COVID-19: Support for businesses and the self-employed

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.

From Monday 19 July 2021, Step 4 of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown will see full easing of Covid-19 restrictions, including reopening of all indoor and outdoor hospitality, leisure and events venues including nightclubs. There are now no enforced closures of any kind on any businesses or limitations how you can operate, including no limits on numbers of people allowed indoors.

If you would like to receive the latest, up-to-date information from the Council on all business-related news, sign up to the Business Matters enewsletter.

View further guidance on operating within the new rules and whether your business is allowed to open.

On this page you can find details of available grants and financial support.

Funding through grants and other financial support

Business rates relief extended


We want to remind businesses that the government has extended the business rates discount for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. This means that the rates relief will now run for one additional year from April 2021 to March 2022. 

Businesses that were in receipt of the relief last year are still eligible for this year, but can choose not to take it or ask for a reduced amount if they wish to do so. Those who are eligible are being contacted directly to complete an online form to confirm their decision.

New Applications for Expanded Retail Discount

If you have not previously applied for this discount you will need to apply.

The Council has opened up applications for 2021/22. You can find out if you’re eligible and apply for both periods 2020/21 and 2021/22 via our online form. If you have any questions about the business rates discount, please get in touch with us at retailrelief21@rbkc.gov.uk

Discount amounts

The retail relief scheme for 2021/22 covers two periods. 

The first period, 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021, is a continuation of the scheme for 2020/21 at 100 per cent relief. For the period 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022 a further scheme is then in place for a maximum of 66 per cent discount. 

If you're eligible, you could get:

  • 100% discount for the first 3 months of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021)
  • up to a maximum 66% discount for the rest of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022)

The amount of relief that you can receive for the period 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022 will be capped at:

  • £2 million if your business was required to close on 5 January 2021 due to the national lockdown
  • £105,000 if your business was allowed to remain open from 5 January 2021.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us at businessrates@rbkc.gov.uk

You can also keep up to date with the latest Covid-19 support on our website or sign up to our Business Matters enewsletter for important news and updates.

Funding for employers through the Kickstart scheme

The Government’s 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. Employers can apply for funding directly with the Government or can do so through a Gateway. Young people accessing Kick Start vacancies must be in post by 31  December 2021.

The Council is a Gateway organisation and working with partners to support local businesses to apply for the Kickstart scheme so if you would like to learn more please contact Fiona Low at fiona.low@rbkc.gov.uk.

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.

Financial support

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 Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended 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.

For all claims from 1 July 2021, employers must top up their employees’ wages to make sure they receive 80% of their wages (up to £2,500) for the hours they are on furlough. The caps are proportional to the hours not worked.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be ending on 30 September 2021. Claims for September must be submitted by 14 October 2021 and any amendments must be made by 28 October 2021. Find out more information on the closure of the scheme.

Corporate financing

Support for smaller firms through the COVID-19 Bounce Back Loan scheme

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme closed to new applications and top-up applications on 31 March 2021. IF you need more information on the Scheme or other financial support, visit the Gov.UK website.

Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBLS)

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes and Future Fund were designed to support UK businesses that are losing revenue and seeing their cashflow disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. All schemes are now closed for new applications. If you have already applied, find out more information about the loan scheme.

More information can be found on the British Business Bank website.

Insurance

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-employed

The 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. 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.

Taxes

Employment allowance has increased by £1,000 allowing certain businesses who employ staff to reduce their National Insurance bill by £4,000. This measure increases the maximum Employment Allowance by £1,000 to £4,000 from April 2020. This means eligible businesses and charities will be able to claim a greater reduction on their Secondary Class 1 National Insurance contributions liability. 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 will be in contact with you to discuss payments for the previous quarter and your current circumstances. 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: propertyinformation@rbkc.gov.uk

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 commercial.waste@rbkc.gov.uk 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 Chain

The 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:

David McAlpine
Director
MTW Consultants Ltd
Tel: 07891 165 207
Email david@mtwconsultants.co.uk

Traders and council run markets

 

Market traders are able to operate fully, taking responsibility to manage Covid-19 safety measures including taking contactless payments where able, encouraging social distancing at stalls and employing hand washing or glove wearing regularly. 

If you have a specific street trading question email us at: street.trading@rbkc.gov.uk or call us on tel: 020 7727 7684. 

Information from other agencies and trade organisations

 

The London Business Hub

The London Business 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, Chelsea and Westminster Chamber of Commerce

Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster 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

Westway Trust have been in touch with all their business tenants with help advice and support.

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

Pest Control

In 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 food

It 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.


Trading standards

Pricing and price marking

Businesses 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 trading.standards@rbkc.gov.uk. 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

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.

Equity

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.

MARCH Network

Resources and platform for home-based, creative ways to support mental health. Visit the MARCH Network website.

Arts Professional

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.

Last updated: 30 September 2021