COVID-19: standing behind businesses


I know people are deeply worried about the coronavirus – the impact it will have on their jobs, their incomes and their ability to provide for their families. The Government said we would support the British people – and we meant it.

These are the measures the Government has announced to stand behind businesses and ensure people get the support they need to do the right thing - stay at home, protect the NHS, and save lives:



  • These loan schemes mean any good business in financial difficulty who needs access to cash to pay their rent, the salaries of their employees, pay suppliers, or purchase stock, will be able to access a government-backed loan, on attractive terms.
    • To support small businesses, the Coronavirus Interruption Loan Scheme is providing loans of up to £5 million interest free for 12 months. All small businesses affected by coronavirus, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, are be eligible.
    • The Government is also banning lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000.
    • To support larger businesses, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme is providing loans of up to £25 million. This will provide a government guarantee of 80 per cent so that banks can make loans to larger companies. This will give banks the confidence to lend to more businesses which are impacted by coronavirus but which they would not usually lend to.
    • Loans backed by a guarantee under the scheme will be offered at commercial rates of interest.



  • A major new scheme, the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF), launched by the Bank of England is providing billions of pounds of support to firms. This scheme will support your company if it’s been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities.



  • All businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will receive a business rate holiday for 2020-21. All businesses in this sector will be exempt from business rates for 12 months – that’s every single shop, pub, theatre, music venue, restaurant, and any other business in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors.
  • This includes the likes of estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls which were previously excluded. 
  • In addition, the Government will provide small businesses in these sectors with an additional grant scheme of up to £25,000. The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) eligible businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for a cash grant:
    • Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to and including £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.
    • Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.



  • The Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) will be available to all eligible businesses in England in receipt of either Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR), and receive a grant of £10,000. That's 700,000 of our smallest businesses.



  • All businesses will be able to apply for a 3 month extension to file their accounts with Companies House – with those citing issues around COVID-19 being automatically and immediately granted an extension. Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system which will take just 15 minutes to complete.



  • This will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next three months.



  • The Government will support small and medium-sized businesses to cope with the extra costs of paying Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) by refunding eligible SSP costs. This will be limited to two weeks per employee. 



  • This measure means no business will pay any VAT from now until the end of June, and they will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.
  • If you run a business or are self-employed, you may be eligible to receive support with your tax affairs through HMRC's 'Time to Pay' service if you cannot pay other tax bills because of coronavirus. 


Last Updated: 13th April 2020