Covid-19: A Guide to Supporting Your Business

In uncertain times, businesses need clarity and knowledge. Here's an extensive guide to accessing financial support to help keep your business trading

By The Fleximize Team

This page was last updated on 09.02.21 and may no longer be accurate. 
Please continue to keep up to date with your local authority and refer to the coronavirus section of the gov.uk website for the latest government advice. 

Quick Links

Business Advice

Government Guidance

FSB Support

Advice for Employers

Government Support

Statutory Sick Pay Relief

Business Interruption Loans

Grants & Funds

Business Rates Relief

Paying Taxes

Financial Support

Support From Your Bank

Help From Fleximize

Finance Options

The impact of the Covid-19 outbreak has caused large ripples throughout the global economy, and Britain's small businesses have been left feeling the pinch. As always, we're committed to supporting you, your business, and the wider SME community at this most difficult of times. Below you'll find:

If you have any questions about what we’re doing and how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – our number is 020 7100 0110, or you can email us at [email protected]

Business advice

The Government’s advice on coronavirus is changing all the time in line with updates from leading scientists and health professionals. For the most up-to-date advice on the Government’s response visit gov.uk, which also has lots of useful information for businesses and the self-employed:

Government Guidance

For advice on self-isolation, identifying symptoms, and how to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus, visit NHS England.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has an in-depth guide to keeping your business afloat during the pandemic. It covers everything from:

Insurance: Claiming on your business interruption cover and working with your insurer.

HMRC: Including the deferment of tax payments, SSP & Employment Allowance.

Local authority issues: Applying for grants and hardship funds, and the emergency business rate relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

Financial support: Talking to your bank or lender about finance options, customers about payment, and landlords about rent.

FSB Guidance

Being an employer brings a unique challenge at this point. The CIPD website provides a full fact sheet, FAQs and actions to take to help manage your employees. It's a helpful resource for both business owners and HR teams. Key advice and resources include: 

You can visit the CIPD website by clicking the button below.

Employment Guidance

Government support

This crisis has impacted businesses in all industries all over the world, and needs a co-ordinated and strong response. Since the start of the pandemic, the Government has rolled out a series of measures designed to minimize the impact on UK businesses. The Government has also created a business support tool to help you discover the support available to you and your business. 

Open Support Schemes

Statutory Sick Pay ReliefGrants for Businesses Forced to CloseBusiness Rate HolidaysCoronavirus Job Retention SchemeSelf-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) | Insolvency Law ChangesAnnual Leave Allowance |  Hospitality & Tourism VAT CutApprenticeship and Trainee Incentives£594m Discretionary Fund | Job Retention Bonus |  Recovery Loan Scheme

Closed Support Schemes

Job Support Scheme (Not Open Yet) | Small Business Grant FundTime to Pay & VAT Deferments | Eat Out to Help OutCoronavirus Future FundInnovate UK Grants & Loans | Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme | Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme | Bounce Back Loans

Jobs Support Scheme

The Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) is a scheme designed to provide support to businesses that are looking to retain employees but are facing reduced demand or have been forced to close due to coronavirus restrictions. It's been expanded to incorporate two schemes - JSS Open and JSS Closed.

JSS Open:

JSS Open covers those businesses that are able to operate safely but are facing a reduction in demand due to coronavirus. Each employee needs to work at least 20% of their normal hours, and the employer must continue to pay them for those hours as per usual. 

On top of this, the employee will get 66.67% of their usual pay for the hours not worked, made up of a combination of payments from the Government and the employer. The Government will pay 61.67% of the employee's salary for those not worked (up to £1,541.75 per month) and the employer will pay 5%, up to £125 per month). 

The combination of these payments means the employee will continue to receive a minimum of 73% of their usual wages, as long as they earn up to £3,125 per month. Employers will still be eligible for the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus.

JSS Closed:

JSS Closed covers businesses that have been legally required to close due to coronavirus restrictions. Each employee will continue to receive two-thirds of their usual pay. This amount will be paid by the employer and is fully-funded by the Government. This is capped at £2,083.33 per month, but the employer is allowed to top this up themselves at their discretion.

How to apply:

This scheme is scheduled to open when the extended Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme ends in April 2021. Further information will be added here in due course.

Statutory Sick Pay relief

Through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, businesses can be refunded up to 2 weeks of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) per eligible employee.

The key facts:

How to apply:

Once you have paid your employees' sick pay, you can claim back online here. Employers who are unable to use the online service should have received a letter about alternative ways to claim, but you can contact HMRC if you are unsure. 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) (Closed)

This is a government-back temporary loan scheme for smaller businesses experiencing disruption due to coronavirus, delivered by the British Business Bank in partnership with over 100 accredited lenders.

The key facts:

How to apply:

Businesses don't have to fail being approved for a lender's other products before being offered CBILS. This scheme is due to end on 31st March 2021. Businesses will need to apply through an accredited partner via the lender's website. You'll need to let them know how much you'd like to borrow, how long you'd like to pay it back, and what the money is for. 

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)(Closed)

This is a government-backed temporary loan scheme for medium and larger businesses negatively impacted by Covid-19, delivered by the British Business Bank in partnership with accredited lenders.

The key facts:

How to apply:

This scheme is due to end on 31st March 2021. Businesses will need to apply through an accredited partner via the lender's website.

You'll need to let them know how much you'd like to borrow, how long you'd like to pay it back, and what the money is for. 

Recovery Loan Scheme

With the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) now closed, the government has announced a new Recovery Loan Scheme to provide further support to businesses.

The key facts:

How to apply:

Businesses can apply via an accredited lender from 6th April 2021 until the end of December 2021. Further details on how to apply and the names of accredited lenders will be announced soon. Find out more information here.

Small Business Grant Fund (Closed)

This was additional funding provided by the Government to local authorities, designed to support small businesses that pay little or no business rates due to small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief.

The key facts:

How to apply:

This scheme has come to an end. Click here to find another support scheme.

Grants for Businesses Forced to Close

Top-up cash grants worth up to £9,000 for retail, hospitality, or leisure businesses forced to close under the latest coronavirus restrictions imposed on 4 January 2021. This funding is on a per-property basis and is likely to affect over 600,000 business properties.

The key facts:

How to apply:

Businesses should apply to their Local Authorities who are administering the grants. In many cases, you will only need to make one application to be considered for the various schemes which are overseen by your local council. You can find out more information here.

Business Rates Holidays

The Government has announced a business rates holiday for all businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, as well as nurseries. This was due to end in March 2021 but has been extended until 30th June 2021. 

The key facts:

How to apply:

You don't need to do anything - this will automatically be applied. You can find your local authority here.

Culture Recovery Fund

In July 2020, a £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund was implemented to aid the survival of cultural organisations during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was subsequently announced in the 2021 Budget that the scheme will receive a further £400 million. In addition, £325m of support will be available for professional sport and grassroots football.

The key facts:

How to apply:

Details on how to apply for the latest round of funding will be published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in due course. 

Community Ownership Fund

In March 2021, the government revealed a new £150m Community Ownership Fund as part of its annual budget announcement. The fund is designed to help local communities take over pubs at risk of permanent closure, along with theatres, shops, sports clubs, and other local amenities. 

The key details:

How to apply:

The first bidding round will open in June 2021. At this time, a full bidding prospectus will be published with details on how to structure a strong bid and the assessment criteria.

Restart Grant Scheme

As part of the 2021 Budget, the government announced a new £5bn Restart Grant Scheme designed to help businesses that have been forced to close by Covid-19 restrictions. 

The key facts

How to apply

The grants will be distributed directly to firms by local authorities from April 2021. 

Super Deductions

A new tax "super-deduction" policy was announced in March 2021 as part of the government's investment-led approach to economic recovery. In an effort to revive business investment, companies that purchase new equipment over the next two years will be able to benefit from new capital allowances. 

The key facts:

How to apply:

Claims will be deducted from your profits before tax on your tax return. 

Additional English Freeports

In the 2021 Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed plans to regenerate the economy by helping UK businesses to grow and invest. This included the creation of special economic zones, known as freeports. 

The key details: 

How to apply:

The freeport bidding process has now closed, and the selected freeports will begin operations from late 2021. 

Time to Pay & VAT Deferments (Closed)

HMRC has set up a dedicated helpline for those struggling to make payment for VAT under their Time to Pay service. HMRC also confirmed that any VAT payments that were due between April and June 2020 could be deferred for all businesses (where required) and repaid in monthly installments until March 2022 at the latest. 

The key facts:

How to apply:

The new payment scheme for deferred VAT is open until 21st June 2021, and you can find out more about how to join the scheme here. Time to Pay arrangements are made directly with HMRC. For more information on problems paying your tax bill on time, contact the HMRC Covid-19 helpline

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Update: This scheme is due to close at the end of September 2021.

Businesses and organisations are able to apply for a grant from HMRC that will cover the wages of furloughed workers who aren’t able to work temporarily due to reduced business activity or closure.

The key facts:

How to apply:

To access the scheme, you need to designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify employees of this change. You then need to submit information about these employees and their earnings to HMRC. This scheme is due to close in September 2021. You can find out more information here

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Update: The SEISS has been extended. See below for further details.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) was launched to support self-employed individuals in the form of grants. The scheme initially offered two grants, the first covering the period of March to May 2020, and the second covering from June to August 2020. The scheme has since been extended to a total of five grants, with the last due to cover from May to September 2021. 

The key facts:

How to apply:

Applicants will need to use the online claims service that will become available at the end of April 2021. If eligible, you'll be contacted by HMRC with a personal claim date, after which you can make your claim. More details are due to be announced, so we recommend checking the SEISS application page frequently. 

Changes to insolvency law

The Government has announced a number of permanent and temporary changes to UK insolvency law designed to remove personal liability from directors and help businesses weather the storm of Covid-19.

Some of the temporary measures introduced have been extended. The suspension of wrongful trading measures was initially set to expire on 30th September 2020 but has since been re-introduced until April 2021. 

The key facts:

How to apply:

These changes will apply retrospectively from 1st March 2020. For more information on applying for a moratorium, click here

Annual Leave Allowance

The Government has introduced a temporary law to deal with any disruption to annual leave entitlement for employees due to coronavirus. This allows employees to carry their annual leave forward if the pandemic has prevented them from taking it. 

The key facts:

How to apply:

You don't need to apply to the Government for these changes, as they should be implemented by your employer. You can find out more information here

Coronavirus Future Fund (Closed)

Update: This scheme closed for applications at the end of January 2021.

The Future Fund was established to support UK startup businesses during the pandemic. The UK government pledged £500 million match funding to aid such businesses that were unable to access other government-backed schemes because they're either pre-revenue or pre-profit. 

The key facts:

How to apply:

Applications for the Future Fund closed on 31st January 2021. You can find out more information on other schemes available to you here.

Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme (Closed)

As part of a new coronavirus package in April 2020, the UK Government announced £750 million of targeted support for the most R&D intensive SMEs.

The key facts:

How to apply:

The deadline for project proposals was 13th January 2021. More details about the competition and how the funds were used can be found here.

Bounce Back Loans Scheme (Closed)

Small business owners can access loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 in a matter of days using the Bounce Back Loans Scheme. Unlike CBILS, the lender doesn't have to absorb any of the losses, and the application process has been made more streamline so businesses can access funds faster.  

The key facts:

How to apply:

BBLS is available through a range of British Business Bank accredited lenders until 31st March 2021. You can apply for a Bounce Back Loan here.

Job Retention Bonus

To avoid as many redundancies as possible and to protect the nine million jobs that have, at some point, fallen under the Job Retention Scheme, Government has announced a new Job Retention Bonus. The scheme is intended to encourage businesses to keep their staff employed once the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme comes to an end. 

The key facts:

How to apply:

You cannot claim the Job Retention Bonus until 15th February 2021. More information on the Job Retention Bonus Scheme can be found here.

Hospitality & Tourism VAT Cut

To provide immediate relief and protection for the 150,000 businesses and 2.4 million jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors, Government has announced a VAT cut for businesses in these sectors.

The key facts:

How to apply:

You won't need to apply for this VAT cut as it's automatically applied. 

Eat Out to Help Out Scheme (Closed)

To help protect jobs and businesses in the hospitality sector, Government announced a new "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme, giving the public a 50% discount on meals, with participating restaurants able to claim back the remaining 50%.

The key facts:

How to apply:

This scheme has come to an end. Click here to find another support scheme.

Plan for Jobs

To encourage employers to create more traineeships and apprenticeships for young people struggling to find employment during the pandemic, Government has announced a raft of new incentives including a £2 billion Kickstart Scheme.

The key facts:

How to apply:

To receive an incentive payment for an apprentice, you must have an apprenticeship service account. From 3rd February 2021, employers can either apply for the Kickstart scheme directly online or through an official Kickstart gateway. More details on applying can be found here

Help to Grow

The £520m Help to Grow scheme was launched to support 130,000 SMEs across the UK with digital and management training. The scheme is intended to help small and medium-sized businesses get access to a range of essential training from leading UK business schools. 

The key facts:

How to apply:

You can register your interest in the Help to Grow scheme here

£594m Discretionary Fund

Following the announcement of further lockdown measures in January 2021, a £594m Discretionary Fund was made available for businesses through the local authorities and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. 

Key Facts:

How to apply:

Businesses need to apply directly to their local authority for access to this funding. Please check gov.uk for further information.

Financial support

Banks and lenders are working closely with the Government to support you and your business during the outbreak.

Choose Your Bank

HSBC | Lloyds Bank | Bank of Scotland | Halifax | Natwest |  RBS | Ulster Bank | Barclays


HSBC have confirmed they have allocated £5 billion to help businesses affected by coronavirus, and £3 billion to support importers and exporters. They are also an accredited CBILS partner.

What they're offering:

Who is eligible?

All HSBC business customers.

How to contact them:

You can contact the HSBC helpline on 08000 121 614 from 09:00 – 17:00 Monday to Friday. For those looking for a trade finance specialist, you can contact 0800 783 1300 from 09:00 – 17:00 Monday to Friday.

You can also find out more about what they are doing here.

Lloyds Banking Group (Lloyds, Bank of Scotland, Halifax)

The Lloyds Banking Group have introduced a £2 billion package to help protect SMEs from the financial impact of coronavirus. They are also an accredited CBILS partner.

What they're offering:

Who is eligible?

Any small business customers of Lloyds or Bank of Scotland Business account with a turnover of up to £25m.

How to contact them:

Speak to your relationship manager, or call Lloyds on 020 7626 1500, or Bank of Scotland on 0345 300 0268.

Lloyds Bank customers can find more information here, and Bank of Scotland customers can get support here.

RBS Group (RBS, NatWest, Ulster Bank)

RBS Group have announced £5 billion of working capital support for SMEs affected by coronavirus. They are also an accredited CBILS partner.

What they're offering:

Who is eligible?

All NatWest Business customers. Normal credit checks might still apply, decided on a case-by-case basis.

How to contact them:

Speak to your relationship manager or call NatWest on 0345 711 4477 or Ulster Bank on 0345 366 5592.

RBS customers can find more information here, Natwest customers can get support here, and Ulster Bank customers should go here.


Barclays have announced a number of initiatives to help their business customers through this difficult period. They are also an accredited CBILS partner.

What they're offering:

Who is eligible?

All existing Barclays Business customers.

How to contact them:

Barclays' helpline number is 0800 1971 0861 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm). You can find out more information here.

Help from Fleximize

Our mission has always been to provide support to small businesses where they need it most – cash flow. And during these times of economic uncertainty, keeping your cash flow as healthy as possible is even more important. So we’re not deviating from our mission – we’re here to provide you with quick, flexible capital to support your business if you need it. 

Why Fleximize?

At Fleximize, we look closely at the underlying reasons for cash flow issues, recognizing that, like now, they’ll often be out of a business owner’s control. Our flexible business loans are an attractive alternative to traditional forms of cash flow finance. Here are some of the highlights: 

 Exclusive discounts on industry-leading business services

Our flexible lending criteria means we won’t automatically dismiss a company with an inconsistent credit history. Instead, we take the unique circumstances of every business into account, with a view to saying 'yes' wherever possible.

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