- Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- COVID-19 Hub
- COVID-19: Help with shopping and food
- COVID-19: Support for businesses and the self-employed
- COVID-19: Guidance for operating your business
- COVID-19: Volunteering and how you can help the community
- COVID-19: Domestic abuse support
- COVID-19: Benefits service
- COVID-19: Bins and recycling
- COVID-19: Births, deaths and registrar services
- COVID-19: Children, education and returning to school
- COVID-19: Council and Committee Meetings
- COVID-19: Grenfell Response and Recovery
- COVID-19: Health and Social Care
- COVID-19: Housing and homelessness
- COVID-19: Leisure and culture
- COVID-19: Testing and Tracing for Coronavirus
- COVID-19: Libraries
- COVID-19: Noise and Nuisance and the local environment
- COVID-19: Parking, permits and streets
- COVID-19: Paying your Council Tax
- COVID-19: Community centres
- COVID-19: Faith group updates
- COVID-19: Planning and Building Control
- COVID-19: Related scams
- Covid-19: Hub Privacy Notice
Support for businesses and the self-employed
This page provides information on the support, guidance, advice and financial support available for businesses and self-employed people throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following a sharp increase in the number of Coronavirus cases in the capital, the country has been placed in a national lockdown with stay at home rules enforced. This means the closure of many businesses and venues offering providing non-essential goods or services.
If your business is allowed to continue operating, please ensure that you understand and are following the official Covid-secure guidelines. Please visit the GOV.UK website for further information on following the official guidelines.
There is currently a range of different Government support grants available which the Council is administrating on behalf of the Government.
The types of grants available, eligibility and online application forms are provided on this page. These grants are linked to the tiers system so please check the criteria for each fully before applying.
Funding through grants and other financial support
Tier 2 Local Restrictions grants (17 Oct – 4 Nov & 2 Dec – 15 Dec 2020)
Funding is being provided by Government for businesses in Tier 2 areas which were severely impacted by the restrictions, through the Local Restrictions Support Scheme. Please note that this grant is specifically for hospitality, hotel, bed & breakfast and leisure businesses. If your business does not fall under these categories, then your application will not be valid. Visit the Government website for information on the full eligibility criteria.
As part of the application form, businesses will be required to provide information such as contact details, business rate account number, company / VAT registration numbers, and type of business.
Also, businesses will be asked to provide evidence of severe impact from the latest restrictions, photo identification, and a copy of proof of bank details (a bank statement) for us to process the payment of the grant.
Examples of evidence of severe impact could include but are not exclusive to:
- Copies of bank statements from 4 July to 16 October, 17 October to 5 November demonstrating reductions in income (essential);
- Evidence of cancelled/reduced bookings
- Invoices showing less reduced food and drink purchased because of fewer customers.
All information and evidence will need to be submitted as part of the online application form.
Eligible businesses will be entitled to a grant for the time Kensington and Chelsea was in Tier 2, between Saturday 17 October and Thursday 5 November (pre-lockdown) and between Wednesday 2 December and Tuesday 15 December (post-lockdown). Payment for the 19 days during the pre-lockdown period will be made against the following:
- Premises with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £634 per 19 days of restrictions;
- Premises with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £950 per 19 days; and
- Premises with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £1,425 per 19 days.
For the post-lockdown period, payment will be made against the following:
- Premises with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £467 per 14 days of restrictions;
- Premises with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £700 per 14 days; and
- Premises with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £1,050 per 14 days.
National Lockdown Restrictions grants for closed businesses (5 Nov – 1 Dec 2020 & 5 Jan 2021 currently ongoing)
The Government is providing additional funding to support businesses impacted by the 28-day national restrictions which came into place on Thursday 5 November and the ongoing national lockdown which came into place on Tuesday 5 January 2021. This is focussed around support for businesses in the retail, leisure, and hospitality sector which were forced to close. Visit the Government website for further details on eligibility.
Eligible businesses must have been trading on 4 November 2020.
For those eligible, financial support for the 5 November to 1 December 2021 period will be:
- Premises with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per 28 days of restrictions;
- Premises with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per 28 days; and
- Premises with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per 28 days.
Financial support for the lockdown period from 5 January 2021 will be:
- Premises with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £2,001 per 42 days of restrictions;
- Premises with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £3,000 per 42 days; and
- Premises with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £4,500 per 42 days.
As part of the application form, businesses will be required to complete questions relating to their business, such as contact details, business rate account number, company / VAT numbers, and type of business. All information and evidence will need to be submitted as part of the online application form.
You only need to submit one application which will cover both lockdown periods. If you have already applied for a grant for the 5 November – 1 December period you will automatically be paid for the second period as well, you don’t need to submit another application.
Tier 3 Local Restrictions grants for closed businesses (16 Dec – 19 Dec 2020)
From Wednesday 16 December to Saturday 19 December, London was placed under Tier 3 local restrictions impacting the operation of many businesses and so additional funding is available for those affected.
Businesses that were forced to close during this period include restaurants, pubs, hotels, cinemas, theatres, bowling alleys, and other hospitality and leisure venues. Visit the Gov.UK website for further information on the full eligibility criteria.
The amounts awarded for these grants are based on your business’ rateable value and will be at a value equivalent to the four days the borough was in Tier 3 only (16 to 19 December). This will be a part payment against the 14-day cycle:
- Premises with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £667 per 14 days of restrictions;
- Premises with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £1,000 per 14 days; and
- Premises with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £1,500 per 14 days
Tier 4 Local Restrictions grants for closed businesses (20 Dec 2020 – 4 Jan 2021)
Grants will be available for businesses impacted by the Tier 4 restrictions that came into force for London on Sunday 20 December 2020 until Monday 4 January 2021 prior to the national lockdown.
It is likely that businesses eligible will be the same as those for the national restrictions grants but we’re awaiting further details from the Government. Further information and a link to apply will be published soon.
Additional Restrictions Grants for businesses severely impacted
The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) scheme has been set up to help businesses which have been severely impacted by the various Covid-19 restrictions. In Kensington and Chelsea, we want to target this support to those businesses that cannot access any other Government support or are small businesses receiving other small grants but not enough to support with high fixed costs.
Initially launched in late 2020, the first application window for the ARG closed on Sunday 10 January, however we are reopening applications and expanding the eligibility criteria to help more businesses.
Businesses that operate or supply the retail, leisure and hospitality sector will still be eligible and we’ll also be looking at the below criteria for applications:
- You may be based in commercial or non-commercial premises, such as taxi drivers;
- You have ongoing fixed costs – this may be building related costs, vehicle costs, goods and services costs or equipment cost.;
- You may have been allowed to open but your footfall and people using your service has declined significantly, for example large events;
- You could have been allowed to open but have chosen not to because of your own individual circumstances, for example you may yourself be Clinically Extremely Vulnerable;
- Your business has been severely impacted by restrictions, but you are not eligible for any other Government support.
If you can relate to any of this, you may be eligible for an Additional Restrictions Grant of £2,500.
As part of the application form, businesses will be required to provide information such as contact details, business rates account number (where applicable), company / VAT registration numbers (where applicable), and type of business. In addition, you’ll be asked to provide evidence of severe impact, photo identification, and bank details to process payment of the grant.
Examples of evidence of severe impact could include but are not exclusive to:
- Copies of bank statements from 4 July to 16 October, 17 October to 5 November demonstrating reductions in income (essential).
- Evidence of cancelled/reduced bookings.
- Invoices showing less reduced food and drink purchased because of fewer customers.
- Evidence of reduced sales.
- VAT returns across the last three quarters.
Evidence of fixed costs may include:
- Rent costs.
- Storage and other fixed costs.
- Vehicle costs
- Goods and produce.
All information and evidence will need to be submitted as part of the online application form.
You’ll be able to apply online directly on this page soon.
On 5 January, Government announced further discretionary funding for local authorities. This is aimed at providing additional one-off support to smaller businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector who may receive one of the other lockdown grants but still face significant costs. Further details will follow when we have the Government guidance on this funding, which we expect to be used to support more businesses through the ARG.
One-off payments for retail, hospitality and leisure
The Government is providing one-off grants of up to £9,000 per property for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses to support them through the impacts of the national lockdown to Spring 2021. Grant allowance is based on the rateable value of premises:
- £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
This funding will be provided to supplement your National Lockdown Restrictions grant and will be paid following approval of your grant. You don’t have to apply for this one-off payment separately, just ensure that if you are eligible you have applied for the National Lockdown Restrictions grant and this will automatically be added to your grant amount.
Funding for employers through the Kickstart scheme
The Government’s new Kickstart scheme, under its Plan for Jobs, provides funding for businesses to create job opportunities for young people aged 16-24. Employers taking part in the scheme receive £1,500 for each new person they hire to cover the cost for necessary support and training. In addition, the cost of national minimum wage payments, National Insurance, and pension contributions will be covered by the Government for the first six months. Kickstart job placements should be for high quality job placements within a business providing at least 25 hours per week. Any organisation can apply for the scheme, no matter the size or the sector. Those offering more than 30 placements can apply for funding directly with the Government and those offering less can do so through an intermediary.
The Council is an intermediary and working with partners to support local businesses to apply for the Kickstart scheme so if you would like to learn more please contact Albena Karameros at firstname.lastname@example.org
Extra protection for commercial tenants who miss rent payments
Protection from eviction for commercial tenants
Businesses are advised to speak to their landlord to see if they have considered any measure to help, for example, by moving from a quarterly to a monthly rent, or indeed offering a pause on collecting rent for an agreed period.
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. Note that this is not a rental holiday – businesses will still be liable for the rent.
For information on protection from eviction for commercial tenants visit the GOV.UK website.
On 31 October 2020, after announcing the planned national lockdown from Thursday 5 November to Wednesday 2 December, the Government also announced an extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and further financial support.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Scheme)
The scheme, often referred to as the Furlough Scheme, allows employers who have been forced to close their business during lockdown to pay up to 80 per cent of their employees’ wages through the Government.
Initially planned to close at the end of October, the Furlough Scheme has been extended to March 2021, to support those during the national lockdown from Thursday 5 November 2020 and throughout the winter months.
Support for smaller firms through the COVID-19 Bounce Back Loan scheme
The Bounce Back Loan scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.
The Government will provide lenders with a 100 per cent guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days.
The Government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months.
Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days.
Loan terms will be up to six years and no repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The Government will work with a network of accredited lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.
You can see if you are eligible and start an application on the Government website.
Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBLS)
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, supports businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The Government provides participating lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. Business owners are advised to speak to their business banking contact as soon as possible.
The Government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and 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. More information can be found on the British Business Bank website.
Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is enough to make a claim.
Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.
Information for self-employedThe Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is for those who are self-employed and have lost income due to the impact of COVID-19. Set up for those who earn the majority of their income through self-employment, support through the scheme has been extended from November. You can find out how much you’re eligible for and apply on the GOV.UK website.
If you are not eligible for Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – for example if you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week – and you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or the new style Employment and Support Allowance.
The Government has allowed those who are self-employed, registered in the UK for self-assessment and have been impacted by Coronavirus, to defer your self-assessment income tax payments for July 2020 to 31 January 2021.
You can find out more information about tax deferrals online.
Employment allowance to increase by £1,000 allowing certain businesses who employ staff to reduce their National Insurance bill by £4,000. Visit GOV.UK website for more information.
Council Support for businesses and self-employed
Businesses in Council-owned Commercial premises
If you are a business renting a commercial property from the Council, we have written to you to inform you of your position following review of the rent pause for the March quarter on premises we own and let.
Businesses that have continued to trade will have billing resumed for the June quarter and will be billed for the March quarter, payable by September 2020. Those that are reopening will be billed for the June quarter and have a payment plan set up for the March quarter, and those that are still closed will not have to resume payment in the June quarter but may have to start repaying in September 2020, subject to a review.
Businesses which are to begin repaying rents will be able to make monthly instalments to ease cashflow, which can be arranged with the Council. We are here to support and help you as we emerge from lockdown restrictions.
If you have any questions about this, please email us at: email@example.com.
Commercial Waste Services
We know many business operations are impacted by Covid-19 and your waste collection requirements may now be different. If you are still operating and receiving a commercial waste collection you will be invoiced as normal. If you are not operating or require changes to your contract, please contact us by email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Council funded support from the Portobello Business Centre (PBC)If you need business advice you can book a telephone call/meeting with one of PBC’s business advisors. You will also be able to book a Skype call so there is no need to attend at their office. Please call on: 020 7460 5050 to discuss, or visit the Portobello Business Centre website.
RBKC Supply ChainThe RBKC Supply Chain will continue to offer the following services during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as brokering opportunities with buyers as and when they arise, critical review of any tenders by a tendering specialist prior to submission. More information about the project can be found at the RBKC Supply Chain website, or contact:
MTW Consultants Ltd
Tel: 07891 165 207
Traders and council run markets
Under national lockdown rules all markets in the borough will only be able to operate with stalls trading essential items such as food and household goods.
The Council will not be accepting any new applications for trading on Portobello Road and Golborne Road market at this time.
The Council has taken steps to ensure markets operate in line with social distancing guidance from the Government. All traders need to operate to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19, by following safety recommendations including managing queues, wearing face masks, using gloves and minimising the use of cash.
The reduced number of stalls will need to ensure pedestrian flow and that queues are not blocking areas. Traders will be asked to have side and back tarpaulins to create breaks between traders and pedestrians to encourage social distancing. This is continually monitored, with advice and guidance being given to traders to ensure they can operate safely.
If you have a specific street trading question email us at: email@example.com or call us on tel: 020 7727 7684.
LibrariesLibraries are still providing valuable and useful online business information to help you get information to support your research and development functions, plus your marketing programmes.
Our libraries offer many free online resources that can be accessed via the libraries webpages.
Information from other agencies and trade organisations
The London Growth Hub
The London Growth Hub’s team of business advisers can help you create a plan of action and provide a gateway into the vital resources, support and initiatives needed to sustain your business through this challenging period.
Get support and request a free meeting through their website.
The London Growth Hub is an initiative of LEAP, London's local enterprise partnership and is supported by the Mayor of London and HM Government.
Kensington and Chelsea Chamber of Commerce
Kensington and Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, are putting together a range of different activities and webinars with their expert panels to help answer your questions.
Visit the Kensington and Chelsea Chamber of Commerce website to see what events are planned.
Westway Trust have been in touch with all their business tenants with help advice and support. Westway are also working closely with Age UK, the Volunteer Centre Kensington and Chelsea, the council and other groups to see how we can best support vulnerable people in the area.
For further information visit Westway Trust COVID-19 webpages.
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
FSB has created a very useful hub that answers questions for small businessess. Visit the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) website for more information.
Information for food businesses
Food businesses being temporary takeaway onlyThe Government has announced that all food businesses, including pubs, restaurants and cafes should close to the public to prevent large groups of people gathering and spreading the virus.
However, the Government is introducing changes to planning legislation to allow pubs and restaurants to be used as hot food takeaways without requiring planning permission, for a temporary period of up to 12 months only, in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Food deliveriesWe have also been advised by the Government not to undertake planning enforcement action which would result in unnecessarily restricting deliveries of food and other essential deliveries during this period.
Read the full copy of this Statement for more information.
As a food business operator, we appreciate you may have some concerns, however, there is currently no evidence that you can catch Coronavirus from food.
It is important that you ensure that food is protected from contamination, so it is good practice to cover open food and wash fresh fruit and vegetables.
You should follow the government advice on the GOV.UK website if you or any of your staff have travelled. If you or your staff are feeling unwell then you need to visit the NHS 111 Online website for advice on what to do.
If you offer any shisha pipes at your establishment, in light of the Coronavirus pandemic situation you should consider ceasing this service for the time being. If you do provide this service, then you must ensure that you provide clean/sanitised equipment and sharing of equipment must be avoided at all times.
A free e-learning course on COVID-19 is available on the Highfield Training website. For details of other e-learning opportunities visit the E-learning webpage, If you have specific food safety or health and safety questions please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on tel: 020 7361 3002.
Pest ControlIn these difficult times RBKC Pest control can be called upon to assist with any pest issues you may have or for general advice. If your food business is not operating presently you must ensure that any perishable food and waste refuse has been disposed of and the premises is clean to ensure you do not get any pest infestations or odour issues.
Our Pest Control Officers can give advice and ensure your premises are adequately proofed and pest free. Similarly if you are still open and providing takeaway food or you are an essential food retailer and your pest control contractor is unable to carry out an inspection we can be contacted and would be happy to help. Please call us on 020 7341 5773.
What you need to know about Coronavirus and foodIt is very unlikely that you can catch Coronavirus from food. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. It is not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging. However everyone should maintain good hygiene practice.
Find out the Government’s latest information and advice on all aspects of food preparation and storage, including food hygiene, packing and disposal on the GOV.UK website.
Pricing and price markingBusinesses still have a responsibility to comply with the law when selling goods. All goods should have a price on or associated with them so that customers can determine the price they will be expected to pay for an item without having to ask.
We are asking residents to report any instances of excessive charging or businesses not displaying pricing to email@example.com. We are looking at our options under current legislation to address this kind of abuse but will also report this to Government to make a case for emergency legislation to tackle this.
Support for arts and culture businesses and self employed
The Creative Workspace Resilience Fund
£1.5m fund to help studio and creative workspace providers support artists and makers. Deadline 4pm, Wednesday 20 May 2020. Visit the Creative Land Trust website for information.
The Esmée Fairbairn Sustaining Engagement with Collections Fund
£350,000 to support 12-15 organisations to explore different ways of engaging with museum or gallery collections. Offering grants of up to £30,000 for projects of up to a year. Deadline 5pm, Tuesday 26 May 2020. Visit the Museums Association website for information.
Film and TV Charity Community Grants
Offering small grants between £150 - £1,000 for those who work in film or TV or cinema to produce an activity to support colleagues in the industry during the crisis. Deadline 6pm, Monday 1 June 2020. Visit the Film and TV Charity website for more information.
Freelands Foundation Emergency Fund
£1 million fund for freelance creative practitioners experiencing financial hardship, providing grants of £1,500 to £2,500. Deadline 2pm, Thursday 18 June 2020. Visit the Freelands Foundation website for more information.
The Authors Emergency Fund
Awarding grants of up to £2,000 to UK professional authors and writers. Visit The Society of Authors website for more information.
Advice and guidance
GLA Culture at Risk
Register your details with the Mayor’s Culture at Risk Office, to shape and improve their service at this time, and for updates on the newest resources and guidance available. Visit the GLA Culture at Risk website.
The union for performers and creative practitioners provides a briefing on sector and state financial support. Visit the Equity website.
Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance
Wealth of useful information, online training, listings and links from this cultural sector support organisation, funded by Arts Council England. Visit the Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance website.
Resources and platform for home-based, creative ways to support mental health. Visit the MARCH Network website.
Includes guidance on digital tools for homeworking, moving work online, and listings for funds and support. Visit the Arts Professional website.
Voluntary Arts #CreativeNetwork
Daily digital gatherings for those working in the creative sector. Visit the Voluntary Arts website.
Arts Council Tech Champions
Digital support to organisations navigating moving work online. Visit the Arts Council Tech Champions website.