What the government is doing

On Tuesday 17 March 2020, the Chancellor announced a package of government-backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses, making available an initial £330bn of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of GDP.

The government announced a number of additional measures to support businesses and workers on Friday 20 March. They include:

  • A job retention scheme which will pay 80 per cent of salaries up to £2,500 a month for those out of work for the next three months
  • VAT payments will be deferred for the next quarter and businesses have until the end of the financial year to repay their bills
  • The Universal Credit standard allowance will increase by £1,000, for the next 12 months, as will the Working Tax Credit basic element
  • The minimum income for Universal Credit will be suspended. That means self-employed people can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for employees.
  • Self-assessment payments will be deferred to 2021.

Grants for small businesses

As a small business you may be eligible for a grant during the coronavirus pandemic.

You can find all the details on our small business grant page.

Advice for employers and business owners

We are working with our partners to ensure that local businesses are given the support and advice they need at this crucial time. The latest information and guidance for employers and business can be found on the gov.uk website.

Supporting your employees

People who follow advice to stay at home and who cannot work as a result are eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP), even if they are not themselves sick. As an employer, you are expected to use your discretion and respect the medical need to self-isolate in making decisions about sick pay.

You can support staff who are not eligible to receive sick pay, by letting them know that they can claim Universal Credit and/or contributory Employment and Support Allowance.

More information about Coronavirus, sick pay and benefits is available on the Understanding Universal Credit website.

Statutory sick pay refunds

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide 2 million businesses with up to £2bn to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.

Businesses trading internationally

Advice and support is available for UK businesses that export or deliver goods and services abroad.

This includes:

  • Department for International Trade (DIT) support for UK business trading internationally
  • Financial support for business trading internationally

British businesses that may face disruption due to the spread of coronavirus can contact DIT’s dedicated business support team

Paying tax

A new HMRC helpline has been launched to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to COVID-19.

If you run a business or are self-employed and have concerns about tax, you can call 0800 0159 559 for help and advice.

Cheshire and Warrington Growth Hub

As part of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the Hub offers a range of information, advice and updates on its website for local and regional businesses.


Useful links