As a council, it is our duty to protect our economy and support our business and enterprise community during these difficult times. We’re working hard to ensure you have access to the latest available help.
For further advice you can speak to the business engagement team. We’re experiencing a high volume of calls and emails but will be in touch as soon as possible.
What support is available?
The government have announced a range of schemes to support businesses, employees and the self-employed. We know that businesses need this support as soon as possible and we're working with our partners and the government as quickly as we can.
You will find all available government support listed below:
Test and Trace Support Payment
If you're on a low income and cannot work during self-isolation, you may be able to access a lump sum Test and Trace Support Payment of £500, which will be paid directly into your bank account.
The scheme will run from the 28th September 2020 to the 31st January 2021.
Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG)
If your business has been affected by COVID related government restrictions, you may be eligible for a Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG). There are four grant schemes available:
- LRSG Open (Tier 2) - aimed at hospitality, hotels, bed and breakfast, and leisure businesses who were open during Tier 2 restrictions but whose trade suffered as a result - now closed
- LRSG Closed (Tier 3) - aimed at businesses such as wet pubs, soft play centres, adult gaming centres etc. who were subject to government mandated closure during Tier 3 restrictions - now closed
- LRSG Addendum (National Lockdown) - aimed at retail, hospitality and leisure sectors forced to close due to the national lockdown enforced from 5th November 2020
- LRSG Sector - aimed at nightclubs, casinos and sexual entertainment venues who have been under mandated closure since March 2020.
Find out if you're eligible for the LRSG and how to apply.
The Kickstart Scheme (external link) is the government’s new £2bn flagship programme targeting young people aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of becoming long-term unemployed.
To find out more about Wigan Council’s approach as a representative group and how your organisation can host a 6-month fully funded placement, you can:
Coronavirus Future Fund
This scheme will issue convertible loans between £125,000 to £5 million to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The scheme is open for applications until 31st January 2021.
Emergency Investment Fund
A new investment fund aimed at social enterprises, charities and community businesses who have struggled to obtain sufficient capital due to COVID-19 has been launched. Applications will close on 26th February 2021.
Funded by Access: The Foundation for Social Investment (funded from dormant accounts) and Greater Manchester Combined Authority, loans between £50,000 and £250,000 are available.
There is a repayment and interest free period of up to 2 years at the start of the investment and then a 3 year repayment period.
Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer Networks
The Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer Network scheme aims to enhance resilience and recovery from the impact of COVID-19, and enable SMEs to develop their potential for future growth and productivity.
Self-employment Income Support Scheme - grant extension
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.
This extension will last for 6 months, from November 2020 to April 2021.
Grants will be paid in 2 lump sum instalments each covering a 3 month period. The third grant will cover a 3 month period from 1st November 2020 until 31st January 2021.
The government will provide a taxable grant calculated at 80% of 3 months average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total. This is an increase from the previously announced amount of 55%. The same level of support is being provided for employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which has also been extended until 30th April 2021.
There will be a fourth grant covering February 2021 to April 2021. Further details will be available in due course. The grants are taxable income and also subject to National Insurance contributions.
Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality, leisure and nurseries
In England, businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, and nurseries included on Ofsted’s Early Years Register, will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year.
You do not need to do anything as we have identified eligible businesses and will apply the holiday to your bill.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
If you cannot maintain your workforce because your operations have been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), you can furlough employees and apply for a grant to cover a portion of their usual monthly wage costs where you record them as being on furlough.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30th April 2021. You can claim 80% of an employee’s usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
Please be aware of the following deadline dates to submit monthly claims:
- 14th January 2021 - final date to submit claims for December 2020 by 11:59pm
- 15th February 2021 - final date to submit claims for January 2021 by 11:59pm
- 15th March 2021 - final date to submit claims for February 2021 by 11:59pm
- 14th April 2021 - final date to submit claims for March 2021 by 11:59pm
- 14th May 2021 – final date to submit claims for April 2021 by 11:59pm
You can no longer submit claims for claim periods ending on or before 31st October 2020.
Job Retention Bonus
The government initially outlined plans to introduce a one-off payment of £1,000 to UK employers for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021.
As the furlough scheme has been extended until the 30th April 2021, you will be able to claim the bonus between the 15th February 2021 and 31st March 2021. You do not have to pay this bonus to your employee.
Guidance on how to access the online claim service will be updated by the end of January 2021 on the GOV.UK website. Keep checking this page for further details.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme has been expanded to cover all viable firms. The scheme now supports businesses with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to:
- £5 million for small and medium-sized businesses with a turnover under £45 million
- £25 million for businesses with a turnover over £45 million
- £50 million for businesses with a turnover over £250 million
The scheme has been extended to 31st March 2021.
Bounce Back Loan Scheme
The Bounce Back Loan scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. 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 will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.
The scheme has been extended to 31st March 2021.
Statutory Sick Pay Rebate
Small and medium-sized businesses will be able 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.
Time to Pay
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 deferred VAT between 20th March and 30th June 2020 and still have payments to make, you can:
- Pay the deferred VAT in full on or before 31st March 2021
- Opt in to the VAT deferral new payment scheme when it launches this year
- Contact HMRC if you need more time to pay.
Find out more about VAT deferral (external link)
Deferral of self-assessment payments
Self-assessment payments normally due to be paid to HMRC by 31st July 2020 can now be deferred to January 2021.
COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility
The Bank of England will buy short-term debt from larger companies to help ease the supply of credit to all businesses. This will support companies which are fundamentally strong but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze.
Universal Credit and New Style Employment Allowance
If you are not eligible to receive statutory sick pay you can apply for Universal Credit or New Style Employment Allowance.
Protection from eviction for commercial tenants
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction.
These measures will mean no business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises until the end of March 2021 (extended from the end of December 2020).
This is not a rental holiday, all commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent, but this final extension to protection from the threat of eviction will give landlords and tenants until the end of March 2021 to come to an agreement on unpaid rent.
GM LEP funding
The Greater Manchester LEP, working with the Growth Company, has unlocked an initial £3m package of urgently needed financial support for Greater Manchester businesses battling the impact of coronavirus.
DWP Employer Help for Recruitment
DWP have launched the employerhelp website (external link) which focuses on recruiting, and encourages use of the Government Matching Service ‘Find a Job’, a free service with more than 1.8m registered users.
Apprenticeship support funding
The government have announced a brand new bonus for employers to hire apprentices over the next six months. From August 2020 to January 2021, any firm that hires a new apprentice aged 16 to 24 will receive £2,000, while those that hire new apprentices aged 25 and over will be paid £1,500.
Industry placements - T-Levels
Designed in partnership with employers to give a young person aged 16 to 19 who is taking a T Level qualification the skills and knowledge to get on in the workplace.
T Levels combine classroom learning with industry placements to prepare young people for skilled work or higher level study.
Sector-based work academies
A flexible programme tailored to meet your recruitment needs, including pre-employment training, a work experience placement and a guarantee of a job interview. Normally runs as a work experience placement at your business, pre-employment training off site or online. It is available to anyone receiving out of work benefits from 18 upwards.
Traineeships are a flexible education and training programme, led by training providers working alongside employers.
£1000 per young person placement (up to 10 incentive payments per employer, per region) is available for employers offering traineeship work placements between 1st September 2020 and 31st July 2021.