COVID-19: support for businesses

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

Last updated 30 June 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 Service by:

Due to a high volume of emails and phone calls, you may some experience delays getting through to us. Please be assured we will respond to all enquires as soon as possible.

Working safely during COVID-19

The Government has produced guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic. These twelve guides cover a range of different types of work. Further guidance will be published as more businesses are able to reopen. View COVID-19 Secure guides.  

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

Regional 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.

  • Quickly find new employees through the Employment Hub talent matching service. Tell us your recruitment needs and we will find and introduce you to candidates suitable for the role.
  • Access support for employees who are at risk of or facing redundancy. Refer staff to the Employment Hub where we can support them in finding alternative employment.

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.

Skills Service

Access to online learning, and financial incentives to undertake training, via the further education (FE) colleges of the City Region and private providers. Find out more.

Free one-to-one business coaching sessions

The LEP is working with business professionals to co-ordinate free coaching sessions to help SMEs formulate and implement contingency plans for this period and beyond. Coaches will work with companies to diagnose issues affecting them at the moment including people, suppliers and customers, finance and premises. Email us to access this support. 

COVID-19 Business Grant Programme

The LEP may be able to support your business if you are making capital investments to manufacture or supply products to the NHS and wider health supply chain. For more information, please contact the LEP Business Support Service.

Manufacturing Recovery Plan

Developed by the University of Huddersfield in collaboration with the LEP and key strategic partners, the scheme supports manufacturing SMEs across Leeds City Region to recover and build long-term resilience with a three-stage approach; stabilise, recover, growth. 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.

COVID-19: support for the creative industries

There are a number of schemes providing support for businesses and individuals in the TV & Film and creative industries.

Find out more

Business support webinars

  1. AD:Venture: support for startups

    FREE webinars. Our partner, AD:Venture is delivering a series of webinars on marketing, sales, working remotely, social media and more for start-ups and young businesses.

    Read more about AD:Venture: support for startups
  2. Digital skills

    FREE webinars hosted by Digital Enterprise. Webinars provide expert insights on the use of digital solutions including, social media, Google Ads and delivering great webinars.

    Read more about Digital skills

Can your business help to get PPE to our health and social care workers?

The LEP and West Yorkshire Combined Authority are working with our network of partners across the Leeds City Region to support businesses get these crucial supplies to workers on the frontline.

find out more

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.

*NEW* Reopen your business safely during coronavirus (COVID‑19)

Employers in England reopening their business have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and people on site. Guidance is available to help employers carry out a risk assessment and make sensible adjustments to the site and workforce. If you do not carry out a risk assessment, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or your local council can issue an enforcement notice. View guidance. Please note, this guidance is only for businesses that are allowed to reopen in England.

Employee return-to-work tool 

The Government has developed a tool to help employees in England assess if they can return to work. The tool guides employees through questions that may influence their ability to go back to work safely. Employers can share this tool with employees to aid discussion on how employees can return to work safely. Find out more.

*NEW* 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.

*NEW* 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.

*UPDATED* Future Fund

Applications opened on Wednesday 20 May 2020.

The Future Fund 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 to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

The scheme will be delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank.

Find out more.

Announced on 30 June, changes to the Future Fund’s eligibility criteria will mean that UK companies who have participated in highly selective accelerator programmes and were required, as part of that programme, to have parent companies outside of the UK will now be able to apply for investment. Read more.

Apply for the Coronavirus Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund 

The Discretionary Grant Fund supports small and micro businesses in England that are not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

To be eligible, your business should have ongoing fixed property-related costs, and occupy the property (or part of a property) with a rateable value or annual mortgage/rent payments below £51,000. 

Find out more.

Claim for your employee’s wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

On 12 May, government announced that this scheme has extended from June to October.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing:

From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours; employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.

The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3 week period prior to 30 June.

This means that the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10 June, in order for the current 3 week furlough period to be completed by 30 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.

Start your claim.

From 1 August, the level of the grant will be slowly reduced. No grant will be available for Class 1 employer NICs or pension contributions from 1 August although these contributions will remain payable by the employer.

From September 1, you will also be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages to ensure they continue to receive at least 80% of their wages for the time they’re on furlough.

Find out more information on how the amount of grant available through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing.

Check if your employer can use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme​.

Watch a video on the coronavirus job retention scheme with information on flexible furloughing here.

Pay Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants back if you have over-claimed. Find out more


Claim a grant through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

If you’re eligible and want to claim the first grant you must make your claim on or before 13 July 2020.

This scheme is being extended. You’ll be able to make a claim for a second and final grant in August 2020. Find out more about the extension to the scheme.

The scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether. Money will be paid into bank accounts within six working days of completing a claim. This is a temporary scheme, but it may be extended.

If you receive the grant you can continue to work, start a new trade or take on other employment including voluntary work, or duties as an armed forces reservist.

The grant does not need to be repaid but will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance.

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.

Claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

The online service to claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is now available.

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.

Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

Launched on 4 May 2020.

The Bounce Back Loan scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.

The government will guarantee 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. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.

Find out how to apply

Funding to support dairy farmers

The dairy response fund opened on 19 June 2020. Eligible farmers in England can apply for a single payment from the fund.

Eligible dairy farmers will be entitled to up to £10,000 each, to cover 70% of their lost income during April and May. 

The fund will help overcome the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak and ensure farmers can continue to operate and sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.

Find out more

Apply for the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will support large businesses, with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million, to access loans of up to £25 million.

We expect the scheme to be delivered through commercial lenders. The government will provide lenders with an 80% guarantee on individual loans for businesses that would be otherwise unable to access the finance they need.

This will give banks the confidence to lend to many more businesses which are impacted by coronavirus. Facilities backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest.

This scheme allows lenders to support businesses that were viable before the coronavirus outbreak but now face significant cash flow difficulties that would otherwise make their business unviable in the short term.

Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply.

Small Business Grant Funding

The Government is providing additional funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

You will not need to apply. Eligible businesses will be contacted by their local authority, though some local authorities have decided to operate an applications process.

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the grants should be directed to the relevant local authority. To find your local authority, use this search tool.

Find out more about Small Business Grant Funding.

Cash grant for retail, hospitality and leisure

If your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector, you will receive a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of £15,000 and under may be eligible for a grant of £10,000.

Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 may be eligible for a grant of £25,000.

You will not need to apply. Eligible businesses will be contacted by their local authority, though some local authorities have decided to operate an applications process.

Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the grants should be directed to the relevant local authority. To find your local authority, use this search tool.

Find out more about the cash grant for retail, hospitality and leisure.

Apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) supports small and medium-sized businesses, with an annual turnover of up to £45 million, to access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to 6 years.

The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees. This means smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a pre-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to small and medium-sized businesses.

The scheme is delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the government-owned British Business Bank. There are 40 accredited lenders able to offer the scheme, including all the major banks.

Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply.

Apply for the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

Under the COVID-19 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.

The scheme is delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the Bank of England. 

It will operate for at least 12 months, and for as long as steps are needed to relieve cash flow pressures on firms that make a material contribution to the UK economy.

Check your eligibility on the Bank of England website.

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.

Deferral of self-assessment payments

The Self- Assessment payment on account, that is ordinarily due to be paid to HMRC by 31 July 2020 may now be deferred until January 2021.

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.

Defer your VAT payments

If you’re a UK VAT registered business and have a VAT payment due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, you have the option to defer the payment until a later date. This does not cover payments for VAT MOSS or import VAT.

HMRC will not charge interest or penalties on any amount deferred as a result of the Chancellor’s announcement. You will still need to submit your VAT returns to HMRC on time.

If you choose to defer your VAT payment as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), you must pay the VAT due on or before 31 March 2021.

This is an automatic offer. You do not need to tell HMRC that you are deferring your VAT payment.

Find out more.

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.

Prevent your business from being evicted

The UK government has extended measures to prevent struggling companies from eviction over the summer.

A new code of practice has been developed with leaders from the retail, hospitality and property sectors to provide clarity for businesses when discussing rental payments and to encourage best practice so that all parties are supported.

The Coronavirus Act will extend the time period for suspension of the forfeiture of evictions from June 30 to September 30, meaning no business will be forced out of their premises if they a miss a payment in the next three months.

Secondary legislation to prevent landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery unless they are owed 189 days of unpaid rent. The time period for which this measure is in force will be extended from June 30 to September 30.

Find out more.

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