Coronavirus Self-Employed & Small Restricted Firm Assist

Businesses in England that are required to shut because of local interventions – such as lockdowns or “targeted restrictions” – are now be able to claim up to £1,500 per property every three weeks. This does not affect eligibility for the other forms of Government support, such as the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. Businesses still closed at a national level, such as nightclubs, are not currently eligible.

How much can I get? 

  • Businesses on premises that pay annual rent or mortgage payments of exactly £51,000 or more can claim £1,500 for every three-week period they are ordered to close.
  • Businesses on premises that pay annual rent or mortgage payments less than £51,000 can claim £1,000 for every three-week period they are ordered to close.
  • Each payment will be made for a three-week lockdown period. Each new three-week lockdown period triggers an additional payment.

How do I get the payment?

  • The grants will be administered by local authorities.
  • As soon as it is confirmed your business will need to be closed for at least three weeks, you need to contact your local authority.
  • It is then up to individual local authorities to make payments as quickly as possible.
  • Not sure how to contact your local authority? Here’s the local council website checker.

Local lockdown grant need-to-knows

  • You can’t claim for single weeks, ie, £500 for one week. It is either for a full three-week period or none. 
  • The grants are “per property”. This means if you have a business with more than one premise, such as a restaurant with two branches that are both forced to close, you will receive two grants. 
  • Further eligibility criteria may be determined by local authorities.
  • As with other Covid-19 business grants, the grants will be treated as taxable income.

Update. The Government’s announced it’s extending the scheme and will pay up to £3,000 a month to affected businesses

On 9 October 2020, the Government announced it would be increasing the cash grants available to businesses in England which are forced to shut due to local lockdowns. These grants will be worth up to £3,000 per month (payable every two weeks – we assume £1,500 per two weeks), compared with the up to £1,500 every three weeks that was available previously.

The amount your business will get under this scheme extension depends on its ‘rateable value’:

  • Small businesses with a rateable value of or below £15,000 can now claim £1,300 per month.
  • Medium-sized businesses with a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000 can claim £2,000 per month.
  • Larger businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000 can claim £3,000 per month.

The Government also said it’s extending the scheme to help businesses which have been forced to close on a national rather than a local basis.

We’re checking if this replaces the above scheme immediately, or if it comes into effect on 1 November 2020. We’ll update this guide when we know more.

New. Grants for businesses struggling due to tier two restrictions

On Thursday 22 October, the Chancellor announced that businesses in England affected by ‘tier two’ restrictions will get grants of up to £2,100/mth while restrictions apply. The funds will be distributed by local councils and it will be up to them to determine which businesses are eligible for grant funding in their local areas, and what precise funding to allocate to each business.

In Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland?

Business support is fully devolved, so it is up to the devolved nations to decide how to support businesses in their areas.

Along with announcing the increase in the level of support for businesses in England, the Government also announced it would be adding an extra £1.3 billion to the 2020/21 guaranteed funding it provides for the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It says this will help them devise similar measures, if they wish to.

Scotland

The Scottish Government is to launch its own business lockdown grants – similar to those in England – worth up to £3,000 for businesses forced to close because of local or national lockdowns, and up to £1,500 for firms which are open but impacted by lockdown restrictions.

Wales

Wales will introduce a “fire-break” at 6pm on Friday 23 October and ending on Monday 9 November. It will apply to everyone living in Wales and will replace the local restrictions which are in force in some parts of the country.

The Welsh Government has pledged a package of almost £300 million to support businesses, which will complement wage-support schemes (such as the Job Retention Scheme and the Job Support Scheme) available from the UK Government. It is set to open the week of Monday 26 October and includes:

  • A £1,000 payment for businesses covered by the small business rates relief.
  • A £5,000 one-off payment for small and medium-sized retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, which have to close. 
  • There will also be additional discretionary grants and support for smaller businesses which are struggling.
  • The £80 million fund announced in mid-October to help businesses develop in the longer term, will be increased to £100 million, which includes £20 million ring-fenced for tourism and hospitality.

Northern Ireland

For Northern Ireland, the localised restrictions do not constitute a lockdown, and presently businesses are not required to close under the current measures. There is a range of other business support available.

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