Coronavirus: information and advice about COVID-19

Information and advice for businesses

Businesses that have to close and those that can remain open

Further businesses and premises to close

Business Closures and Stay at Home FAQs

Has your business been affected by the Coronavirus?

Government Coronavirus Business Support

As the latest news on COVID-19 evolves, we are aware that local businesses are facing multiple impacts. Please fill in SEMLEP's short 3 minute survey so we can best understand and support the challenges businesses are facing at this time.

SEMLEP Growth Hub Support

The information provided will help us develop our advice, guidance and support. As a result, we will be able to effectively help your business in this current environment.

The following links provide current information on the effect that the Coronavirus could have on both your business and employees

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 

  • All UK employers will be able to access support to continue to pay part of their employee's salary for those employees that would otherwis be laid off during this crisis. 
  • HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers' wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement and are aiming to get this done before the end of April (HMRC will set out further details on the information required to access this).

Self-employment Income Support Scheme 

  • This scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month. 
  • HMRC will use the average profits from the previous three year's tax returns to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.
  •  Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational. HMRC will then pay the grant to eligible claimant's bank accounts. 
  • Grants are expected to start to be paid by the beginning of June 2020. In the interim the self-employed will still be eligible for other government support including more generous universal credit and business continuity loans. 

Deferred VAT and Income Tax Payments

  • VAT payments are deferred for 3 months (first quarter of next financial year). If you are self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021. 
  • This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. 

VAT Deferral 

Income Tax Deferral for the Self-Employed 

Business Rates Relief 

  • The Government is increasing the business rates retail discount to 100% for 2020-21 financial year for all eligible businesses (no rateable value threshold) and includes leisure, hospitality and nursery sectors. 
  • Businesses that received the retail discount in 2019-20 will be rebilled by their local authority. Those businesses eligible for the newly expanded retail discount may need to apply to their local authority to receive the discount. 
  • Nurseries in England do not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year. 

Business rates: expanded retail discount guidance provided by the government

Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure 

Business Rates Holiday for Nurseries

Business Grant Funding

  • All businesses currently eligible for small business rate relief (SBRR) or rural rates relief (RRR) will receive a one-off grant of £10,000 per business.
  • All active businesses currently in receipt of these relief will be eligible for this grant. 
  • All eligible small businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors will receive a cash grant - not just those in receipt of SBRR. 
  • Businesses in these sectors with a property which has a rateable value below £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000, while businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £14,999 and £51,000 will receive a flat grant of £25,000. 
  • No action required for businesses, your local authority will contact you if you are eligible for cash grants. 

Business rates: expanded retail discount guidance provided by the government

Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure 

FAQ for Business Support Grants

Statutory Sick Pay

To support businesses experiencing increases in costs or financial disruptions, small and medium-sized businesses and employers will be able to reclaim up to two weeks' SSP paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. This will be temporarily available to those who are advised to self-isolate. It will also apply to people caring for those within the same household who display Coronavirus symptoms and have been told to self-isolate. A new style Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit will be available to those that are not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay.

The eligibility criteria of the scheme will be as follows: 

  • Employers will be able to reclaim up to two weeks for any employee who has claimed SSP as a result of COVID-19.
  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible.
  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
  • The eligible period for the scheme commenced on 13th March. 

Time to Pay Upscaled

  • A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC's dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

  • New temporary Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, to be launched on Monday 23rd March to support businesses to access bank lending, overdrafts, asset finance and invoice finance to a value of up to £5 million.
  • The Government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The Government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and will also cover the first 12 months of interest payments and fees. 
  • You should talk to your bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them. This will help your finance provider to act quickly. If you have an existing loan with monthly repayments you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to help with cash flow. 
  • More information on the scheme, including the list of lenders who will be offering finance under it, can be found on the British Business Bank website

Rent Support for Businesses 

  • Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. These measures will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment up until 30 June. 
  • There is the option for Government to extend this period if needed. 
  • This is not a rental holiday. All commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent. Commercial tenants are protected from eviction if they are unable to pay rent. 

Commercial Insurance 

  • Most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics or unspecified notifiable diseases, such as COVID-19.
  • However, those businesses which have an insurance policy that covers government ordered closure and pandemics or government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable diseases should be able to make a claim (subject to the terms and conditions of their policy)
  • Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. 

Corporate Financing Facility

  • The Bank of England will buy short-term debt from larger companies, this will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities. 
  • Scheme begins w/c 23rd March, more information will become available on the Bank of England website


  • All pubs, restaurants and cafes will be able to offer takeaway and delivery services if they wish. Permitted Development Right will be introduced shortly to pubs, restaurants and cafes to act as hot food takeaways without going through the usual planning process. 

Call for Businesses to make NHS ventilators

  • The government is looking for businesses who can support in the supply of ventilators and ventilator components across the UK as part of our response to COVID-19.
  • If you think your business can help, please register your details below. 

Register your details online

Business Support Helpline

Business Support Helpline (England)
Telephone: 0300 456 3565
Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm

Northampton Borough Council are closely monitoring the situation and will update this page as and when further Government guidance is released.