Support for Businesses, Employers and Employees

*As certain sectors prepare to return to work, guidance for employers about social distancing, using PPE, and health and safety practices in the workplace can be found in the attachment titled 'Guidelines For Workplaces' at the bottom of this page.*

Local Businesses & Members of the British Chambers of Commerce: Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce has opened a Covid-19 Helpline for any members needing support or advice, on 01604 490414.

You can also contact the Government's Business Support Helpline for free advice on 0300456 3565, or visit this page.

General information about the forms of financial support available to businesses can be found here. Information about protection from closure and aggressive rent collection is available here.


The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a package of measures to support businesses affected by coronavirus, as well as taking new legal powers, to ensure that any further necessary support can be provided. A summary of these measures can be found below. 

Job Retention Scheme

On April 20th, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme opened for applications. The job retention scheme allows employers to claim for a cash grant of up to 80 per cent of furloughed employee wages, up to £2,500 per month. You can begin your claim by visiting this page.

The Government has updated the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance to extend eligibility for furloughing of staff.  This means employers can now claim for furloughed employees that were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020, rather than the previous cut-off date of 28th February 2020.

Any UK employer with a PAYE system who agrees to retain staff during the outbreak (despite those staff being unable to undertake their ordinary work) will be able to apply directly to HMRC for a grant. This will cover 80% of salaries, up to £2,500 a month per worker. More information about claiming employee wages through the JRS is available on the Government website here.

If you are an employee, and you wish to find out more information about the JRS (including eligibility), you can do so here.

*The Government has announced that the Job Retention Scheme will be extended for four months, until the end of October. Until the end of July, there will be no changes to the scheme whatsoever.

From August to October the scheme will continue, for all sectors and all regions of the UK, but with greater flexibility to support the transition back to work.  Employers currently using the scheme will be able to bring back furloughed employees part time.  The Government will ask employers to start sharing, with the Government, the costs of paying people’s salaries.

Read more here:*


Tax Deferrals

To help businesses with cash flow in the short run, VAT payments due between now and the end of June will be delayed until the end of the financial year. For self employed people, Income Tax Self-Assessment payments due in July 2020 will be deferred until January 2021. If you find yourself in financial distress, you can contact HMRC’s dedicated helpline to get practical help and advice on 0800 0159 559.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

A temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, supports businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts, providing loans of up to £5 million with interest-free repayments for an initial twelve month period. Information about the CBILS and the application process can be found on the British Business Bank Website here.

The CBILS now serves to benefit all viable small businesses which have been impacted by coronavirus, rather than just those unable to access commercial finance. The Chancellor has also prevented banks from offering personal guarantees on loans under £250,000, and limited guarantees on loans above £250,000 to 20% of the loan, not backed by the Government. This, combined with operational changes to the loan application process, will free up funds for businesses to access more quickly and easily as part of the CBILS.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

The Government has announced a new scheme for those in need of smaller loans. Businesses can apply for the new Bounce Back Loans up to a maximum of £50,000, or 25% of turnover, with the government paying the interest for the first 12 months.  The Government will also support lending by guaranteeing 100% of the loan. More information is available here.

Business Rates

The Business Rates retail discount has been raised to 100 per cent for one year and expanded to cover all businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors.

To support around 700,000 businesses currently eligible for Small Business Rate Relief, local authorities in England are able to provide grants of up to £10,000 to small businesses. 

Small Business Grant Extension

A new discretionary fund has been set up to supplement the existing grant scheme for small businesses. Local authorities will now be able to provide grants of up to £25,000 to businesses with fewer than 50 employees. This fund is intended to support small firms previously outside the scope of the grant scheme, and includes 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. More information is available here.

Takeaway Licensing

If you own a pub that serves food or a restaurant in England, you will be able to operate a hot food takeaway to serve people staying at home, without going through the usual planning process. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has legislated to bring forward a temporary Permitted Development Right to allow for change of use from A3 (Restaurant) and A4 (Pub) to A5 (Hot Food Takeaway).


The full contents of the Chancellor's letter, and a fact sheet for businesses affected by coronavirus, are available in PDF format at the bottom of this page. 

Further information about financial support for businesses can be found on the Government website here.

Further information about financial support for employers can be found here.



Attachment Size
Chancellor's Letter_2.pdf 107.44 KB
Fact Sheet.pdf 197.68 KB
Guidelines_For_Workplaces.pdf 99.9 KB