Advice and guidance to help businesses through COVID-19

We recognise that these are exceptionally difficult times for businesses and will work with our partners to provide you with information, advice and guidance.

Full details on the support available for businesses can be found on the government's website at: Business support - GOV.UK

Business grants

There is grant support available during Covid local and national restrictions

More information, including eligibility and how to apply for business grants during COVID.

Loan schemes

Two business interruption loan schemes are available to provide lending facilities for business across the UK that are experiencing lost or deferred revenues leading to disruptions to cash flow.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is targeted at small and medium sized businesses with access to finance products of up to £5m.

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme is for businesses with an annual turnover of between £45m and £500m.

The Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan scheme is designed to help small and medium sized businesses affected by coronavirus to apply for loans of between £2k and £50k.  The government will guarantee 100 per cent of the loan and there will not be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. 

Under the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) the Bank of England will purchase debt from companies that make a material contribution to the UK economy. 

Other financial assistance

On 24 September 2020, the Chancellor announced that businesses who deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June 2020 will now have the option to pay in smaller payments over a longer period.  Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, businesses can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022, interest free.

You will need to opt-in to the scheme, and for those who do, this means that your VAT liabilities due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 do not need to be paid in full until the end of March 2022. More about VAT payments.

Those that can pay their deferred VAT can still do so by 31 March 2021.

If you are concerned that you might miss another tax payment because of the impact of COVID-19, you should contact the HMRC

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until March 2021.    Guidance and how to claim.

To find out if you are eligible for the Job Retention Bonus from 15 February 2021 read the guidance documents.  If eligible you will be able to claim it between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021.

The government will also support SMEs with the cost of paying Statutory Sick Pay for employees affected by COVID-19 apply for Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme,

Where can I get advice about managing employees through COVID-19?

There are many employment issues arising out of the COVID-19 outbreak, including:

  • Staff welfare
  • Working from home and social distancing
  • Furloughing staff
  • Managing absence due to sickness
  • Managing absence for staff that need time off to look after dependents

The government have published advice on a number of these issues. 

Wherever possible, employees should be allowed and enabled to work from home. 

The government’s advice is that employers should make socially responsible decisions about managing employees that cannot work from home.  Employees should be able to raise concerns, and employers should take a pragmatic approach towards working arrangements.  Read the government advice Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do

ACAS have produced a helpful guide for employers and employees:  They also have live twitter coronavirus Q&A sessions weekly.

What support is available to help me manage my property and associated bills?

The National Business Crime Centre has published advice on how to keep your business premises safe during COVID-19.  Read more about business premises safety

The Financial Conduct Authority has published guidance on how they expect mortgage lenders to behave during COVID-19 and provide advice on how you can apply for a mortgage holiday.  Find out more about mortgage guidance.

On 23 March, the government announced that commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 would be protected by new legislation.  Read the news release.

The Citizen’s Advice Bureaux have published advice for small businesses struggling to pay their energy bills

Where can I get support to access the help available?

The government has set up a helpline for businesses wanting advice or information about government backed financial schemes. Call 0800 998 1098

The local Business Improvement Districts are working hard to advocate for the businesses that they represent and to provide support to the business community.  Their websites provide helpful information and local contact details:

The London Growth Hub is a portal to support businesses in London to manage and mitigate their exposure to the impact of coronavirus. 

The Federation of Small Businesses has set up a hub providing advice and guidance for small businesses and the self-employed affected by COVID-19.

The South East London Chamber of Commerce is regularly updating their advice to businesses on their website.

I am self-employed or freelancing.  What support is available for me?

The government will pay self-employed people who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month.  The scheme is called the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.  You can check your eligibility for the scheme.  In order to access the scheme, you will need to make a claim for a payment.

The scheme has now been extended in the form of two further grants, each available for three month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021. More about the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension.

You can also defer income tax self-assessment payments due in July 2020 until 31 January 2021. This deferment is optional. Find out more about deferral of Self-Assessment payment.

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed has advice for freelancers and the self-employed during the pandemic. Read the advice

What additional support is available for charities?

In addition to the business support packages which are also available to the charitable sector, the Chancellor has announced an additional £750m funding for frontline charities.  Read the press release here.

Charitable and community organisations can apply for funding from the London Community Response Fund to help meet the needs of the community through COVID-19.  More information about the fund.

Contact us

If you cannot find the information you need on our website, please email