Advice and support for businesses
Advice for businesses
Last updated 22 May at 14:51
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.
For business advice you can also call the Kent and Medway Growth Hub coronavirus business support hotline on 03333 602 300. Lines are open Monday - Friday 8.30am - 6.30pm.
Bounce Back Loans
Announced on Monday 27 April, small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders.
- businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days
- loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
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.
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.
Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will pay no business rates for the financial year 2020 to 2021, no matter what their rateable value is.
You should have had a new business rates bill from us showing that you will pay no rates. If you haven't had a letter by 10 April and you think you should get the discount, contact our business rates team.
To support nurseries during this time, the Chancellor has decided that providers of childcare will also pay no business rates for 2020 to 2021. New business rates bills have now been sent out.
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.
If you're self-employed, or a member of a partnership, and have lost income due to the coronavirus you can get support from the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
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.
We understand that many businesses are trying to reduce their costs at this difficult time, and that some have stopped paying rent to help this.
This could mean you're in breach of your lease. Please check the support available to you before taking any action.
Make sure you have accessed all the government support you might be able to get before speaking to your landlord about rent.
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
- Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme
- Deferring your VAT and income tax payments
Some of the government schemes above may also be available to support you.
Not every business can stop trading and may need extra help with their costs. You could do this, if you're able to, by:
- deferring rent payments for a fixed time, with any arrears paid by the end of the financial year (March 2021)
- accepting rent in arrears, not in advance, for a fixed time
- putting a rent reduction in place
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.
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.
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.
Food businesses that are starting to supply their customers with hot and cold food deliveries or takeaways must follow the government coronavirus guidance for food businesses.
If you are setting up a new food business in the district you must register your food business online at least 28 days before you begin trading.
Heritage Emergency Fund
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has put together a £50million fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The £50m Heritage Emergency Fund will be available for grants of between £3,000 and £50,000. It is available to organisations across the full breadth of heritage, including:
- historic sites
- industrial and maritime heritage
- libraries and archives
- parks and gardens
- landscapes and nature
Organisations which have received funding in the past and are either a current grantee, or still under contract following a previous grant, can apply. Priority will be given where:
- there is limited or no access to other sources of support
- where heritage is most at risk
- where an organisation is at risk of severe financial crisis due to COVID-19
Arts Council England (ACE) emergency funding
ACE will offer individuals and organisations working in the cultural sector new financial support during the crisis, totalling £160 million.
They've re-purposed all investment strands to be able to offer this support for the following types of organisations.
- £50 million funding for organisations not in receipt of regular funding from the Arts Council but with a track record of delivering publicly funded culture. You can apply for up to £35,000 in one of two rounds. First round applications will open on 9th April and will close on 16th April. The second round will open on 16th April and close on 30th April.
- £20 million funding for individuals working in the cultural sector. You can apply for up to £2,500 in one of two rounds. First round applications will open on 9th April and will close on 16th April. The second round will open on 16th April and close on 30th April.
- £90 million funding for National Portfolio Organisations to reboot their creative work and alleviate financial pressures.
Sport England funding
Sport England have announced up to £195 million of funding to help the sport and physical activity sector through the ongoing Coronavirus crisis.
The package, which is a combination of National Lottery and government funding, is made up of the following:
- Community Emergency Funding to support community organisations suffering financial hardship.
- Sector Partner Fund for active partners of Sport England and National Governing bodies.
- £55 million Sector Stimulation to support and stimulate the sector by adapting to changes while restrictions are being lifted.