Coronavirus (COVID-19)

See our dedicated coronavirus webpage for changes and updates to our services, how to get help in your community and support and advice for businesses.

All coronavirus information


Help for businesses

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak presents a significant challenge to businesses around the globe.

The government has published its latest advice and support measures for employers and businesses, with further guidance and information in the coming days and weeks.

We are working to implement these measures and to support our local businesses as efficiently as possible. We recognise this is a concerning time for our residents and businesses alike and the situation is changing on a daily basis. We will continue to bring you the most up-to-date advice by updating this webpage and social media.

Businesses looking for health information can go to

Government support

An unprecedented multi-billion support package for business and jobs was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak including:

  • 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.
Guidance: COVID-19 Support for businesses

Self-employed income support scheme

HMRC is beginning to contact customers who may be eligible for the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

The details of the scheme are as follows:

  • You will be able to apply for a taxable grant worth 80% of your average monthly profits over the last 3 years, up to £2,500 per month
  • The scheme is open to those with trading profits up to £50,000 a year who make the majority of their income from self-employment
  • You will be able to claim these grants and continue to do business
  • HMRC will administer this grant
  • Money, backdated to March, will be paid in a single sum (and subject to tax)
  • The scheme will be open for at least 3 months
  • To minimise fraud only those already in self-employment, who have a tax return for 2019 can apply

You can check your eligibility using the new online checker tool. Once the online check is complete, those who are eligible will be given a date when they can submit their claim.

The claims service will open on Wednesday, 13 May. The claims process will be very simple, and those eligible will have the money paid into their bank account by 25 May, or within six working days of completing a claim. 

There is also further guidance available on ‘How HMRC works out trading profits and non-trading income' and ‘How different circumstances affect the scheme’.

Beware of scams: HMRC will never contact you out of the blue asking for personal information such as your name, credit card or bank details.

More information about the scheme and how it will work

Frequently Asked Questions

What else is available for the self-employed?

You can also access:

For information on all the government's business support schemes.

Business Rates

The business rates relief is being applied to all eligible business accounts. You do not need to take any further action as the discount will be applied automatically and the bills amended accordingly. This includes the 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses, estate agents, letting agents, betting shops and bingo halls.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans

The Chancellor has announced the new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBIS), small and medium sized businesses with access to working capital (including loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance) of up to £5 million in value and for up to 6 years.

The government has extended this scheme so that all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time.

The government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals.

The government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest payments and facility arrangement fees charged by lenders, so businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.

The government has also just announced (on the 17 April) a new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan (CLBILS) scheme for larger companies. The new scheme means that all viable businesses with a turnover of more than £45m will be able to apply for government backed support. 

It will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25m to firms with an annual turnover of more than £45m.  Firms with a turnover of more than £250 million can borrow up to £50 million from lenders.

The scheme will be available through a series of accredited lenders, which will be listed on the British Business Bank website.

Read more on the GOV.UK website.

Note: Any business interested in applying should talk to their bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss their business plan with them. This will help the finance provider to act quickly once the scheme has launched.

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

Bounce Back Loan scheme

The new Bounce Back Loans scheme is now open for applications. The scheme allows small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days.

The government guarantees 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 has also agreed with lenders that an affordable flat rate of 2.5% interest will be charged on these loans. Businesses can apply online through a short and simple form. You can find further information about the scheme, including eligibility, here.

The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders and will run alongside the existing Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Business support guidance and helpline

You can contact the government’s Business Support Helpline for free advice. 

You can call them on 0800 998 1098. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm.

You can find more information about the support available to businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Employers and businesses owners should check for daily updates at GOV.UK and subscribe to receive email alerts to ensure they are acting on the most up to date information.

Other support organisations

Coronavirus relief for contracted suppliers

We are most appreciative of the ongoing commitment and support from our contracted suppliers to maintain services and supplies to the council during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

We also appreciate that some suppliers may struggle to fully meet their full contractual obligations, and that we may need to alter our requirements, temporarily suspend some services, or change ways of working to do what is necessary for our community.

During this period, we would like to work together with our contracted suppliers to provide support where it is possible in order that we can resume normal contract service delivery as soon as possible once the COVID-19 outbreak is over.

Supplier relief

We are able to offer some supplier relief (support) on a case by case basis according to the nature of the services, goods or works being provided, the challenges being faced, the contracted terms and the constraints of any statutory requirements.

Every contract will have its own unique characteristics and therefore the relief available will vary case by case, but some examples could be as follows:

  • accelerated invoice payment
  • increased frequency of invoicing
  • payment in advance or on order (not receipt)
  • redeployment of any currently unrequired services capacity to other areas of need
  • change to contract requirements including an extension to current agreed end date
  • change to delivery locations, frequency and timing of delivery
  • changes to targets and performance indicators
  • extension of time for contract performance
  • revised milestones or delivery dates
  • payment at usual contractual rates for certain critical services with analysis and reconciliation at a later date

There may be other forms of relief that may be helpful in the short-term so please feel free to suggest those to us if it ensures we can maintain business continuity.

Supplier relief is currently available up to the end of June 2020, and this may be extended further at a later date if we are advised of this by government.

Requesting relief

If you need some flexibility or support up to the end of June 2020 and would like to request some contractual relief, you should make contact with your normal contract manager or day to day contact to discuss the options that might be available.

We will then send you a response to relief request letter which will ask you to detail your rationale and justification for relief in order that we can quickly determine the best solution in the best interests of both parties and our community.

If you are unsure of the email address of the contract manager or your day to day contact you can also contact us with your relief request [email protected]. The request will be shared with the correct person and you will be advised of the correct email address for future communication.

Supplier obligations during the relief period

We need all suppliers to ensure that business continuity is maintained wherever possible, and that you enact your business continuity plans to do your utmost to support our requirements.

In some cases we may need to make quick decisions with imperfect information, and any supplier relief offered is conditional on suppliers agreeing to act and work on a total open book basis with appropriate cost transparency, in order that we can continue to meet our value for money obligations.

Other conditions for any supplier relief are as follows:

  • Suppliers must commit to ensuring that any required cost data is made available to the council where requested or agree to provide it at a later date for audit and reconciliation
  • Where relief is offered suppliers must agree to continue to pay their own employees and subcontractors to ensure business continuity
  • Suppliers should retain records during the relief period in order to support future reconciliation
  • Suppliers should strictly adhere to the agreed invoicing protocols in order that we can pay you quickly
  • Suppliers should identify in their invoices which elements relate to normal business as usual matters, and which elements are related to the impact of Covid-19 where relief has been agreed
  • Suppliers must not make relief claims to another source of government funding which results in the same relief being paid by government twice
  • If it is found that any supplier is found to be taking undue fair advantage, or failing in their duty to act transparently and with integrity, then we have a right to take action to recover payments made.

We feel sure that everybody will work together to deliver the best outcomes for our community and that any agreed relief up to the end of June 2020 is offered on this basis.

Your best efforts to support the council and our community are genuinely appreciated.

Stay updated

We are asking all businesses to please sign up to our business e-newsletter and our closed Facebook page which is for businesses only – just search for Braintree District Businesses. We will update these channels as regularly as possible to make sure your business has access to the latest information.

This information was last updated at 9:17am on Wednesday 8th April 2020.