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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: 4 February 2021

Financial support for businesses

Grants for businesses

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 

If you are a hospitality, leisure, retail or nursery business central government has announced a 12 month business rates (NNDR) holiday for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. If your business occupies a property in the retail sector, or in the leisure or hospitality sectors you will be eligible for the 100% discount on your business rates bill.  

There is no need to contact the council as we will be amending your account and will issue a communication confirming the position in due course. 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.

Bounce Back loans

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The scheme has been extended and is open to applications until 31 January 2021. 

The government guarantees 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 being delivered through a network of accredited lenders and is open to applications until 31 January 2021.

Visit GOV.UK for more information on Bounce Back loans

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.

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