Small business national lockdown – what support is available?

Following the latest lockdown announcement, we round-up the COVID-19 support available in the UK – including the new measures

Grant support for 2021 lockdown

After announcements from Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon, England and Scotland have gone into lockdown. Wales has been in lockdown since December 20.

To support businesses through this period, chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced £4.6bn of grant funding. This includes a one-off top-up grant for leisure, hospitality and retail businesses of up to £9,000.

They’ll be granted to closed businesses as follows:

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

A £594m discretionary fund is also being made available to support other businesses affected by the lockdown. As with the other grant funding, you’ll need to apply through your local authority.

More money has been giving to the devolved nations as part of the announcement but there have been no further funding announcements from them at the time of writing.

This new lockdown support is in addition to existing funding, as listed below.

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)

  • Available for businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes or where additional funding is needed.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)

  • Loans of between £2,000 and £50,000, up to 25 per cent of turnover
  • The government guarantees 100 per cent of the loan with no fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5pc a year
  • Companies can now apply for a top-up in cases where they initially did not borrow the full amount available
  • Available until the end of March

>See also: Microbusiness £50,000 Bounce Back Loans – how they work

Business rates relief

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

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

  • Offers access to loans of up to £5m
  • 80 per cent of the loan is guaranteed by the government.
    Government pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months
  • Available for businesses with annual turnover of up to £45m
  • Available until the end of March

>See also: How do I apply for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan?

Small Business has teamed up with to help you find the right finance for your business. You can find their page here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

  • 80 per cent of employees’ monthly salary covered for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500
  • Employees do not have to be furloughed full-time to qualify. Employers will have flexibility to use the scheme for employees for any amount of time or shift pattern, furloughing employees on either a full-time or part-time basis
  • No employer contribution for hours not worked, employers only have to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions
  • Available until end of April 2021

>See also: Government makes further changes to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Future Fund

  • Convertible loans between £125,000 and £5m offered to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties
  • Available until the end of January

>See also: Future Fund – government tech start-up bailout scheme how it works

Kickstart Scheme grant

  • Provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment
  • The funding covers 100 per cent of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of six months
  • Also covers National Insurance contributions
  • Application must be for a minimum of 30 job placements, though you can team up with other businesses to reach the minimum number of placements

>See also: How to claim your £1,500 Kickstart Scheme grant

Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

  • Extended with two further grants, covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021
  • The November to January grant is calculated at 80 per cent of three months’ average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500

>See also: Self-employed Income Support Scheme what it means for you

Localised small business lockdown support

As you’ll see, the funding below is distributed by your local authority. Find your local authority.


Local Restriction Support Grant (closed businesses)

  • You can apply for a grant if your business in an area of local Tier 4 restrictions and has been required to close because of local restrictions that resulted in a first full day of closure on or after December 19
  • The grant will be based on the rateable value of the property on the first full day of local restrictions.
  • If your business has a property with a rateable value of £15,000 or less, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £667 for each 14-day period your business is closed.
  • If your business has a property with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £1,000 for each 14-day period your business is closed.
  • If your business has a property with a rateable value of £51,000 or above, you may be eligible for a cash grant of £1,500 for each 14-day period your business is closed
  • The grant will be extended to cover each additional 14-day period of closure. If your business is closed for 28 days, or two payment cycles, it will receive £1,334, £2,000 or £3,000, depending on the rateable value of the property


Strategic Framework Business Fund

Temporary Closure grant

If your business needs to close, you could be entitled to a Temporary Closure grant every four weeks, of one of the following:

  • £2,000 if your business premises has a rateable value of up to and including £51,000
  • £3,000 if your business premises has a rateable value of £51,001 or above
  • An upper limit of £15,000 in total in any four-week period will apply to any eligible business operating multiple premises

From January 1 2021 there will no longer be an upper limit of £15,000 for any eligible business operating multiple premises.

Further sector-specific support is set to be introduced later in January.


ERF Restrictions Business Fund

Hospitality businesses who received the Lockdown Business Grant in October began receiving payments via the ERF Restriction Fund into their back account during December. These businesses will not be required to re-register their details.

Eligibility for the Business Restrictions Fund:

  • Businesses in the hospitality and non-essential retail sector, which are impacted by the new restrictions that are in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) and have a rateable value of £12,000 or less will be eligible for a £3,000 payment. Supply chain businesses qualifying for SBRR will also be eligible for this support if they have greater than 40 per cent reduction in turnover during the restriction period.
  • Hospitality and non-essential retail businesses with a rateable value of between £12,001 and £150,000 will also be eligible for a £5,000 payment if impacted by the restrictions. Supply chain businesses in the same rateable value bracket will also be eligible for this support if they have greater than 40 per cent reduction in turnover during the restriction period.

ERF Restrictions Discretionary Grants

  • Local authorities will continue delivering the Lockdown Discretionary Grant to businesses that are materially impacted. As was the case for the Firebreak, this will continue to be targeted at businesses that are not on the non-domestic rates (NDR) system and therefore not eligible for the NDR linked grants. The grant level for this strand would be set at eligible costs of up to £2,000 per business
  • This will provide support to sub VAT sole traders without a property who are materially impacted (>40 per cent reduced turnover) as a result of the restrictions, e.g. cleaners providing services to the hospitality industry
  • Application forms for the ERF Restrictions Discretionary Grant can be accessed by visiting the relevant local authority website. Please check your relevant local authority website for details. When all local authority schemes have opened, direct links to the relevant web pages will be published on the Business Wales website.

The ERF Sector Specific Grant will be open from January 11.

Northern Ireland

Localised Restrictions Support Scheme

Businesses must meet three eligibility criteria:

  • The business must operate from a property within Northern Ireland
  • The business must fall into at least one of the following categories:
    • It has been registered with, or is in the process of registering with their local council environmental health department as a business operating in one of the following categories: cafe, restaurant, hotel, guesthouse (including registered bed & breakfast) or pub
    • It operates as a campsite or caravan park for touring caravans, cinema, a museum, a gallery, a bingo hall, a funfair, an indoor amusement arcade, an indoor visitor attraction, a trampoline park, an inflatable park, an escape room, a bowling alley, or an ice rink; or close contact services that operate from commercial premises (as detailed in the Health Protection Regulations) such as hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons, day spas, nail bars and tattoo parlours
    • It is a business which has been required to close or has had business activities at their premises directly curtailed by the Health Protection Regulations
  • The business must have been open to the public and trading at the start of the restriction period set by the Health Protection Restrictions (unless the applicant business is a wet pub which serves drink only)

Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme (NSESS)

The Newly Self-Employed Support Scheme (NSESS) offers up an initial one-off taxable grant of £3,500 to newly self-employed individuals (sole traders and those in partnerships)

You must be able to demonstrate that you (as the individual) meet the following criteria:

  • You have commenced trading as self-employed between April 6 2019 and April 5 2020
  • You have been trading at March 1 2020 (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic).
  • You have either been temporarily unable to trade or are currently trading but impacted by reduced demand, due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 50 per cent of your income in 2019/20 was from self-employment
  • Your 2019/20 trading profits were less than £50,000. In the case of a partnership business, this refers to your share of the trading profits as outlined on your individual tax return
  • You have experienced at least a 40 per cent decline in trading profits between March 1 and November 30 2020, i.e. your trading profits over this period are at least 40 per cent lower than they would have been in the absence of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • You are able to provide the following:
    • 10-digit HMRC Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) linked to Schedule D earnings from any trade or profession
    • HMRC VAT Registration Number, if you are VAT registered
  • You intend to continue to trade as a sole trader or individual member of the partnership

This scheme will close at 6pm on Thursday January 7 2021.

Read more

£9000 lockdown grant for businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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