Support for businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions in England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland

Support for businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions in England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Mon 19th Oct 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced support for businesses affected by new restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have also confirmed funding. This post is being updated with the latest details.

Sunak made his first announcement on 9 October ahead of prime minister Boris Johnson's confirmation of England's three new COVID-19 alert levels; medium, high and very high.

They are defined as follows:

  • Medium: The current restrictions including the rule of six and a 10pm curfew on hospitality businesses.

  • High: The current restrictions including the rule of six and a 10pm hospitality business curfew plus a ban on the mixing of households and social bubbles indoors. People advised to reduce the number of journeys they make and work or cycle where possible.

  • Very high: A 10pm hospitality business curfew plus a ban on the mixing of households and social bubbles indoors and outdoors and the closure of pubs, bars, leisure centres, sports facilities, betting shops, adult gaming centres, casinos and indoor gyms and fitness/dance studios. Wedding receptions are also not allowed. Pubs and bars can remain open if they serve "substantial meals" such as a main lunchtime or evening meal. They can only serve alcohol as part of such a meal. People advised to not travel in and out of these areas.

The coronavirus restrictions in local areas in England can be checked here.

There are also local lockdown restricitions in certain areas of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In Scotland, a new system of COVID protection levels comes into force on 2 November. The restrictions placed on hospitality businesses under the protection levels in Scotland are here.

Coronavirus local lockdown support for businesses

The support for businesses affected by the new restrictions is as follows:

Expansion of the Job Support Scheme

This scheme was due to launch on 1 November 2020 but has been delayed following the announcement of the second lockdown in England from 5 November to 2 December. This is the current guidance for the Job Support Scheme:

Businesses legally required to shut as part of local or national restrictions or businesses facing reduced demand can claim grants to pay part of the wages of staff who cannot work through the Job Support Scheme (JSS). It applies to all of the UK. Full government guidance is here.

Employers need to agree a JSS temporary working agreement with any eligible employees. The agreement must cover at least seven consecutive days. Full government guidance on temporary working agreements is here.

Employers can claim a monthly grant in arrears to cover some of their usual wage costs for hours not worked in the prior month.

There are two versions of the schemes:

  • JSS Open: If your business is still operating but you have reduced employees' working hours due to decreased demand. Full guidance here.

  • JSS Closed: If you have been forced to close your business premises by law and have instructed employees to stop working. Full guidance here.

JSS Open is a grant covering 61.67% of an employee's wages for hours not worked, up to a total of £1,541.75 per month. Employers must contribute 5% of the cost of hours not worked up to £125 per month for each employee.

JSS Closed is a grant covering 66.67% of an employee's wages, up to a total of £2,083.44 per month.

For both Job Support Scheme grants you still need to deduct and pay the taxes and employee National Insurance contributions (NICs), and pay employer NICs to HMRC on the full amount paid to the employee, including any grant from the scheme.

You can claim through the JSS if you are experiencing reduced business activity due to coronavirus and you have:

  • created and started using a UK PAYE scheme on or before 23 September 2020

  • enrolled for PAYE online

  • a UK, Channel Island or Isle of Man bank account

Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme in England

Businesses forced to close in England will also be provided with grants. Payments will be made as follows:

  • Properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under will receive grants of £667 per two weeks of closure (£1,334 per month).

  • Properties with a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive grants of £1,000 per two weeks of closure (£2,000 per month).

  • Properties with an rateable value of £51,000 or over will receive grants of £1500 per two weeks of closure (£3,000 per month)

A Treasury spokesperson has told Enterprise Nation that the scheme launches on 1 November but full details have not yet been released.

The government has confirmed to Enterprise Nation that the grants will also apply to businesses forced to close nationally such as nightclubs.

We have asked for clarification of the full details. This post will be updated when we get a response.

To help the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland fund grant schemes, the government is increasing the previously announced minimum of at least £12.7bn in additional resource funding to at least £14bn.

This means at least £7.2bn for the Scottish government, £4.4bn for the Welsh government and £2.4bn for the Northern Ireland Executive.

Local lockdown grants and other support for businesses in Scotland

The Scottish government's COVID-19 Restrictions Fund provide one off grants to businesses affected by restrictions in Scotland implemented on 9 October.

Up to £2,000 is payable to businesses with a rateable value of up to £51,000 and for those with a rateable value of £51,001 or above, the grant is £3,000.

A hardship fund with grants of up to £1,500 is aimed at supporting some businesses that remain open but are directly impacted by the restrictions such as those in the direct supply chains of businesses forced to close.

The first round of applications focus on:

  • hospitality businesses and some gyms, required by the new regulations to operate in a restricted way

  • producers/wholesale businesses based in Scotland supplying primarily short-life goods or produce to hospitality businesses required by the regulations to close or operate in a restricted way and able to evidence a minimum 25% reduction in turnover during the brake period

Applications are open on on local authority websites until 5pm on Tuesday 3 November. Full details are here.

Nightclubs and soft play centres that have been closed by law since March can access grants as follows:

  • £10,000 grant for a property with a rateable value of £18,000 or under

  • a £25,000 grant for a property with a rateable value between £18,001 and £51,000

  • a £50,000 grant for a property with a rateable value above £51,001

Eligible businesses do not need to apply for this funding. Their local authority will contact them.

The Scottish government is also providing £9m of funding to help with the costs of re-furloughing staff by supporting the 30% salary contribution required by the UK government through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. More details on that have not yet been released.

Support for closed businesses in Wales

The Welsh government has announced a 'fire break' lockdown across Wales which started at 6pm on Friday 23 October and ends on Monday 9 November.

All non-food retail, hospitality businesses, including cafes, restaurants and pubs (unless they provide takeaway or delivery), close contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, and events and tourism businesses, such as hotels must close.

Businesses can access grants through the Lockdown Business Fund as follows:

  • Every business covered by small business rates relief will receive a £1,000 payment.

  • Small and medium-sized retail, leisure and hospitality businesses which have to close will receive a one-off payment of up to £5,000.

  • Additional discretionary grants of £1,500 and £2,000 for other businesses forced to close or suffering an 80% reduction in turnover. Full details here.

  • The previously announced £80m fund to help businesses develop in the longer term will be increased to £100m. It includes £20m ring-fenced for tourism and hospitality.

Local authorities in Wales are administering the grants. You can find links to local authority websites here.

Local lockdown grants for businesses in Northern Ireland

Businesses in Northern Ireland affected by local lockdown restrictions will receive the following amounts through the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme:

  • Businesses up to £15,000 Net Annual Value: £800 for each week that the restrictions apply

  • Businesses between £15,001 and £51,000 Net Annual Value: £1,200 for each week that the restrictions apply

  • Businesses over £51,000 Net Annual Value: £1,600 for each that restrictions apply

The scheme applies to the following businesses:

  • Cafes, pubs and restaurants that have been temporarily forced to close or limit their services to a takeaway, delivery or outdoor service

  • Hotels, guesthouses and registered bed & breakfasts that have been temporarily forced to limit the provision of services for residents only

  • Close contact services operating in commercial premises such as hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons, day spas, nail bars and tattoo parlours who have been forced to close

  • Other businesses required to cease to carry that business or to provide that service, including campsites and caravan parks for touring caravans, cinemas, museums, galleries, bingo halls, funfairs, indoor amusement arcades, indoor visitor attractions, trampoline parks, inflatable parks, escape rooms, bowling alleys and ice rinks.

Businesses can apply here. Full guidance is here.

The latest coronavirus support information

We are keeping you updated on the latest information COVID-19 business support, funding and advice in Enterprise Nation's coronavirus business advice hub. Follow Enterprise Nation on Twitter too for updates.

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I have 18 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from billionaires like Sir Richard Branson to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community and have strong connections to major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 50 events; from intimate meet-ups to conferences with an audience of hundreds including events for international brands like Facebook and Xero. I'm also a big fan of podcasts having hosted Enterprise Nation's Small Business Sessions as well as lots of online events including Facebook Live interviews, webinars and three live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography. I'm here to help. I'm volunteering free advice calls of up to an hour as part of the Recovery Advice for Business scheme, over the next 6 months. Please get in touch to see how I can help your business. 

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