Business support

The government has set out a range of support schemes for businesses to help them during the coronavirus outbreak.

East Hampshire District Council will lead on the administration of some grants and business rate relief. Other support can be accessed through the HMRC, the British Business Bank and the Bank of England.

Find out what support is available through the government's business support checker.

Below is the latest information we have on the support available. Details of some schemes are still to be finalised.

This page was last updated on Tuesday 26 May 2020.

Top-up grant scheme

The top-up grant scheme is for businesses not covered by existing grants.

This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs.

Once the government has issued the funding, detailed guidance and the full eligibility criteria, the council will be responsible for administering the grant.

Check back here for more details. The council will publicise the application process when it becomes available.

For more information, please visit the GOV.UK website.

Small Business Grants

Lead: East Hampshire District Council

The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief.

This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

The process for accessing grants will be simple.

This grant is subject to eligibility criteria.

Eligible businesses that the council holds direct debit details for will be given their grant automatically.

Other eligible businesses – those we don’t hold direct debit details for – will be contacted directly by the council and asked to verify their details.

Further information on this scheme, including eligibility criteria, is available on the GOV.UK website.

Verify your details

Please complete this form to confirm your details. Once this form has been processed, you will receive the grant.

Small business bounce back loans

A new government backed loan scheme for small and medium-sized businesses was launched on Monday 4 May.

Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days.

Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.

Find out how to apply on the GOV.UK website.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants

Lead: East Hampshire District Council

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000. For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.

The process for accessing grants will be simple.

This grant is subject to eligibility criteria.

Eligible businesses that the council holds direct debit details for will be given their grant automatically.

Other eligible businesses – those we don’t hold direct debit details for – will be contacted directly by the council and asked to verify their details on an online system that we will link to from this page.

Further information on grant funding is available, including the eligibility criteria, on the GOV.UK website.

Verify your details

Please complete this form to confirm your details. Once this form has been processed, you will receive the grant.

East Hampshire business rates

Lead: East Hampshire District Council

In response to the coronavirus, in the Budget on 11 March the government announced that it would increase the already proposed business rates retail discount to 100% and extend it to include the leisure and hospitality sectors.

This relief will apply to occupied retail, leisure and hospitality properties in the year 2020-21. On the 17 March, they announced there will be no rateable value limit on the relief for the retail, leisure and hospitality industries.

East Hampshire District Council sent out revised bills to 738 qualifying businesses for 2020-21 on 23 March 2020, and the amount of relief awarded is just over £13 million.

If you have not received a revised bill and belief you are entitled to retail discount, please complete and return the form below.

Further guidance for businesses can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

Lead: East Hampshire District Council

The government will be introducing a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020-21 tax year.

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be rated property:

  • occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
  • wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage

This will apply to their next council tax bill in April 2020, however, East Hampshire District Council may have to reissue their bill to exclude the business rate charge.

They will do this as soon as possible.

Further information for nurseries can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Employee support

Lead: HMRC - support for businesses through the coronavirus job retention scheme.

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

To access the scheme, businesses will need to:

  • Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.
  • Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings using an online portal.

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

If businesses need short term cash flow support, they may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (see below).

For more information and guidance, please visit the GOV.UK website.

Support for self-employed people

Lead: HMRC

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000.

The scheme will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.

More information on eligibility and the process for claiming are on the GOV.UK website.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

Lead: HMRC

The government will bring forward legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to coronavirus.

Eligibility criteria can be found on the GOV.UK website.

HMRC Time to Pay Service

Lead: HMRC

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

If businesses are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to coronavirus, then call HMRC's dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Support for businesses through deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

Deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, income tax payments due in July 2020 under the self-assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Lead: British Business Bank

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch in a matter of weeks to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.

The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the scheme will support loans of up to £1.2 million in value.

This new guarantee will initially support up to £1 billion of lending on top of current support offered through the British Business Bank.

Businesses can access the first 12 months of that finance interest free, as the government will cover the first six months of interest payments.

Support for larger firms through the Coronavirus Corporate Financing Facility

Lead: Bank of England

Under the new Coronavirus Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.

This will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities.

It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms. The scheme will be available early in week beginning 23 March 2020.

More information is available on the Bank of England website.

Support from Enterprise M3 LEP Growth Hub

The Enterprise M3 Growth Hub has a dedicated page to provide the latest government advice and you can also contact their Growth Hub advisers on 01483 478098.

Additional support and advice are available from the National Business Support Helpline on 0300 456 3565.

More information is available on the Enterprise M3 website.

If the schemes above don't apply to you

The schemes currently announced by the government will not apply to every business and every employee.

If you do not qualify, you may wish to consider applying for Universal Credit.

Please visit our Universal Credit page for more information.

General enquires

So far we have paid out 1,933 small business or retail, hospitality and leisure grants (a total value of £23.5million) - updated on 17 May 2020.

If you would like further information on the schemes detailed above, you can contact the Economic Development team by email: business@easthants.gov.uk