COVID-19 Support for Business

Coronavirus business support measures  


Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to employers and the self-employed. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants.  Use this simple business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business. START HERE

We know that many of you are facing some of your toughest challenges ever and it’s new for all of us. However, we want to reassure you that the council, Kingston First and Kingston Chamber of Commerce are all working together to make sure we’re providing you with clear, timely and consistent updates to reduce some of the stress and uncertainty.

Kickstart Scheme

The new Kickstart Scheme has launched, creating 6-month work placements aimed at young people (aged 16 to 24) who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long term unemployment.
Funding is available for each job to cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training. Find out more here. 

Direct applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements. If a single employer cannot provide this many job placements, they can join a group of other employers and nominating a representative or gateway organisation for the group to submit the application or register their interest with a representative body who will apply for them.

The Chamber will operate as a gateway organisation. If you have less than 30 placements to offer and are interested in making a joint bid via the Chamber   Register your interest here 

Job Support Scheme expanded to firms required to close due to covid restrictions

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be expanded to support businesses across the UK required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions.
• This scheme will cover businesses that, as a result of restrictions set by one or more of the four governments in the UK, are legally required to close their premises. This includes businesses that are required to provide only delivery and collection services from their premises, or food and drink outdoors from their premises.
• The government will support eligible businesses by paying two thirds of each employees’ salary (or 67%), up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.
• Under the scheme, employers will not be required to contribute towards wages and only asked to cover NICS and pension contributions. Businesses will only be eligible to claim the grant while they are subject to restrictions and employees must be off work for a minimum of seven consecutive days.
• The scheme will begin on 1 November and will be available for six months, with a review point in January.
• In line with the rest of the JSS, payments to businesses will be made in arrears, via a HMRC claims service that will be available from early December. Employees of firms that have been legally closed in the period before 1 November are eligible for the CJRS.
• The scheme is UK wide and the UK Government will work with the devolved administrations to ensure the scheme operates effectively across all four nations.
• Further guidance on the scheme will be set out by HMRC in due course.
In addition to expansion of the JSS, the government is increasing the cash grants to businesses in England shut in local lockdowns to support with fixed costs. These grants will be linked to rateable values, with up to £3,000 per month payable every two weeks, compared to the up to £1,500 every three weeks which was available previously.
The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will benefit from a £1.3 billion increase to their guaranteed funding for 2020-21 – allowing them to continue their response to Covid-19 including through similar measures if they wish.

Further details on the expanded JSS can be found on this factsheet: Job Support Scheme Expansion for Closed Business Premises


The Winter Economy Plan

Announced 24 September 2020

• Job Support Scheme
• Extension of Self Employment Income Support Scheme
• Extention to the temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors
• Deferred VAT and ability to spread payments
• Flexibility to pay back Bounce Back Loans


A new Job Support Scheme will be introduced from 1 November and run for 6 months, to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to coronavirus. Employees must work at least a third of their normal hours and be paid for that work, as normal, by their employer.
The government, together with employers, will increase those people’s wages covering 2/3 of the pay they have lost by reducing their working hours. The level of grant will be calculated based on employee’s usual salary, capped at £697.92 per month.
Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which their employer is claiming the grant for that employee Find out more here

In addition, the Government is extending the Self Employment Income Support Scheme Grant (SEISS). An initial taxable grant will be provided to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and are continuing to actively trade but face reduced demand due to coronavirus. The initial lump sum will cover three months’ worth of profits for the period from November to the end of January next year. This is worth 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875.

The government also announced it will extend the temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors to the end of March next year.

Businesses who deferred their VAT bills will be given the option to pay back in smaller instalments. Rather than paying a lump sum in full at the end March next year, they will be able to make 11 smaller interest-free payments during the 2021-22 financial year.

Self-assessment taxpayers will be able to benefit from a separate additional 12-month extension from HMRC on the “Time to Pay” self-service facility, meaning payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.

New Pay as You Grow Bounce Back Loan flexible repayment system. The length of the loan can be extended from six years to ten, interest-only periods of up to six months and payment holidays will be available to businesses.

Borrowers taking out loans through CBILS may also be able to extend the repayment period up to 10 years, provided their lender agrees to it. Applications for all of the government’s coronavirus business loan schemes will be extended to the end of November.

Find all the latest updates and read more about the announcements here


Guidance launched to help get Brits safely back to work

New ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidelines are available to UK employers to help them get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating as safely as possible. View more info here

Once you have carried out a risk assessment you should display this notice in your workplace to show that you have complied with the guidance on managing the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Here you can download a checklist which they can follow to ensure they are safe and legally compliant on returning to their offices:  Office Work Covid-19 Safety Procedures Confirmation – Free Resource from Safety Delivery

Need a supplier to help you re-open your business?  Check out the Chamber members who can help: Chamber Return to Work Suppliers 2020

Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund (2nd Round)The first round of applications to the Discretionary Grants Fund has been completed. Applicants have been notified of the outcome of their application.   The second round of applications to the Discretionary Grants Fund is now closed.

Job Retention Scheme – reimbursing 80% of salary costs

All UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. This will apply to those designated as ‘furloughed workers’. The scheme has been extended until October 2020.Claim here

The scheme updates mean that the following will apply for the period people are furloughed:

June and July: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions. Employers are not required to pay anything.
August: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
September: The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 14% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
October: The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 23% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now open for applications, to help businesses access bank lending and overdrafts, delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the British Business Bank. This makes available £330bn for which the Government will provide lenders with an 80% guarantee. Small businesses can apply for up to £5m from their High Street bank. All firms with a turnover of more than £45 million will now be able to apply for up to £25 million of finance, and up to £50 million for firms with a turnover of more than £250 million.

Businesses can access the first six months of that finance interest free, as the Government will cover the first six months of interest payments.

These loans will not be administered by the council. Full rules of the scheme and the list of accredited lenders are available at British Business Bank.

Bounce Bank Loans

The Bounce Back Loan scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan. The scheme is now open – For eligibility criteria visit

Support for Self Employed

The second round of grants for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is now open, you must make your claim for the second grant on or before 19 October 2020. The grant will be worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

You can now check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
You can use the online tool to find out if you’re eligible to make a claim. Your tax agent or adviser can also use the online tool on your behalf. You’ll need your:

  • Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number
  • National Insurance number

If someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you can claim financial help or are owed a tax refund, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it is a scam.

Sick pay

A package of measures of support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees is to be put in place. More information is available on the Government website.

Support for businesses paying tax: Time to Pay service

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.  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.

Businesses may also be able to defer VAT payments.

Benefits for employees and self employed

The Government has issued advice about claiming benefits, which will continue to be updated on the Government website.

If you are self-employed and claiming Universal Credit and are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) will not be applied for a period of time whilst you are affected.

More information is available on the Government website COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses page.

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