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

You will find all available government support listed below:

Small Business and Retail Grant Funding

The Small Business and Retail Grant Funding schemes are now closed for applications.

Discretionary Business Grant Fund (if you do NOT qualify for the small business grant funding)

The Discretionary Business Grant Fund scheme is now closed for applications.

Small Business Recovery Grants

The Small Business Recovery Grants is now closed for applications.

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:

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.

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

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.

  • 1st round - 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. It will be open for an initial 3 months to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000. You will be able to make your first claim by the beginning of June
  • 2nd round - for those eligible for the scheme, there will be an extension allowing self employed individuals to claim a second and final grant payment in August. The grant will be worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits and capped at £6,750 in total.

Find out more about the Self-employed Income Support Scheme (external link)

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.

Cash grant for retail, hospitality and leisure

The cash grant for retail, hospitality and leisure has now ended.

Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme is now closed.

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, known as ‘furloughed workers’. 

The Chancellor has recently announced that this scheme will be extended to October 2020:

  • June/July - HMRC will reimburse 80% of your wages, up to £2,500 per month
  • August - the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions
  • September - the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500
  • October - the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.

Find out more about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (external link)

Job Retention Bonus

The government have 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.

Employees must earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (£520 per month) on average between the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the end of January 2021. Payments will be made from February 2021.

Further detail about the scheme will be announced by the end of July 2020.

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

Find out more about the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (external link).

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.

Find out more about the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (external link).

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.

VAT deferral

UK registered businesses will not need to make VAT payments normally due with VAT returns during this period for three months. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020-21 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period.

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 if they miss a payment up until 30th June 2020. There is the option for the government to extend this period if needed.

This is not a rental holiday. All commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent. Commercial tenants are protected from eviction if they are unable to pay 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.


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