Government advice and financial support

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

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

Following the recent lockdown announcement, the government has extended its furlough scheme for another month with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked. You can check if you're eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on the government's website.

Businesses will also be given until the end of March 2021 to access the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. These had been due to close at the end of January. This announcement comes ahead of the Budget, which the Chancellor has confirmed will take place on 3 March 2021. Further information can be found here.

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.


New - support grants for businesses

For the 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 through to the Spring.

Support for businesses affected by coronavirus restrictions

Check your eligibility for national and local grants here.

Support for SMEs

Apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Future Fund and Coronavirus Bounce Back Loans here.

Bounce Back Loans

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.

Contact your local council to apply for the 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 monetary schemes and funds

Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended through to December 2020 following recent announcements. Furloughed workers will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, and up to £2500. Read more about the furlough scheme on this webpage. If you need help, you can find it here.

The government has launched a new calculator to help employers with their next claims. Employers can use the calculator to work out how much they have to pay their furloughed and flexibly furloughed employees, how much they can claim for employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions and how much they can claim back. You can access the new job retention calculator via this link.

Employers can now also download a template if you're claiming for 100 or more employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (for claims on or after 1 July 2020). You can download the new template on this webpage.

Job Support Scheme

The government's Job Support Scheme has been expanded to support businesses across the UK required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions. The government will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries to protect jobs over the coming months, and cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdowns has also increased to up to £3,000 per month.

Kickstart Scheme

The Government has launched the Kickstart Scheme to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit.

Funding is available for businesses to cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions for Kickstart placements. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.

Businesses able to create 30 or more job placements can apply for the funding directly on the Government website.

Smaller businesses interested in creating fully-funded job placements need to apply through an intermediary. The process for SMEs seeking to apply in the West of England is currently being confirmed. Please email us on wearegrowth@westofengland-ca.gov.uk to register your interest in creating a Kickstart placement and we will provide further detail as soon as it is available.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme supports self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. 

If you’re eligible for the second and final grant, and your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020, you can make a claim on or before 19 October 2020. Read the guidance on this webpage.

You can claim for the second grant even if you did not make a claim for the first grant. Claim a grant via this link. If you have different circumstances it can affect your eligibility.

If you're self-employed or member of a partnership, find out how your circumstances can affect your eligibility for the scheme on this webpage to understand how HMRC works out trading and non-trading income for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.

Coronavirus Future Fund

This scheme will issue convertible loans between £125,000 to £5 million to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak. The application deadline has been extended to January 31 2021.

Business support measures

The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy has now 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

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 also 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.

Increased financial support for businesses and workers

The government has announced it will significantly increase the generosity and reach of its winter support schemes to ensure livelihoods and jobs across the UK. Please note this builds on agreements reached with Local Authorities moving to Alert Level very high, with extra support for businesses, jobs and the economic recovery. You can find out more on the government website.

Additional information on apprenticeships

You need to hire an apprentice who:

  • is new to your organisation
  • starts their contract of employment and their apprenticeship with you between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021

For apprentices aged:

  • 16 to 24, employers will receive £2,000
  • 25 and over, employers will receive £1,500

You can spend the payment on anything to support your organisation’s costs, from facilities and travel to uniforms and salaries. This is in addition to the £1,000 payment the government has already given to help employers meet the needs of some groups of apprentices in the workplace. 


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