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Coronavirus: a helping hand for businesses

This page contains information for Westminster businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Published on: 15 January 2021

Last updated: 9 April 2021

Financial support for businesses

Grants for businesses

National Lockdown Grants for the period 16 February 2021 to 31 March 2021.

Hospitality, accommodation and leisure businesses, along with non-essential retail businesses, that have applied for and been paid the November national lockdown grant before 15 February 2021,  will have subsequently been paid all other periods of grant payment due to them up to 15 February 2021.

The government has announced a new tranche of grant funding for the same types of business to cover the period 16 February 2021 to 31 March 2021. When the Council has received the appropriate funding from central government, we will schedule the future payment of this additional grant payment.

The grants are set amounts based on the rateable value of a business: 

  • rateable values of <15,001 -  a grant payment of £2,096
  • rateable values between 15,001 and 50,999 - a grant payment of £3,143
  • rateable values > 50,999  -  a grant payment of £4,714

There is no need to re-apply to the Council.

Find information about grants for businesses

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Job Retention Scheme (furlough) has been extended until the end of April 2021.

Employers small or large, charitable or non-profit, are eligible for the extended Job Retention Scheme, which will continue for a further month. Employees will receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. 

Businesses will have flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis or furlough them full-time, and will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions which, for the average claim, accounts for 5% of total employment costs.

Please visit GOV.UK site for the latest information about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Business Rates holiday 

The council will not be issuing business rates bills to certain types of business until May/June. Businesses in the eligible retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery sectors that received 100% Expanded Retail discount or 100% Nursery Discount during 2020/21 will also be eligible for 100% Expanded Retail (or 100% Nursery discount) for the three month period 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021 and also 66% rate relief for the remainder of 2021/22. Bills to these businesses have not been issued as part of the Council’s normal annual billing process in March and will instead be issued during May/June, with instalments to commence from July.

On 25 March 2021, the government announced a new Business Rates relief fund of £1.5 billion for businesses affected by COVID-19 outside the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors. This targeted support package will be aimed at businesses who have been unable to benefit from the existing £16 billion business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

View the details on this announcement 

No decisions on the exact distribution have been made yet - but as we get more detail, we will update the website and be in contact with businesses directly. Once we have more details about how these funds will be allocated, we will update the website and share these in our business e-newsletter.

Sign up to our business e-newsletter

View your business rates account

Note: Retail and Nursery Discounts will not show on your account at the moment. You do not need to contact the council to check your discount.

Visit GOV.UK for the latest guidance on Business Rate relief

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.  

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.  

You are eligible if your business: 

  • pays tax to the UK government 
  • has outstanding tax liabilities  

For more information on Time to Pay, please visit GOV.UK. If you think you are eligible for support through Time to Pay, you can call 0800 0159 559 to get practical help and advice.

Business Interruption loans 

The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offers SMEs access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years. The scheme has been extended and is open to applications until 31 January 2021. 

The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.  

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to pre-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The scheme will be delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the government-owned British Business Bank.  

For more information on Business Interruption loans or application criteria visit the British Business Bank. The scheme is open to applications until 31 January 2021.

Time to Pay

If you are self-employed and you are concerned about not being able to pay your tax bills because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for support through Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) Time to Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.  

For more information on Time to Pay visit GOV.UK. If you think you are eligible for support through Time to Pay, you can call 0800 0159 559 to get practical help and advice.

Kickstart Scheme 

The government’s £2 billion Kickstart Scheme is open for applications for employers. Employers will receive funding for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions. Help employers apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant: New guidance for organisations who want to be a Kickstart gateway and help employers apply for the Kickstart Scheme is available. These 6 month placements are open to those aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment. 

Visit GOV.UK for more information about the Kickstart Scheme

Self employed support - Income Support Scheme Grant Extension

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme Grant (SEISS) has been extended. The November and January income support grant has been increased to 80% of average profits (up to £7,500). 

The grant aims to support self-employed individuals whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19.  The scheme extension provides support to the self-employed in the form of two grants, each available for three month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021. 

For more information on the Income Support Scheme please visit GOV.UK