Government advice and financial support

  • Job Support Scheme expanded to firms required to close due to Covid restrictions.

  • A new UK-wide Recovery Loan Scheme to make available loans between £25,001 and £10 million, and asset and invoice finance between £1,000 and £10 million, to help businesses of all sizes through the next stage of recovery.

The range of business support measures available to UK businesses and employees are detailed on the government's Business Support website and you can also use the Business Support Finder via this link.

Photo of a entrepreneur assessing business ideas

Updated guidance and support to help your business during Covid-19

Find out about the latest business bonuses, schemes and funds.

A new UK-wide Recovery Loan Scheme to make available loans between £25,001 and £10 million, and asset and invoice finance between £1,000 and £10 million, to help businesses of all sizes through the next stage of recovery.

The Job Support Scheme has also been expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions.


Support grants for businesses

Recovery Loan Scheme

The Recovery Loan Scheme supports access to finance for businesses as they recover and grow following the pandemic.

The scheme will support borrowing of up to £10m for individual businesses and up to £30m across a group, and can be used for any legitimate business purpose, including managing cashflow, growth and investment. It is designed to appeal to businesses that can afford to take out additional finance for these purposes.

Find out more.

Retail, hospitality and leisure sectors

One-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property are available to help businesses.

Support for businesses affected by coronavirus restrictions

Check your eligibility for national and local grants here.

Support for small to medium sized businesses

Browse through the support offered by Government here. 

Bounce Back Loans and Pay As You Grow

The British Business Bank has announced further details of Pay As You Grow, which helps UK smaller businesses that have taken out a Covid-19 emergency Bounce Back Loan to manage their cashflow and have a better chance of getting back to growth.

Pay As You Grow (PAYG) will enable businesses who have started repaying their Bounce Back Loans to:

• request an extension of their loan term to 10 years from six years, at the same fixed interest rate of 2.5%
• reduce their monthly repayments for six months by paying interest only. This option is available up to three times during the term of their Bounce Back Loan
• take a repayment holiday for up to six months. This option is available once during the term of their Bounce Back Loan

Borrowers can use these options individually or in combination with each other**, and remain responsible for repaying their Bounce Back Loan and fully liable for the debt.

Lenders will start to communicate Pay As You Grow (PAYG) options to Bounce Back Loan Scheme borrowers three months before repayments commence.

Lenders will inform their customers about PAYG directly, so borrowers should wait until they are contacted by their lender before enquiring about the scheme.

Lenders will advise customers about how their payment profiles may change according to their choices under the scheme. Businesses first began to receive BBLS loans in May 2020 and the first repayments will become due from May 2021 onwards.

Additional Restrictions Grant and the Local Restrictions Support Grants

Both the Additional Restrictions Grant Funding and the Local Restrictions Support Grants are managed by the local councils. To apply, contact your local council:

Available funds

Job Retention Scheme

An extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to September 2021 has been announced. Employers will be expected to pay 10% towards the hours their staff do not work in July, increasing to 20% in August and September, as the economy reopens.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

An extension of the UK-wide Self Employment Income Support scheme to September 2021 has also been announced, with 600,000 more people who filed a tax return in 2019-20 now able to claim for the first time.

UK Government Covid-19 recovery strategy

The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy has been published along with guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic. You can read the recovery strategy on this webpage and find guidance via this link

Test & Trace Requirements for businesses

Effective contact tracing remains an essential tool for continued control of the virus. As restrictions ease and businesses reopen, outbreak management will be vital in helping to keep venues open safely. Therefore, we would like to remind you of the Contact Details Regulations in England and the requirements you must follow as to help break the chains of transmission of coronavirus. 

You must display an official NHS QR code poster, have a system in place to request and record contact details of your customers, visitors and staff and do the following:

  • ask every customer or visitor over the age of 16 to scan the official NHS QR code, or provide their name and contact details;
  • keep a record of all staff working on their premises, their shift times, and contact details; 
  • offer a method for individuals to check in which does not require that person to own a smartphone or other form of technology;
  • keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested, and securely destroy them after 21 days in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR); 
  • hospitality venues only: take reasonable steps to refuse entry to those who refuse to participate (except where exemptions apply).
  • If all visitors supply their contact details in advance (e.g., through booking system) they don't need to sign in again at the venue, but they can still scan the official NHS QR code poster if they want to.

Please note, if someone does not wish to share their details, provides incomplete or incorrect information or chooses not to scan the official NHS QR code, then hospitality venues should take reasonable steps to refuse entry. This does not apply for takeaway service. Please ensure that all of your staff are familiar and trained on the rules, as failure to do any of these requirements could result in fixed penalty fines starting at £1,000. Other settings in scope of the requirements should ensure they follow all of the above steps and must ask individuals to check in, but should not refuse entry if a person does not want to participate.

The requirements above are specific to England. For more information please click here.

Guidance differs for venues in Wales. For further details please visit Keeping records of staff, customers, and visitors: test, trace, protect | GOV.WALES.



You do not need to ask individuals to check in if: 

  • the person is a police officer or emergency responder on duty; 
  • the customer’s visit is for the sole purpose of making a delivery or collection by supplies or contractors, including food or physical goods;
  • the person is under the age of 16. If an individual says they are under the age of 16, you do not need to ask for identification;
  • someone does not have capacity to provide their contact details owing to a physical or mental disability or other reason related to their health;  
  • you have reason to believe someone can’t provide the details for disability reasons and don’t ask for them as a result. Businesses will not be in breach of the requirements if this is the case;
  • the customer is homeless and unable to provide a contact number or email address. 


NHS QR Code posters - available for download here.

Hospitality venues are legally required to display an official NHS QR code poster and ensure that all individuals are asked to scan the QR code or provide their contact details. New official NHS QR code posters for the hospitality sector have been sent to all hospitality venues who had already downloaded a QR code. Please replace your existing official NHS QR code posters with the new hospitality specific posters. If you did not receive your new hospitality poster, or you need to download another poster for any reason, you can generate a new one using this link: Create a coronavirus NHS QR code for your venue - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk):

  • The new posters are distinct and stand out from the posters at venues where it is not mandatory to check in to enter, so that customers understand where they will be refused entry if they choose not to scan the official NHS QR code or provide their contact details.
  • The new posters specify that every customer must check in either by scanning the official NHS QR code or by giving their contact details. This will help customers know what is expected of them and will support your staff, who can refer to the poster to support conversations with customers. 

Please note the following when displaying the official NHS QR code poster at your venue:

  • Venues should display their official NHS QR code posters in a prominent and accessible place at the entrance and ensure that venue staff understand the do’s and don’ts. 
  • In England, if you’re currently using your own QR code system to collect contact details, we encourage you to switch to the official NHS QR code system. By supporting the official NHS system, you’ll be protecting your staff, customers and visitors. You must also ensure that you have a method of collecting contact details of customers that does not rely the individual owning a smartphone or other technology, e.g. you must also offer a non-QR code option. This is to ensure that no one is digitally excluded.
  • If you use any other QR code system at your venue, you must ensure that it does not show any NHS or NHS Test and Trace logos. You should also explain to your customers and visitors that you are using more than one QR code system in your venue. Unofficial QR codes will not work with the NHS COVID-19 app, can cause confusion for visitors, and could result in them missing important public health advice.  
  • If you do not have access to a printer you can display your official QR code poster at your venue using digital signage, for example, a TV screen or iPad. 

More tips on how to display your official NHS QR code poster can be found here https://covid19.nhs.uk/pdf/tips-for-displaying-england.pdf.

Further information and resources can be found at:

New for businesses

Job retention and income schemes

The government has released revised guidance and extensions to existing job retention schemes, statutory sick pay and self-employment income support. You can read the updates, watch the videos and listen to the webinars on this webpage.

Additional resources

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has updated the list of organisations that have produced additional resources that may be useful to employers and employees.

Federation of Small Businesses

Support offered by the National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses (FSB) can be found here.


Businesses in England that are required to shut because of local interventions will now be able to claim up to £1,500 per property every three weeks. More information is available on the government website which you can click through to here.

Export Growth Plan

A new package of measures from the government includes additional funding to help businesses recover and grow from the impact of Coronavirus:

  • Additional funding now available for small businesses in the South West of England.
  • Funds build on recent measures following the sector bounce-back plans to help businesses recover from Coronavirus.
  • Measures aim to support local jobs, growth and prosperity.


There are also 12 new International Trade Advisers to provide direct support to small businesses in the South West. And the UK Export Finance (UKEF), the government’s world-leading credit agency, can help businesses grow overseas trade and build back from the impact of coronavirus. UKEF is also expanding its network of regional Export Finance Managers to help local businesses secure the financing they need to trade internationally by appointing renewable energy specialists to put SMEs at the heart of the global transition to clean energy.

Free training with the Export Academy

A pilot Export Academy scheme has been introduced to support smaller businesses to begin their exporting journey. The Export Academy will deliver a series of activities that will build the capabilities of smaller businesses, creating a new cohort of confident businesses ready to trade. Sign up today.

UK Community Renewal Fund (UKCRF)

The UK Community Renewal Fund (UKCRF) has been introduced by the UK Government for 2021/22 to support people and communities most in need across the UK.

The UKCRF will provide £220 million of additional funding to support people and communities most in need. It also intends to help the UK move smoothly away from the EU structural fund programme and is a pilot programme to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The fund is seeking to support “innovative responses to local challenges and local needs across the UK, spanning urban, rural and coastal areas. UKCRF will test greater integration of types of interventions and greater flexibility between investment themes. This includes removing barriers that people face in accessing skills and labour market opportunities, building the evidence base for future interventions and exploring the viability of new ideas.”

Eligible projects must fall within the priority themes of:

  • Investment in Skills
  • Investment in Local Business
  • Investment in Community and Place
  • Supporting people into employment

Details on assessment criteria can be found in section 6 of the prospectus.

How do I apply?

  1. All prospective applicants should read section 5.2 of the prospectus before applying.
  2. Bid must be submitted using the UK Community Renewal Application Fund Application Form
  3. The deadline for bids is 23:59 on Friday 21 May 2021 and must be submitted using the email address: info@westofengland-ca.gov.uk  
  4. Applicants should use “UK Community Renewal Fund Application [Organisation name]” in the subject heading of their emails.
  5. Bids submitted in any other format will not be accepted.
  6. WECA will appraise all applications and produce a shortlist of projects up to a maximum of £3 million per place for submission to the UK government. The UK government will select projects in line with the selection criteria set out in the Community Renewal Fund Prospectus.

Sign up to our fortnightly Growth Hub newsletter

Be the first to hear about bespoke initiatives to help your business succeed. Sign up using our online form.