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Northampton residents urged to take action as local cases rise above national rate. Plus find out how to book a test and see testing locations in Northamptonshire Latest Coronavirus updates

Covid-19 advice for businesses

General information & support for businesses

Grants and loans currently available

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

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

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. 

The online service to reclaim SSP is not avaliable yet. HMRC will announce when the service is avaliable. 

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate 

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.

Time to Pay 

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.
  • 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. 

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

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. 

Further details about this announcement available here. 

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. 


  • Charities across the UK will receive a £750m package of support to ensure they can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • £750m pot for frontline charities across the UK - including hospices and those supporting domestic abuse victims.
  • £360m direct from government departments and £370m for smaller charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund.
  • Government will match donations to the National Emergencies Trust as part of the BCC's Big Night In fundraiser later this month - pledging a minimum of £20m.
  • Departments will now work at pace to identify priority recipients, with the aim for charities to receive the money in the coming weeks. The application system for the National Lottery Community Fund grant pot is expected to be operational within a similar period of time.

£750m for Charities

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.