COVID-19: support for businesses

There is support available for businesses at this difficult time. Scroll down this page for more information.

For information and support, businesses in Leeds City Region concerned or affected by the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) can contact the LEP Business Support Service by:

Visit the Metro website for the latest bus and train services updates for West Yorkshire. For cycling and walking information and advice, visit CityConnect.

Support for businesses

LEP Business Support Service

Businesses can benefit from investment to purchase equipment, plant and machinery, digital equipment, develop new products and process, and save money on their energy bills through more efficient use of energy, water and waste. For more information, please contact the LEP Business Support Service or visit to learn about the support available.

The Employment Hub

Whether you need to recruit quickly to keep up with the demands of COVID-19 or you have employees at risk of redundancy, the Employment Hub can help your business through free impartial support.

If you need help with either of these issues, please book a free introduction call with a business engagement officer who will discuss your needs and offer you a tailored package of support. Find out more and book a call today.

Kickstart Scheme

As part of the government's 'Plan for Jobs', the Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The first placements are likely to be available from November. Find out more.

Supply chain support 

The University of Huddersfield has a team of supply chain experts who can help businesses to get more out of their supplier arrangements and enhance their positions within existing supply chains. This can include a deep dive analysis of current supply chains and supplier capacity, the introduction of new supply chain models to reduce risk and enhance quality, and the sourcing of more local suppliers. Email for more information.

Help to Grow management programme

The government’s new Help to Grow management programme offers the chance to take your business to the next level.

Join a practical 12-week management training programme, with 1-1 mentorship, delivered across the UK by leading business schools accredited by the Small Business Charter. The programme costs £750 and is 90 per cent subsidised by the government as part of its 'Plan for Jobs'.

Senior business leaders can sign up for the programme from June 2021. To find out more and register your interest now

Cyber security support

The North East Business Resilience Centre (NEBRC) to help SMEs address the risks of cybercrime and to secure their online systems, critical data and information, Intellectual Property, and other important business assets against the threat of cyber-attacks. Find out more.

What impact has COVID-19 had on your business?

We recognise there is a lot of uncertainty and challenges facing businesses in dealing with COVID-19. Let us know in our 5-10 minute survey what the key issues are for your business and how you are responding.

Government support for businesses


For all the latest up to date government guidance on Coronavirus support for businesses, please visit the hub on GOV.UK.


Not sure which financial support schemes you may be eligible for? Use the business support finder to find out.

Guidance for businesses and venues

The government has updated guidance setting out the restrictions on certain businesses and venues in England to reflect changes to national lockdown rules which came into effect on 12 April 2021. View guidance

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough scheme)

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is available until 30 September 2021. For claims relating to August and September 2021, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a maximum cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Claims for September must be submitted by 14 October 2021 and any amendments must be made by 28 October 2021.

Find out more.

Make your workplace Covid-secure

Guidance for working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Fourteen guides covering a range of different types of work are available to help you make your workplace Coivd-secure. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. Priority actions are outlined at the top of each guide.

Find out more.

NHS test and trace requirements for businesses

NHS Test and Trace is a key part of the country’s ongoing COVID-19 response.

There is a higher risk of transmitting Covid-19 in premises where customers and visitors spend a longer time in one place and potentially come into close contact with other people outside of their household.

To manage this risk, establishments in the following sectors, whether indoor or outdoor venues or mobile settings, must request contact details from staff, customers and visitors, and display the official NHS QR code poster:

  • hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés
  • tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas and amusement arcades
  • close contact services, including hairdressers, barbershops and tailors
  • community centres, libraries and village hall

Find out more.

Coronavirus tests for your employees

You can choose to:

  • Buy your own tests and set up your own workplace testing
  • Pay an approved provider to provide tests or run a test site for you

If you cannot set up testing, you can ask your employees to check if they can get a rapid lateral flow test at home or at a test site on NHS.UK.

Do not use a rapid lateral flow test or go to a test site if you or your employees have symptoms. Anyone with symptoms should order a PCR test and stay at home.

A 'Plan for Jobs' 2020

On 22 October, the Chancellor announced increased support for businesses including:

  • open businesses which are experiencing considerable difficulty will be given extra help to keep staff on as government significantly increases contribution to wage costs under the Job Support Scheme, and business contributions drop to 5%
  • business grants have been expanded to cover businesses in affected sectors in high-alert level areas, helping them stay afloat and protecting jobs
  • grants for the self-employed doubled to 40% of previous earnings

Find out more.

Claim a grant through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The Self Employment Income Support Scheme has been extended. The online service for the next grant will be available from 14 December 2020.

The grant will be increased from the previously announced level of 40% of trading profits to 80% for November 2020.

Find out more.

How different circumstances affect the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

If you're self-employed or member of a partnership, find out how your circumstances can affect your eligibility for the scheme. The update includes examples added, to show when the ‘adversely affected’ criteria for the first and second grants will be met. Find out more.

Defer your VAT payments

Businesses who deferred VAT due from 20 March to 30 June 2020 will now have the option to pay in smaller payments over a longer period. Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, you can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022, interest free. 

You will need to opt-in to the scheme, and your VAT liabilities due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 do not need to be paid in full until the end of March 2022. Those that can pay their deferred VAT can still do so by 31 March 2021. More information on the scheme will be available on GOV.UK in the coming months.

Deferral of self-assessment payments

Self-assessment taxpayers will be able to benefit from a separate additional 12-month extension from HMRC on the “Time to Pay” self-service facility, meaning payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.

This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged if you defer payment of your July 2020 payment on the account until January 2021.

Find out more.

Support for university research and innovation during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Research jobs and ground-breaking projects impacted by coronavirus are to be protected by two new government support packages: 

  • A new research funding scheme opens this autumn to cover up to 80% of a university’s income losses from a decline in international students
  • Around £280 million in government funding will be made available to enable universities to continue their cutting-edge work, such as research into antibiotics resistance and the effects of coronavirus on society

Find out more.

Sustainable Innovation Fund

Announced on 27 June.

Government has announced a £200 million package to help innovative businesses bounce back.

The Sustainable Innovation Fund will help companies across the UK recovering from the impact of coronavirus keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive. The Fund will help power the UK’s economic recovery and develop new sustainable opportunities for businesses in any sector following the coronavirus pandemic while helping the UK meet its ambitions to cut carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050. Businesses can apply for support through the Sustainable Innovation Fund by visiting the Innovate UK website. Find out more.

Claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

The scheme has been updated so employers can ask for a ‘shielding note’ or a letter from their employees' doctor or health authority advising them to shield because they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the current rate of SSP that they pay to current or former employees for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.

If you’re an employer who pays more than the current rate of SSP you can only claim the current rate amount.

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks starting from the first day of sickness if an employee is unable to work because they either have coronavirus or cannot work because they are self-isolating at home. Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim.

Find out more about this scheme.

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

You do not need to take any action. Your local council will apply the discount automatically.

The relief will apply to your business rates bills for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Your local council may have to reissue your bill but will do this as soon as possible.

Find out if you’re eligible.

Business rates holiday for nurseries

Nurseries in England do not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

You do not need to take any action. Your local council will apply the discount automatically.

You can estimate the business rate relief using the business rates calculator.

The relief will apply to your business rates bills for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Your local council may have to reissue your bill but will do this as soon as possible.

Find out if you’re eligible.

Support for Businesses Paying Tax

All business and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time to Pay service. Those concerned should contact HMRC via the helpline on 0800 024 1222 or via webchat. Arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities

Contact HMRC.