Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Information and advice about COVID-19

Advice and support for businesses

Last updated: Friday 27 March

Supporting local businesses

If you run a business you will be facing an unpredictable period. On this page you will find links to information which will help you manage your staff, seek support and plan for recovery. Please consider this support before deciding to lay off staff.

You can read the latest government guidance for employees, employers and businesses on GOV.UK

For business advice you can also call the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce coronavirus business support hotline on 03333 602 300. Lines are open Monday - Friday 8.30am - 6.30pm.

National Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

All UK employers will be able to get support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

  • HMRC will pay 80% of a salary to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
  • This will be backdated to 1 March and will be available within weeks.
  • Grants will be made before the end of April.
  • The grants will be for three months and extended as necessary.

Find out more about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme including what you need to do to access the scheme.

Statutory Sick Pay relief

This scheme will allow small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.

Read more about eligibility for SSP relief scheme.

Businesses rates discount

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will pay no business rates for the financial year 2020 to 2021, no matter what their rateable value is.

To support nurseries during this time, the Chancellor has decided that providers of childcare will also pay no business rates for 2020 to 2021.
Find out more about the business rates retail discount.

Business grants

Small business grant funding of £10,000 will be available for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief.

Grant funding of £25,000 is available for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. 

Find out more about cash grants for businesses

Business loans

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is offering loans of up to £5 million for small and medium-sized businesses through the British Business Bank.

For larger businesses the Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility is a new lending scheme through the Bank of England.

Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

Businesses concerned about paying tax due to coronavirus can defer this quarter’s VAT to the end of June and can have to the end of the financial year to pay bills. 

If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 will be deferred to January 2021. 

You can find out more about deferring VAT and Income Tax on GOV.UK

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 (Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm.)

If you are worried about a future payment, please call HMRC nearer the time.

Business insurance cover

Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim as long as all other terms and conditions are met.

You should check the terms and conditions of your business interruption policy and contact your insurance provider.