COVID-19: support for businesses

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

Last updated 1 April 2020.



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 team by:


Please note, we are currently experiencing a high volume of calls and emails at this time, however, please be assured that we will get back to you as soon as possible.


For the latest information and advice on COVID-19, visit the UK Government's website for businesses.

Can you offer coronavirus (COVID-19) support from your business?

Government is looking for businesses that can help with the response to COVID-19. The support needed includes medical testing equipment, medical equipment design, PPE, manufacturing equipment and expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement, engineering or communications.

find out more

Support available

Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

SEISS will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The 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.

Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational. In the interim, the self-employed are eligible for other government support including a more generous universal credit and business continuity loans. Further information on how to access these schemes.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

You will need to:

  • Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
  • Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Further guidance for employers is available here.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) 

  • SSP is now available to eligible individuals that are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are self-isolating in line with the latest Government advice.
  • SSP is provided to eligible individuals from day 1 instead of day 4. 
  • Eligible small and medium sized businesses will be able to reclaim SSP paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19 for up to two weeks per individual. Employers should maintain records of staff absences to reclaim. Employees do not need to provide a GP fit note. 
  • Those not eligible for SSP (self-employed or below the Lower Earning Limit) can claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance. 

Business rates retail, leisure and hospitality discount 

  • The Business Rates retail discount will be increased to 100% for one year and will include all businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector. Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible. 
  • Grants worth up to £25,000 will be available to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000. Local authorities will write to a business if it is eligible for this grant. 

Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) 

    • A £10,000 grant will be provided to businesses currently eligible for SBBR or Rural Rate Relief. You will not need to apply. Local authorities will pay this directly to businesses from early April.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will support primarily small and medium sized businesses with a turnover under £45 million to access bank lending and overdrafts. The Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. Businesses can access the first 12 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments.

Find out information about the commercial lenders here

Deferral of VAT and Income Tax payments

The Government will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.


For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Income Tax

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021. This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

HMRC's Time To Pay Service 

Any business or self-employed people in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible for support with tax. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated Coronavirus helpline on 0800 0159 559.  

Companies House 

Companies House has produced guidance if coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected your company and you need more time to file your accounts. Find all the information here.

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. Contact for more information.  

Support for larger businesses

A new lending facility from the Bank of England has been launched to help support liquidity among larger firms under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility. The Bank of England will buy short term debt to help larger firms with a credit rating of A-3 / P-3 / F-3 / R3 (from at least one of Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch and DBRS Morningstar as at 1 March 2020).

This will help businesses to bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans and will be available from week commencing 23 March. Find out more here.   

Have your say: COVID-19 - impact on businesses

In this 2-3 minute poll by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), let us know the immediate business conditions you are facing and whether your business is aware of or has used the recently announced support packages from Government. Your input is essential to the BCC's work on behalf of your business.

have your say