Coronavirus - Support for businesses

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 are working with our partners and the government as quickly as we can.

You will find all available government support listed below.

Latest support announced:

Other support currently available:

Closed schemes:

Latest support announced

New £1 billion fund announced

The Chancellor announced a new £1 billion fund, including cash grants of up to £6,000 per premises for each eligible firm, on Tuesday 21st December. We are awaiting further information guidance, and funding from the government which we expect to receive in January 2022. As soon as we know more, we will update this page and work to administer the scheme and distribute funding as quickly as possible.

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG 3)

We are awaiting final details for the new ARG 3 and will update details here once we have them.

Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF)

A new Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) business rate relief fund for businesses that have been ineligible to receive other grant funding. We are awaiting final details for the CARF and will update details here once we have them.

Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG)

Available to qualifying businesses in the Hospitality, Leisure and Accommodation sectors. Our business rate team have contacted those businesses that meet the criteria inviting them to apply. The government have indicated that takeaway businesses and gym/fitness businesses do not qualify for this grant.

If you are in the Hospitality, Leisure and Accommodation sector please first check your inbox and junk mail folder, if you have not received an email please email

Other support:

Restart Grant - scheme is now closed

As of 31st July 2021, the Restart Grant Scheme is closed and all payments have been made.

Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG) for businesses

The government made available a Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) for businesses affected by COVID related government restrictions last year. 

Applications now closed.

Help to Grow

A new set of schemes called help to grow will help small and medium sized businesses across the UK to learn new skills, reach new customers and boost profits.

Kickstart Scheme

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:

Community Ownership Fund

The UK government has launched a new £150 million Community Ownership Fund to help ensure that communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can support and continue benefiting from the local facilities, community assets and amenities most important to them.

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 is now closed.

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

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 ended on 30th September 2021.

Grants have been paid in 4 lump sum instalments each covering a 3-month period. The fourth grant covered a 3-month period from 1st February 2021 until 30th April 2021.

The UK government has also announced that there will be a fifth and final grant covering May to September. You will be able to claim from late July if you are eligible for the fifth grant. The amount of the fifth grant will be determined by how much your turnover has been reduced in the year April 2020 to April 2021.

Further details will be provided on the fifth grant in due course. The grants are taxable income and subject to National Insurance contributions.

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality, leisure and nurseries

In England, businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will have the rates holiday extended to 30th June 2021, with 2/3rds (66%) reduction for the remaining 9 months for those businesses required to close on 5th January 2021, with a lower cap for those who have been able to stay open.

Nurseries will also receive the 100% relief followed by 66% relief or maximum £105K per business for other eligible properties. This will be administered through the business rates system. 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 ended on 30th September 2021.

Please be aware of the following deadline date to submit the final monthly claims:

  • 14th October 2021 - the final date to submit claims for September 2021

Recovery Loan Scheme

The Recovery Loan Scheme will launch on 6th April 2021, following the closure of the current COVID-19 debt schemes - the (CBILS), (CLBILS) and the (BBLS) - on 31st March 2021.

The Recovery Loan Scheme was scheduled to run until 31st December 2021, but in the 2021 Autumn Budget the Chancellor announced that this loan will be extended until the 30th June 2022.

The Recovery Loan Scheme will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on eligible loans between £25,000 and £10 million to give them confidence in continuing to provide finance to UK businesses.

The scheme will be open to all businesses, including those who have already received support under the existing COVID-19 guaranteed loan schemes.

  • Up to £10m facility per business - The maximum value of a facility provided under the scheme will be £10m per business. Minimum facility sizes vary, starting at £1,000 for asset and invoice finance, and £25,001 for term loans and overdrafts
  • Turnover limit - There will be no turnover restriction for businesses accessing the scheme
  • Wide range of products - Businesses will be able to choose from a variety of products including term loans, overdrafts, asset finance and invoice finance facilities
  • Term length - Term loans and asset finance facilities are available for up to six years, with overdrafts and invoice finance available for up to three years
  • Interest and fees to be paid by the business from the outset - Businesses will be required to meet the costs of interest payments and any fees associated with the facility
  • Access to multiple schemes - Businesses who have taken out a CBILS, CLBILS or BBLS facility will be able to access the new scheme, although the maximum they can borrow will depend on their lender’s assessment and scheme requirements
  • Credit checks for all applicants - Lenders will be required to undertake credit and fraud checks for all applicants. When making their assessment, lenders may overlook concerns over short-to-medium term performance owing to the pandemic. The checks and approach may vary between lenders.

From 1 January 2022, the following changes will come into force:

  • The scheme will only be open to small and medium sized enterprises (turnover <£45m)
  • The maximum amount of finance available will be £2 million per business (maximum amount per Group limited to £6m)
  • The guarantee coverage that the government will provide to lenders will be reduced to 70%.

These changes will apply to all offers made from 1 January 2022.

Different lenders will have different lead times for processing applications, and it may not be the case that applications made before 31 December 2021 will be subject to the current terms. Applicants should check with their preferred lender

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.

Please note you can only claim for employees who were off work on or before 30th September 2021. 

You must submit or amend claims on or after 31 December 2021.

If you cannot pay your tax bill on time

You must arrange to pay your tax bill with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if you either:

  • Miss a payment
  • Know you cannot pay on time.

If you pay a tax bill late you must pay interest on the amount you owe until it is paid off. You can avoid penalties by arranging a payment plan with HMRC before the tax is due, or by 1st April for self-assessment.

VAT deferral - now closed

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
  • Join the VAT deferral new payment scheme - the online service is open between 23rd February 2021 and 21st June 2021
  • Contact HMRC by calling 0800 024 1222 by 30th June 2021 if you need extra help to pay.

You may be charged interest or a penalty if you do not:

  • Pay the deferred VAT in full by 31st March 2021
  • Opt into the new payment scheme by 21st June 2021
  • Agree extra help to pay with HMRC by 30th June 2021.

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. The COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility closed to new applications on 31 December 2020.

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.

The £20 a week uplift on Universal Credit that the government announced ended on 30th September 2021.

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.

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 to come to an agreement on unpaid rent, until the 25 March 2022 when the protection ends. 

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 new Apprenticeship Incentive payments for newly recruited apprentices is being doubled to £3000 for all new apprenticeship hires of any age.

Employers who hire a new apprentice between 1st April 2021 and 30th September 2021 will receive £3,000. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment for all new apprentices aged 16-18 years and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Apprenticeships across different employers

From July 2021, the government are introducing a £7M fund to help employers in England set up and expand portable apprenticeships. This will enable people who need to work across multiple projects with different employers to benefit from the high-quality long-term training that an apprenticeship provides.

Employers themselves will also benefit from access to a diverse apprenticeship talent pipeline. Employers will be invited to bring forward proposals, and the Creative Industries Council will be asked to do so in recognition of the potential benefits of this new approach for the creative sector.

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.

The government will provide an additional £126 million in England for high quality work placements and training for ages 16-24 in the 2021/22 academic year. Employers who provide trainees with work experience will continue to be funded at a rate of £1,000 per trainee.


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