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See the latest information and advice in Exeter. We are closely monitoring the situation and working with the government and NHS, who are well prepared to deal with this virus.

Business and employers

We recognise that COVID-19 is unprecedented and will have a significant impact on our suppliers of all sizes. To assist with cash flow, all invoices will be paid on immediate payment terms, until further notice.

If you would like to keep up to date with the latest information for Business and employers, then please sign-up to our newsletter.

Updated: 27 August 2020

Quick links to information on this page


The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Self-employment Income Support Scheme
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (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

We hope the information below is helpful.

For the latest business support announcements from Government:

COVID 19 - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find out how to make your workplace COVID-secure.

Government has published 14 guides covering a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. Further guidance will be published as more businesses are able to reopen.

Social Distancing Measures

As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

That is why the government has given clear guidance on self-isolation, household isolation, social distancing, and asked that schools only remain open for those children who absolutely need to attend.

This guidance is helping to reduce the spread of the virus and reduce the mounting pressure on our NHS, allowing those most affected with COVID-19 to access the care they need.

Full guidance from Government in relation to businesses that should now be closed, can be found here;

Where necessary, the government will move to enforce compliance with all social distancing measures by law.

Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during the crisis.

You can now only claim if you have previously furloughed your employee before 30 June and you have submitted a claim for this by 31 July. This may differ if you have an employee returning from statutory parental leave.

For full guidance on eligibility, please visit;

Support for businesses that pay business rates

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

The government is introducing a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

You can estimate the business rate charge you will no longer have to pay this year using the business rates calculator.

How to apply: You do not need to do anything. This will apply to your next tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.

Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

A business rates holiday for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year will be introduced.

How to apply: You do not need to do anything. This will apply to your next tax bill in April 2020. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to exclude the business rate charge. They will do this as soon as possible.

More Information can be found on our Business Rates Pages:

Support for self-employed through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Applications for the second and final grant scheme for the Self-employed are now open. If you’re eligible and your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020, you must make your claim for the second grant on or before 19 October 2020.

Eligibility will be calculated in the same way as the first grant.

You can make a claim for the second grant if you’re eligible, even if you did not make a claim for the first grant.

If you receive the grant you can:

  • continue to work
  • start a new trade or take on other employment including voluntary work and duties as a military reservist

The grant does not need to be repaid if you’re eligible, but will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance.

HMRC will work out if you’re eligible and how much grant you may get. But you can follow these steps to help you understand how we will do this and what you can do now.

How to apply


Heart of the South West Growth Hub

You can keep up to date with the latest information and advice plus guidance for employers and business on the Heart of the South West website.

General enquiries Telephone 03456 047 047

Business Support

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

0300 456 3565, Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm

COVID 19 - Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support to smaller businesses (SMEs) across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cash flow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

CBILS has been significantly expanded along with changes to the scheme’s features and eligibility criteria. The changes mean even more smaller businesses across the UK impacted by the coronavirus crisis can access the funding they need.

Importantly, access to the scheme has been opened up to those smaller businesses that would have previously met the requirements for a commercial facility but would not have been eligible for CBILS. Insufficient security is no longer a condition to access the scheme.

British Business Bank Finance Hub

A number of private lenders and banks are also making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Businesses can also access a range of finance through the Government-owned British Business Bank, visit the Bank's Finance Hub below for further information.

Support for businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to Coronavirus.

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. These businesses can contact HMRC’s new dedicated COVID-19 helpline from 11 March 2020 for advice and support. To ensure ongoing support, HMRC have made a further 2,000 experienced call handlers available to support firms and individuals when needed. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Funding Opportunities

We regularly carry news of available funding opportunities within our Business Newsletter (issued fortnightly), you can sign up for the Newsletter here;

Employer & Employee Advice

ACAS Advice for Employers & Employees

Coronavirus information for employers and employees which is updated daily includes information on statutory redundancy pay or redundancy rights

ACAS helpline on 0300 123 1100

Coronavirus and Claiming Benefits

For those with queries about benefit claims – new and existing, in relation to Coronavirus;



When this content has been updated

Last updated 27 August 2020