The government has announced a range of measures to support businesses across the UK cope with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here, we bring you the latest information and advice - what support is available, who can claim it, and how to claim it.

This page will be updated as new information is announced.


Getting 80% of wages paid

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was created to cover at least 80% of workers' wages up to £2,500 a month.

All businesses are eligible for the Scheme, but it only available for workers who would have otherwise had their job cut because of the virus. If your business is able to operate as normal, you are not eligible.

In order to access the scheme, staff must be designated as 'furloughed workers' and notified of that fact. You will then need to notify HMRC of furloughed workers and their salaries through an online portal. This portal is currently been developed.

Statutory Sick Pay

The government has brought forward legislation to allow businesses to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay for staff off sick due to COVID-19.

Small and medium-sized enterprises with fewer than 250 staff as of 28 February 2020 are eligible. The refund will cover up to two weeks' of SSP and businesses must maintain records of staff absences, although a sick note will not be required.

Further information on how to claim the rebate will be released when the legislation has been passed.

Self-employed workers

The Self Employment Income Support Scheme will allow self-employed and freelance workers who have lost earnings due to Coronavirus to claim 80% of their average monthly earnings over the past three years, up to £2,500 a month.

Those who have make a profit of £50,000 or less, those who earn the majority of their income through self-employment and those who have been self-employed more than one year (have a tax return for 2019) will be eligible.

Further information on how to claim the grant will be released when the system has been finalised. At announcement, the Chancellor warned the system is unlikely to be ready until June.


VAT payments deferral

VAT payments will be deferred for a three month period. This will apply from 20 March 2020 until 20 June 2020.

All UK businesses are eligible and the measure will be introduced automatically. Businesses do not need to make a VAT payment during the period, but any liabilities accumulated during the period must be paid by the end of the 20/21 financial year.

Income Tax

Income Tax Self-Assessment payments will be deferred for six months. Any payments due on 31 July 2020 will not be due until 31 January 2021.

Any self-employed worker is eligible for the deferral. The measure is automatic and requires no action.

Time to Pay

In addition to the measures outlined above, any business with outstanding tax liabilities or in financial distress as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak may be eligible for support from HMRC Time to Pay service.

Arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis. Businesses should call the dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Business rates

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries will pay no business rates for 12 months regardless of rateable value. Other businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will pay no business rates for six months.

Nurseries based in England, listed on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and that wholly/mainly provide Early Years Foundation Stage will also pay no business rates for the 20/21 financial year.

No action is required, however, some local authorities may reissue your bill automatically to remove the business rates charge.


Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme will provide businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure industries a grant of up to £25,000 per property.

The Scheme is available to businesses based in England.

Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less will receive £10,000 per property. Those with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive £25,000 per property.

No action is required, eligible businesses will soon be contacted by their local authority.

Small Business Grant Scheme

The Small Business Grant Scheme will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to small businesses already paying little or no business rates through the small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief schemes.

No action is required, eligible businesses will soon be contacted by their local authority.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will support loans of up to £5 million for small and medium-sized businesses. The government will guarantee 80% of the loan (subject to per-lender cap on claims) with zero-interest for 12 months or charges.

Businesses based in the UK with revenues of less than £45 million, and those that meet the British Business Bank's criteria, are eligible.

Further information and applications can be found here.