On 23 March the Government stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives. All non-essential premises must now close as set out in this guidance from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.

You can subscribe to receive the coronavirus (COVID-19) email updates. View all previous messages in our email campaign archive.

We also publish news on our Newsroom website. You can subscribe to Newsroom for the latest news by email.

Government guidance

The Government has published and is continually updating the following guidance:

Guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19: guidance for employees. You can find further advice on financial support on our information for residents page.

Business rates relief

A number of business rates reliefs have been introduced:

Business rates retail relief to be increased from 50% to 100% during 2020/21 and available to all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with no rateable value cap as set out in the government’s expanded retail discount guidance.

Pub relief is available for those with a rateable value below £100,000 during 2020/21 to receive a £5,000 reduction instead of £1,000.

Find out about business rates relief for nurseries during 2020/21.

VAT and tax

You can find guidance on the GOV.UK website on the deferral of VAT payments due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Self Assessment tax payments due in June have been deferred until January 2021. Visit the GOV.UK page on Pay your Self Assessment tax bill.

Business support grants

The government issued local authorities with guidance on the new grants relating to coronavirus disruption on Monday 23 March. We are writing out to all eligible businesses explaining the scheme and confirming how businesses can apply for payment of the grant. The intention is to make payment in early April, in line with government guidance.

Apply for a business support grant

In response to the coronavirus emergency, the Government announced there would be support for small businesses and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors on March 23. This support includes two grant funding schemes, the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund. If you are eligible for one of these grant funding schemes, it will be administered and delivered by us (or your local council if not based in South Gloucestershire).

Before you apply, read our privacy notice which explains how we will use your data.

You should be aware that funding claimed through unlawful behaviour will result in prosecution and action taken to reclaim any funds issued.

To apply for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund through us, use the Apply for a business support grant button below.

Do not use this form if you are hoping to apply for the discretionary fund. Refer to the section below for details.

Apply for a business support grant

Business support grants discretionary fund

We are pleased to announce that the government is providing a further Discretionary Fund to the existing Business Support Grants. This is to help support businesses that did not meet the criteria for the current Business Support Grants. The Discretionary Fund will provide support to some small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs that are able to demonstrate a significant drop in income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic restriction measures.

The fund is expected to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and Bed and Breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.

Check details and apply for the Discretionary Small Business Support Grant. 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is now open for applications and assessment online.

The grant funding provides support for those who are self-employed either as a sole trader/freelancer or a member of a partnership and have been trading during the 2018/19 tax year.

Claims for loss of earnings can be backdated from March. The grants will be issued as soon as possible as a single instalment worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits and will cover three months work.

For more information and to apply for the scheme read the GOV.UK guidance: Claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Existing support available

Financial hardship scheme

Any business experiencing financial hardship may make a claim for help with their business rates. In extreme cases of hardship, up to 100% relief can be awarded. This reduction will usually be granted where it is evident that the business is particularly important to the local community.

Financial advice

  • if you are struggling to pay your business rates, call us so that we can discuss alternative options with you on 01454 867700
  • we are applying the 100% discount for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses for 12 months automatically and will write to you with a revised bill
  • we are awaiting further guidance on the cash grants referenced by the Government for small businesses at which point we will write to eligible businesses
  • we are contacting our commercial tenants and we will provide support to those facing difficulties in paying their rent

Government support

Support for employees

Advice and guidance can be found on our information for residents page.

Self employment income scheme

Self-employed people are able to claim taxable income support worth 80% of their average monthly income, which is capped at £2,500 per month if they are adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

You can find the eligibility criteria, more information and claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

Furlough leave

Furlough leave has been temporarily introduced by the government to provide employers with an option to keep employees on the payroll without them working. Businesses can claim 80% of their employees’ wages from the government, up to a maximum of £2,500 per person, per month before tax. The company can top up this pay if it chooses. It must write to affected employees to let them know they have been furloughed.

This scheme will operate for at least three months from 1 March, although reimbursements to companies will not start until at least the end of April. On GOV.UK you can work out 80% of your employees’ wages to claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Any employer (of any size) is eligible for the scheme. To be eligible the employer must have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020 and have a UK bank account.

There is also a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: step by step guide available for employers. You can apply for the scheme through the Government Gateway.

Support for businesses

Statutory Sick Pay will be available from day 1 rather than day 4 and if you employ less than 250 people, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded in full by the government.

If you manage a pub, club or a theatre and have an insurance policy that covers you for pandemics, you will be able to make a claim.

Mortgage lenders will support customers who are experiencing financial difficulties by giving them mortgage holidays for up to 3 months.

If you are eligible for any of the above discounts or grants, we will send you further information and a new business rates bill. Any payments you make in the meantime will be deducted from your bill.

Other support for your business

The government has launched a service called Find coronavirus financial support for your business to help businesses see what support is available to them.

Business interruption loan scheme

As a small or medium size business you can apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to access finance of up to £5 million.

If you are a large business with an annual turnover of over £45 million you can apply for the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme to access loans of up to £25 million.

Small business loan scheme

Small businesses can benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders as announced by the Chancellor on 27 April 2020.

The new Bounce Back Loans Scheme strengthens the existing package of support available to the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic by providing loans of up to £50,000. The scheme is designed to ensure small businesses needing vital cash injections to keep operating can get finance in a matter of days.

The government will pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months .

The scheme launches for applications on Monday 4 May 2020 and businesses can access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.

Advice for food businesses

Our Environmental Health team have produced the following guidance for businesses that offer food delivery (for example takeaways, fast food outlets and food businesses that are changing to offer food delivery) during the coronavirus pandemic. If you are setting up a new food business, you should download and complete our food business registration form.

The Food Standards Agency have published a checklist for businesses reopening during COVID-19 and also a checklist form is available as a pdf for printing.

Advice for sports clubs and organisations

Support from Sport England

Sport England has announced a £195 million funding package to help sport and physical activity through the COVID-19 outbreak. Supported by the government and the National Lottery, the package is made up of:

  • a £20 million Community Emergency Fund, to which clubs and community organisations are able to bid for grants between £300 and £10,000 to help meet their obligations, such as rent and utility costs
  • a £5 million pot for existing partners of Sport England to bid into if they are facing specific financial difficulty
  • a £55 million pot to fund new and innovative ways to keep people active and, when the period of restrictions is over, to help organisations get back to business and adjust to a different environment
  • a £115 million rollover of current funding into 2021/22 to give long term certainty to over 100 well established partners of Sport England, who play a vital role in the delivery of sport and physical activity

Answers to your questions

Our contact centre is currently receiving a high number of enquiries, so we have pulled together the common questions we are being asked, this information is updated regularly. Visit our answers to your questions page.

Beta This is our beta website, your feedback can help us improve it.