Business and self-employed advice and support
Additional Restrictions Grant update
The following changes that have been made to our Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) policy with immediate effect.
Scheme extended to end of June 2021
Minimum loss of turnover reduced from 30% to 20% when comparing 2020/21 figures with 2019/20 figures
SEISS recipients with fixed business property costs are now eligible
If you have previously applied and been refused, and would now be eligible under the revised criteria, you do not need to reapply - we will automatically review your original claim.More info
The latest government business support including financial support and advice can be found on their website.
Business East Sussex provides free and impartial government funded business support across East Sussex. During the current COVID-19 crisis the team can help businesses navigate through the range of emergency measures announced by government, and help you find what you may be eligible for.
The team can also help with supporting businesses to remain resilient through these challenging times, and by providing support on many areas including cash-flow planning, advice on how to find finance, support with diversifying your business, and accessing support to grow.
Support for artists, arts organisations and creative industry businesses
The Culture Recover Fund is now live.
Music Venues Fund
- For venues whose main function is to present live music for public audiences and all live music venues, multi-arts venues for which music is a major part of their activity - including pubs, cafes and bars. To support venues to remain solvent and are no at imminent risk of insolvency.
- More information on Emergency Grassroots Music Venues Fund
National Lottery Project Grants
- For projects, but prioritising independent organisations, creative practitioners and freelancers, also for museums and libraries. Increased pot until April 2021. Match funding is no longer required.
- Dates: rolling applications, 6 to 12 week turnaround depending on value.
- Projects can apply for £1,000-£100,000 .
- More information on project grants.
Culture Recover Fund: Grants
- For cultural organisations (both profit and not for profit) based in England that are properly constituted and are registered at Companies House and/or Charity Commission, and are able to produce at least one year's full independently certified or audited financial statements.
- More information on culture recover fund grants.
Culture Recover Fund: Repayable Finance
- Details still to be released.
- Dates to be confirmed.
- Can apply for loans of over £3 million. An investment of £270m in long-term loans over £3 million.
More information on culture recover fund repayable finance.
Developing your creative practice
- Details still to be released.
- £18 million to for creatives to develop their practice
- Keep an eye out for updates on the Arts Council website
Support for freelance workers
- Details still to be released
- £2 million to be invested
- Please check the Arts Council website for more details.
National Lottery Heritage Fund & Historic England
Cultural Recovery Fund for Heritage
- For organisations across the heritage ecosystem that were financially sustainable before COVID-19, have exhausted all other financing options and are now at risk of failure.
More information on the Cultural Recovery Fund for Heritage
The British Film Institute
Health & Safety Strand
- For cinemas to put the necessary measures in place to ensure the safety of their workforce and the public
- Dates: 10 August - 30 October
- Cinemas apply for up to £10,000
More information on the culture recovery fund for independent cinemas.
Business Sustainability Grant
- To support independent cinemas to operate viably under the restricted conditions imposed by Covid-19
- Dates: 10 August-30 October
- Can apply for up to £200,000
More information on the culture recovery fund for independent cinemas.
The British Film Institute (BFI) - Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund
The British Film Institute (BFI) has joined forces with the Film and TV Charity to create a new fund to help support the creative community, which has been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Applications for this fund are currently closed.
The Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund has been established with a £1 million donation from Netflix. It will provide emergency short-term relief to active workers and freelancers (individuals) who have been directly affected by the closure of productions across the UK. The Fund will be open to those working in production, distribution and exhibition. The Film and TV Charity is currently working on the precise eligibility criteria and level of individual funding.
Help Musicians (HM) - Coronavirus Hardship Fund
Help Musicians created a £5m Coronavirus Hardship Fund to alleviate some of the immediate financial pressures that many professional musicians (individuals) may be facing.
This fund is no longer taking new applications.
Applications for this fund are submitted through an online form and offers a one-off payment of £500 per applicant.
The fund is open to anyone that satisfies their general criteria for support:
- You are a professional working musician (i.e. performer, composer/creator or directly involved in the production of music, or in work for which the main qualification is a high level of musical training)
- You are self-employed or currently unemployed
- You are in need of financial help
- You satisfy the residency requirements
Please note - the funder encourages musicians only to apply if they are suffering significant financial hardship to enable them to provide help quickly to those who need it the most.
Heritage craftspeople and heritage consultants
Support for businesses
Postponing of Business Rates Revaluation (originally due April 2021)
On 6 May 2020 the government announced that the Business Rates Revaluation will no longer take place in 2021 to help reduce uncertainty for firms affected by the impacts of Coronavirus.
For more information, please go to the government's website.
Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure
Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year. Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019-20 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.
More information on Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure.
Bounce Back Loans scheme for small businesses
The new Bounce Back Loans scheme is now available. These loans will be 100% government-backed.
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.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Under the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme are able to access support to continue paying part of their employees' salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, otherwise described as 'furloughed workers'. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and is in place until the end of October and employers can use this scheme anytime during this period.
New flexibility will be introduced to the scheme from August to get employees back to work and boost the economy.
To make a claim, go to the Government's website.
Statutory Sick Pay Rebate
The Government has passed legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for staff sickness absence due to coronavirus. This refund will cover up to 2 weeks' SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of coronavirus.
More information on Statutory Sick Pay Rebate.
Financial assistance for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments
If an employer cannot afford to pay their employees redundancy pay, they can apply to the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS) (part of a government agency called the Insolvency Service) for financial assistance. If approved, the RPS will make statutory redundancy payments directly to the redundant employees on the employer's behalf.
More information on Financial assistance for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments.
Business Rates Holiday for Nurseries
Nurseries in England do not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year.
More information on Business Rates Holiday for Nurseries.
The Government will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months.
More information on VAT Deferral
Self-Employed Income Support Scheme
'Cleaners, plumbers, electricians, musicians, hairdressers and many other self-employed people who are eligible for the new scheme will be able to apply directly to HMRC for the taxable grant, using a simple online form, with the cash being paid directly into people's bank account'.
They will be eligible for receiving a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years up to a max of £2500 each month. It will cover 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment.
The key elements are:
- You have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19.
- You have traded in the tax year 2019-20.
- You are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19.
- You intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21.
- You have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19.
- Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income comes from self-employment.
- If you started trading between 2016-19, HMRC will only use those years for which you filed a Self-Assessment tax return.
- If you have not submitted your Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, you must do this by 23 April 2020.
HMRC will use data on 2018-19 returns already submitted to identify those eligible and will risk assess any late returns filed before the 23 April 2020 deadline in the usual way.
Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.
Be aware of scams
It is highly likely that a new wave of scam emails, calls and text messages claiming to be from HMRC regarding the Self-Employed Income Scheme will start to circulate. They will no doubt be offering financial help in exchange for you bank details etc. and probably contain a link where an email or text is concerned.
The messages will be scams - do not respond, delete immediately. HMRC do not contact people out of the blue asking for these details.
Be vigilant, stay safe.
Income Tax Deferral for all taxpayers
Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.
More information on Income Tax Deferral
Time to Pay
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.
More information on Time to Pay.
New measures to protect UK high street from aggressive rent collection and closure
High street shops and other companies under strain will be protected from aggressive rent collection and asked to pay what they can during the coronavirus pandemic.
Extra protection for businesses with ban on evictions for commercial tenants who miss rent payments
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction, the government has announced. These measures will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next 3 months.
More information on Extra protection for businesses.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
This scheme will help businesses affected by coronavirus to access bank lending and overdrafts if they need to. For loans up to £5 million, the Government is providing a guarantee of 80% for each loan. This will give lenders the confidence to continue to provide finance to businesses. The Government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee.
More information available at Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan 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.
Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility
The new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) means that the Bank of England will buy short-term debt from larger companies. This will support companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms. The scheme will be funded by central bank reserves - in line with other Bank of England market operations. It will operate for at least 12 months, and for as long as steps are needed to relieve cash flow pressures on firms that make a material contribution to the UK economy.
Help and support for businesses