Financial support for businesses

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Financial support from Government

The Government's support finder tool helps businesses and self-employed people to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the Coronavirus pandemic.

They have also created a Business Support Hub which brings together information and guidance on the range of finance and support available to businesses.

If you can’t find the information that you need from the published information, advice and guidance, you can speak directly to an adviser on the Government's Business Support Helpline call freephone 08009981098.

Financial measures to support businesses through the economic uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19): 

  • Local Support Grants are available through SCDC for eligible businesses financially impacted by Coronavirus restrictions. These include the Local Restrictions Support Grant and the Local Restrictions Discretionary Hardship Scheme.
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where businesses may be able to claim for some employees' wages if they have been put on furlough or flexible furlough because of Coronavirus.
  • A Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)  supports self-employed people whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
  • The Recovery Loan Scheme is to help businesses of any size access loans and other kinds of finance so they can recover after the pandemic and transition period.
  • 12-month business rates holiday for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector and children's nurseries (see below).
  • Deferring Income Tax payments for the self-employed, due on 31 July 2020, until 31 January 2021. You can pay your tax by instalments if were unable to pay in full by 31 January 2021 by setting up a Time to Pay instalment arrangement with HMRC.
  • The VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme online portal is now live. Announced by the Chancellor in the Winter Economy Plan the scheme allows businesses that deferred VAT payments between 20 March and 30 June 2020, under the VAT Payment Deferral Scheme, to opt-in and pay their deferred VAT by smaller consecutive monthly instalments, interest free.
  • Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs.
  • A Bounce Back loan scheme, which provides loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 to small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank.
  • The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loans Scheme for large businesses not eligible for the other loan schemes.
  • COVID Corporate Financing Facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge Coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans.
  • The Future Fund providing bridging loans to high-growth companies across the UK to ensure that they receive the investment they need to continue during the crisis.
  • £750 million of targeted support for the most R&D intensive small and medium size firms through Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme.
  • The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme supporting businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities which will be agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. HMRC have launched a tax webchat and helpline to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to Coronavirus.

Other financial support

Loans for small businesses

Small firms who have been in business for less than two years and who are unable to secure finance from other sources could be eligible for a Start-up Loan, a government-backed personal loan available to individuals looking to start or grow a business in the UK.

In addition to finance, successful applicants receive 12 months of free mentoring and exclusive business offers to help them succeed. The loan is unsecured, so there’s no need to put forward any assets or guarantors to support an application. All owners or partners in a business can individually apply for up to £25,000 each, with a maximum of £100,000 available per business.

Financial assistance for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments

If as an employer you cannot afford to pay your employees redundancy pay, you can apply to the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS) (part of a government agency called the Insolvency Service) for financial assistance. If approved, the RPS will make statutory redundancy payments directly to the redundant employees on your behalf.

The Government has issued guidance to help employers understand whether the scheme is right for them.

Funding for space enabled solutions to the Coronavirus crisis

An initial £2.6 million is being made available to fund a number of projects to develop hi-tech solutions to the challenges created by the Coronavirus crisis, in a joint initiative with the European Space Agency (ESA) in support of NHS England. The space-enabled solutions could include satellite communications, satellite navigation, Earth observation satellites or technology derived from human spaceflight. The funding is for projects which will address at least one of the following:

  • Logistics within the health delivery system, for example, with drone deliveries
  • Managing infectious disease outbreaks
  • Population health and wellbeing
  • Recovering health system function and handling backlogs after the crisis
  • Preparedness for future epidemics 

Sector-specific support

A 12-month business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

The Council has now applied business rates holidays for eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality, leisure sectors. If you think you should qualify for the relief, please email and we will look into your situation individually.

Business rate reliefs for nursery businesses

South Cambridgeshire District Council has now applied business rates holiday for nurseries to all eligible premises. Properties that benefit from the relief are those occupied by providers on Ofsted's Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Zoos and aquariums

Licensed zoos or aquariums in England that are experiencing severe financial difficulties because of lost revenue, can apply for a grant from Government of up to £100,000.

The amount of money organisations will receive will be based on their animals’ needs. Grants can be used to cover animal-care costs that cannot be lowered such as:

  • keepers’ wages
  • animal feed and bedding
  • veterinary care and medicines
  • electricity and heating
  • waste removal

Cultural sector

Arts Council National Lottery project grants

The Arts Council has reopened its National Lottery Project Grants until August 2021. These focus on supporting independent organisations, creative practitioners and freelancers.

Support for workers in the photography industry

If you have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and have worked in the photographic industry (including photographic laboratories) then the Benevolent Society of the BIPP (BenSoc) may be able to help.

BenSoc assists people in need, due to illness by means of single grants in case of emergency or long-term hardship. It also provides help, gives encouragement and friendship. 

Sports sector

Active Together

Sport England have committed £1 million to combating the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) on sports clubs and community activity groups, in the form of match funding through Crowdfunder.

Through their Active Together programme they will be matching crowd funds of up to £10,000 raised by clubs and organisations hit by the coronavirus crisis.

To be eligible, organisations must be:

  • Local sports clubs
  • Charity, community, voluntary and social enterprise sector organisations that deliver sport and/or physical activity in their community – including organisations that are not solely or primarily sports organisations
  • For the benefit of people residing in England.

Grocery sector

The GroceryAid Covid-19 Fund has been established to provide enhanced support for grocery colleagues during the Coronavirus crisis. They offer:

  • Mental Health Support: Offering 'in the moment' emotional and practical support for grocery colleagues dealing with shock, anxiety, or stress, from day one of working in the grocery industry.
  • Bereavement Financial Assistance: Providing financial assistance for the loss of a loved one through Covid-19.
  • Crisis Grants: Non-repayable grants designed to help those struggling with exceptional hardship caused during Covid-19.


Crowdfunder: Pay it forward

Through their Pay It Forward initiative, Crowdfunder are offering 100% free fundraising for businesses during the Coronavirus crisis. Small businesses who may be worried about the future due to COVID-19, can set-up a Pay it Forward campaign offering customers the option to book meals, a room for the night or a ticket to an event for example, now, based on a promise to deliver in the future. Crowdfunder will cover all platform and transaction fees. Take a look at the businesses already raising funds.

Community groups meeting residents' needs during the Coronavirus crisis

See funding for community groups for information about the financial support available to community groups responding to the needs of residents during the Coronavirus crisis.

Scam awareness

HMRC have published guidance to help businesses recognise when contact from them is genuine, and how to recognise phishing or bogus emails and text messages.

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