COVID-19 Support for Business

Coronavirus business support measures  

The most up to date information can be found on the Governments dedicated business support website here



Information for Kingston businesses

Joint briefing from Kingston Council, Kingston Chamber of Commerce and Kingston First Business Improvement District

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.

Recent Government announcements have set out a range of financial support measures for businesses in response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. The Government is currently finalising how these financial measures will be managed and administered by Councils.

Details are slowly emerging and in some cases the timing has not been confirmed yet but we know how important this is, so as soon as these details have been confirmed we will be in contact and update our web pages.

Below is a summary of important guidance from council services including Licensing and Trading Standards and  financial support measures announced by the Government.

25 March 2020

Business Premises closures:
Guidance on the closure of all retailers that sell non-essential goods and other non-essential premises, as part of further social distancing measures has been updated. The guidance is available here.

24 March 2020

Service update from Licensing 

Service updates from Parking  

Service update from Environmental Health- changes to running a food business

Support for businesses that pay business rates

Rates reliefs

  • A 12-month period without having to pay business rates (‘100% rate relief’), applying to all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, and eligible childcare providers, in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year (state aid rules have been dropped to allow support to larger firms). This applies to all eligible businesses, whatever the rateable value. Businesses will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

There is no action for you. The Direct Debit payments for those eligible for this relief have been paused and funds should not be taken from your account. The Council will send revised business business rates bills reflecting this relief when we are able to start applying it.


  • A non-repayable £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from premises with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000 as of 11 March 2020.
  • A non-repayable £10,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from premises with a rateable value up to £15,000 as of 11 March 2020.
  • A non-repayable £10,000 grant will be provided to any other businesses whose premises were eligible for Small Business Rate Relief as of 11 March 2020,having a rateable value up to £15,000.

We recommend that businesses register online in order to view your business rates account; This will help you see when your rate relief is applied to your account before bills are posted.
If you remain eligible to pay rates in the coming year, (not qualifying for the 100% relief above), the Council can change payment plans by one month to start in May. If this is agreed with the Council, you will get a revised bill to confirm this.
Businesses affected by the grants and reliefs will receive either a letter or a revised bill soon – some may need to provide their bank details to enable payment of grants. Contact Kingston Council’s business rates team on [email protected] for urgent enquiries.
To check your eligibility for grants and reliefs you can find out your current Rateable Value here

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’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers’ wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

There is no action to take at present. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

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.

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.

Business support and advice

Support for Self Employed

The government has announced that Self-employed people will be able to apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month. The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19, or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.

You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:

  • have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
    traded in the tax year 2019-20
  • are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

The money will be paid in a single lump sum, but will not be available until the start of June at the earliest. Further details will be available on the Government website.

You cannot apply for this scheme yet. HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online. You will access this scheme only through GOV.UK.

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.

Support to provide takeaway service

Pubs and restaurants that want to operate a hot food takeaway to serve people staying at home, will soon be able to do this without going through the usual planning process.  The government will shortly legislate to bring forward a temporary Permitted Development Right to allow for change of use from A3 (Restaurant) and A4 (Pub) to A5 (Hot Food Takeaway)

This will mean that pub and restaurant owners will be able to notify their Local Authority that they are now operating as a takeaway without any prior planning permission approval.

We do not currently have more information on this but will provide updates as soon as we do.


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.

Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.

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.

London Councils Lorry Control Scheme suspended

London Councils is suspending enforcement of the London Lorry Control Scheme with immediate effect to help the freight and logistics industry cope with increasing pressures and demands from the rapidly developing situation.


Working together is key to supporting our local business economy.  Please read a message of support for local business from the CEO’s of Merton, Kingston and Wandsworth Chambers