Sam Baxter

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Essentials: Accessing COVID-19 Relief Schemes for my business

Coronavirus / 26 March 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, has announced numerous economic measures aimed at assisting businesses in mitigating against the financial consequences posed.  Here we concentrate on the practicalities of how the key schemes are accessed.  In most cases, you don’t need to do anything; the authorities will contact you.

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme
This is a cash grant of up to £25,000 for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.  Importantly it is per property, so it is not just aimed at small businesses.  The rateable value of the property determines the amount of the grant: up to £15,000 means a grant of £10,000; between £15,000 and less than £51,000 means a grant of £25,000.

The entitlement criteria are that:
– The business must be situated within England;
– The business is retail, hospitality or leisure based; and
– The rateable value of the business is under £51,000.

How do I access it?
Local authorities will write directly to business owners to inform them that they are eligible.

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
This does what it says on the tin.  To be entitled your business must be based in England and be in one of these sectors.

How do I access it?
No action is needed.  It will apply to the next council tax bill you receive in April 2020.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme
This is a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits, capped at £2,500 per month.  Currently this is available for the next three months.  The entitlement criteria should be checked, but the highlights are that a person must have submitted an Income Tax Self Assessment return for 2018-19, traded in 2019-20, intend to trade into 2020-21, and have lost trading profits due to COVID-19.  Your trading profits must be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income comes from self-employment.

How do I access it?
HMRC will contact you if you are eligible.  It is currently not possible to apply.  HMRC currently advise that you should not contact them, otherwise it will add to a delay in introducing the scheme.  They are not expected to make contact until June.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Our employment team has already reported on this scheme, click to read their advice.  This essentially will be a reimbursement of 80% of staff wages (up to £2,500 per month) for those who have been asked to stop working.

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates
This applies to businesses that receive small business rate relief or rural rate relief and are based in England.  It will be a one-off grant of £10,000.

How do I access it?
Your local authority will write to you; you do not have to do anything.

It is important to remember that this is a constantly evolving situation.  Currently the details are light, and the gaps are being filled in.  For now, it seems that businesses will be contacted directly. This may be frustrating and mean that nothing happens immediately – but the relevant authorities need time to set up these schemes most of which are entirely new.


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This update is for general purposes and guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should seek legal advice before relying on its content. This update relates to the prevailing circumstances at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments. If you have general queries about our updates, please email:

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