Coronavirus update and advice

What you need to do: Stay at home. Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (only if you cannot work from home). Stay 2 metres away from other people. Wash your hands as soon as you get home.

More information

1. Financial support

The Chancellor has introduced a range of measures to support businesses.

These are:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme 

The Government is updating the information on the GOV.UK website:

How do I access this support?

Expanded Retail Discount 2020/21

Business Rates bills have already been issued in March for 2020/21.

Expanded Retail Discount (which was announced by the Govt on 17 March 2020) will be applied to 2020/21 bills as soon as possible.

You do not need to apply for the additional relief. If you qualify, we will apply it to your account automatically and send you a revised bill.

Properties that will benefit from the relief are occupied properties wholly or mainly used

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self- catering accommodation

There will be no rateable value limit on the relief and the Government has advised Local Authorities to award the discount ignoring State Aid de minimis limits.

More information and a full list of the businesses that will receive Extended Retail Discount Relief is available on the GOV.UK website:

Business Rate Relief for Local Nurseries

The Government has announced a business rates holiday for nurseries in England for 2020/21. Those eligible for the relief will be:

  • occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
  • wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage

You do not need to apply for the additional relief.

If you qualify, we will apply it to your account automatically and send you a revised bill.

For details about the scheme please see the guidance on the GOV.UK website: 

Cash Grant Funding

There will be a £10,000 cash grant to our smallest businesses.

Small businesses do not need to apply for these grants and small businesses who pay little or no Business Rates and are eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBBR) or Rural Rate Relief will be contacted directly by the Council. 

A £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

The Council is currently waiting for guidance from Government about how to administer these Cash Grants (expected w/c 23 March 2020).

Businesses will be updated about the process for claiming this support as soon as possible.

Help with Buisness Rates

The government has introduced a range of measures including Business Rate Reliefs and Grants to help Businesses including Expanded Retail Discount and Small Business Grants as set out above.

Those businesses that can afford to pay are asked to keep up with their payments as detailed on the bill.

We recognise that this a difficult time and have implemented other measures to support those businesses who are struggling to pay so that we can work with you to make alternative payment arrangements.

Overdue Business Rates

Enforcement Agent (bailiff) visits to collect overdue Business Rates have been suspended until the end of June 2020.

Payment plans

Special payment plans can be agreed on request. For example, Business Rates due can be split over 9 months from July 2020 to March 2021. This will mean you have nothing to pay until July 2020.


The Council has suspended the issue of formal reminders for unpaid Business Rates but strongly encourage those who are struggling to contact us at the earliest opportunity so that we can discuss special payment plans and ensure that you are getting all the reliefs, grants and business advice that you are entitled to.

Please contact us by email and we will come back to you as promptly as possible: