to COVID-19. More information can be found here.
If you would like to find out more about non-financial business support for your COVID-19 recovery, here are a few additional links and contact details:
- 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)
- BEIS dedicated business support helpline - Call: 0800 998 1098 (Lines open Monday - Friday 9am - 6pm), or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- FSB guide to lockdown rules and what they mean for your business.