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COVID-19 Business Support

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP want to hear from all its businesses to better understand how coronavirus is impacting both now and looking to the future.  We would be very grateful if businesses could complete the short survey which can be found at:

For individual businesses, the first port of call for advice and support is A new national business support website has been put in place to provide businesses with clear information about government support available at This website provides details on financial support as well as busness advice.

Additionally, businesses in Staffordshire, of all sizes, can pick up the phone and speak directly to an advisor at the Staffordshire Business Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or the National Business Support Helpline on 0300 456 3565.

In addition to the above you can find information to help your business below:

How Can I Prepare My Company for the Impact of COVID-19?

A Business Continuity Management toolkit has been provided by GOV.UK to assist with preparation for COVID-19. The toolkit will help businesses to plan and make preparations for the COVID-19 outbreak – identifying issues that will need to considered and guidance on how arrangements can be made to manage business interruption.

Click here to access the Business Continuity Management Toolkit

What Support is on Offer during the COVID-19 Outbreak?

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses during this challenging period. A range of support has already been announced, including: 

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Small Business Grants
  • Cash Grants for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure
  • Business Rates Relief
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • Statutory Sick Pay Rebate for SMEs
  • Changes to Statutory Sick Pay and the Minimum Income Floor
  • HMRC dedicated coronavirus helpline.

Click here for an overview of the business support on offer amid the COVID-19 outbreak

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary (for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis). This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’.

HMRC will reimburse 80% of wages, up to £2,500 per month (per employee) - this is to safeguard workers from being made redundant. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary.

HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement, with the first grants aiming to be paid before the end of April. If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

Small Business Grants

The Government is providing additional funding for Local Authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs. Companies eligible for the grant must already receive SBRR and/or RRR, and occupy a property.

Businesses is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector, will receive a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

Eligible companies will be contacted by their Local Authority – businesses do not need to apply – with funding being dispatched to Local Authorities in early April.

Use this search tool to find your Local Authority

Cash Grants for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

Small Business Grant Funding

Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors across England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020/21 tax year. Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019/20 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

The discount is now available to companies in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector. Such as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues, places for assembly and leisure; or as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation*.

Click here to find more about the Extended Retail Discount

*This business rate holiday has been extended to estate agents, letting agents and bingo halls (updated 25th March).

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch next week (commencing on the 23rd March). Businesses with a turnover of less than £41million can apply for a loan of up to £5million to assist with expenses during the Covid-19 outbreak. These are not grants and must be repaid, however no there is no payable fee to the Government.

To access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, businesses are being urged to talk to their bank or finance provider as soon as possible and discuss their actions during the outbreak. This will help your finance provider to act quickly once the scheme has launched.

Click here for further information on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Eligiblty checklist for the CBILS

SSP Rebate

The Government will bring forward legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for staff sickness absence due to coronavirus. This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of coronavirus.

Companies eligible for the rebate must employ fewer than 250 employees (as of 28th February 2020); employers should maintain records of staff absences, however employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.

The government will be working employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism, as existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP.

Tax Helpline

HMRC have set up a telephone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people who are concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to the impact of COVID-19. The helpline allows any business or self-employed individual that is being affected by Covid-19 to get practical help and advice.

Up to 2,000 experienced call handlers are being made available to support businesses and individuals when needed.

HMRC’s Covid-19 Helpline: 0800 0159 559

Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am-8pm, and Saturday 8am-4pm. The helpline will not be available on Sunday or Bank Holidays.

For individual businesses, the first port of call for support during this outbreak is However, businesses of all sizes in Staffordshire can pick up the phone and speak directly to an advisor at the Staffordshire Business Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or the National Business Support Helpline on 0300 456 3565.

Support for the Self-employed

Those who are not eligible for SSP, for example the self-employed, can now make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance; for the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for those who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating according to government advice, ensuring self-employed claimants will receive support.

People will be able to claim Universal Credit and access advance payments upfront without the current requirement to attend a Jobcentre if they are advised to self-isolate.

Click here to find out more on Universal Credit

Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant.

Click here to find out more on the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Arts Council England Emergency Fund

Arts Council England have issued £160million of emergency funding for the cultural sector, in addition to adapting the requirements of ongoing funding. £20million is being made available to individuals within the sector.

Visit the Arts Council England website for more information

Online Resource for Businesses and Employers

For the latest information and advice, employers and business owners should visit:

More information to follow...