Latest Information for Businesses

For businesses seeking grant funding related to COVID-19, information is available here

We are working with our local high street shops so they can reopen safely. For businesses seeking guidance, please visit the We Are Back website here

Covid-19 Guidance for Businesses 

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced extra help for  businesses in the 2020 Budget and in a series of follow-up statements from 17th March onwards. Information covered by this guidance includes a package of measures to support businesses and incorporates the most recent statement the Prime Minister gave at the coronavirus press conference on 31st October:
  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - Claim for 80% of your employee’s current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500, if you have put them on furlough because of coronavirus (COVID-19). The online application form remains live and the scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021. Please note claims for furlough days in December 2020 must be made by 14 January 2021. – see link in Related Content.
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments - please use this link
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) - please visit this link
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England*
  • Grants for Businesses - The following grants are now open to apply online if your business meets the eligibility criteria, please carefully read the policy for each scheme; Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) - for businesses forced to close during the national lockdown between 5 November and 2 December 2020, Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) - for businesses affected by the Essex ‘High’ level restrictions between 17 October to 4 November, Local Restrictions Support Grant (Sector) and Additional Restrictions Grant. Click here to read more and apply on Business Rate support page. 
  • Essex Business Adaptations Fund (EBAF) - To help businesses fund the adaptations they need to make to their business in response to COVID regulations. Businesses must have been open to visiting members of the public on 4 November 2020. First come first served, if funds remain final closing date now extended: Tuesday 29th December 2020 at 5 pm.  Click here to read more and apply on Business Rate support page.
  • The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. The SEISS Grant Extension provides critical support to the self-employed in the form of two grants, each available for three month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021. Find out if you're eligible, when it opens and how much you can get by using the website. Find out if you're eligible, when it opens and how much you can get by using the website.
  • Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) - The Bounce Back Loan scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000. The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 6 years, but you can repay early without paying a fee.  No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year. Any business that has already taken out a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan of £50,000 or less can apply to have this switched over to this scheme.  However, you only have until 4 November 2020 to arrange this with your lender.  Apply for it using this link. Closing Date: The scheme has been extended and is now open for applications until 31 March 2021
  • Future Fund – This scheme will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable toaccess other government business support programmes because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit. Use link for further informationThe scheme has been extended and is now open for applications until 31st January 2021.
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). This scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance of up to £5 million. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months. Please visit website using this linkClosing Date now extended: 31 March 2021
  • the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS). The scheme helps medium and large sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £200million. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender. Apply using this linkClosing Date now extended until 31 March 2021. 
  • The Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) The Bank of England will buy short-term debt from large companies. This scheme will support your company if it’s been affected by a short-term funding squeeze, and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms. It will operate for at least 12 months (from March 2020), and for as long as steps are needed to relieve cash flow pressures on firms that make a material contribution to the UK economy.  Please see further information here using this link.
  • Changes to Insolvency laws.***

Please note the following grants are now closed.

  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief* - This scheme is now closed to applications
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000* - This scheme is now closed to applications
  • Discretionary Business Grants Scheme: Rochford District Council was allocated a limited pot of government funding to support certain businesses and charities which have been impacted by COVID-19, but were not eligible for either the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund or the Small Business Grant Fund. Grants of up to £10,000 were available and based upon applicants meeting a number of criteria. This scheme is now closed and all funds have been awarded.

Please see link to all government guidance on financial support for businesses here


*Business Rates
The Council’s latest information on Business Rates Reliefs and Business Grants can be found here 

***Changes to Insolvency laws

The UK’s Insolvency Framework will add new restructuring tools that mirror the USA’s Chapter 11 procedure, a well-established model adopted by countries around the world.  This includes:
  • A moratorium for companies giving them breathing space for from creditors enforcing their debts for a period of time whilst they seek a rescue or restructure;
  • Protection of their supplies to enable them to continue trading during the moratorium; and;
  • A new restructuring plan, binding creditors to that plan
The proposals also include key safeguards for creditors and suppliers to ensure they are paid, while existing laws against fraudulent trading and the threat of director disqualification will continue to act as an effective deterrent against reckless misuse of these new measures.
The Government will also temporarily suspend the wrongful trading provisions to give company directors greater confidence to use their best endeavours to continue to trade during this pandemic emergency, without the threat of personal liability, should the company ultimately fall into insolvency.

Businesses and venues that must remain closed to members of the public

Please note from Tuesday 5th January 2021 until further notice England is in National lockdown: Stay at Home Please refer to latest government guidance here.
Other measures the government have introduced to assist businesses are:-

Rules that have been relaxed to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic

A list of the rules that have been temporarily relaxed to make it easier for businesses to continue working through the disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) are listed on the following webpage - follow this link

Business tenancies

Business owners affected by the pandemic will be protected from eviction until the end of March 2021.