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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.

For details on available grants, please visit our Covid-19 business support grants overview page

Updated: 17 December 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
  • 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.

See latest business support announcements from the 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.

There are three simple actions we must all do to keep on protecting each other

  • Wash hands keep washing your hands regularly
  • Cover face wear a face covering in enclosed spaces
  • Make space stay at least 2 metres apart - or 1 metre with a face covering or other precautions

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.

Social distancing measures have been put in place in the city centre, Magdalen Road, The Quay, Topsham, Cowick Street and Heavitree.  These have been funding by the Re-Opening Safely High Street Fund. 

This project is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) has been extended until 31 March 2021.

The guidance on this page reflects the rules up to and including 31 October 2020.

We will update this page shortly to:

  • tell you when you can claim the extension
  • include the rules relating to the extension


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;

Business Rates Reliefs 2020-21

Business Rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

The government has introduced a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

More Information can be found on our Business Rates pages.


Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates

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

You can check if your nursery is eligible for business rates relief due to coronavirus (covid-19) on the website.

For further details contact

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

Applications for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension will available from 30 November 2020.

The grant extension provides critical support to the self-employed in the form of 2 further grants, each available for 3 month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021.

To be eligible for the Grant Extension self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, must:

  • have been previously eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme first and second grant (although they do not have to have claimed the previous grants)
  • declare that they intend to continue to trade and either:
    • are currently actively trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus
    • were previously trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus

The extension will last for 6 months, from November 2020 to April 2021. Grants will be paid in 2 lump sum instalments each covering a 3 month period.

The third grant will cover a 3 month period from 1 November 2020 until 31 January 2021. The Government will provide a taxable grant calculated at 80% of 3 months average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total.

The Government has already announced that there will be a fourth grant covering February 2021 to April 2021. The Government will set out further details, including the level, of the fourth grant in due course.

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

The online service for the next grant will be available from 30 November 2020. HMRC will provide full details about claiming and applications in guidance on GOV.UK in due course.

For full guidance on eligibility, please visit;

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

This scheme has been extended until 31 January 2021

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 dedicated COVID-19 helpline 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 024 1222.

Funding Opportunities

We regularly carry news of available funding opportunities within our Business Newsletter (issued fortnightly), sign up for the Newsletter now to received these updates.


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;


Listening Ear

Wellbeing support for Devon businesses

Running a business is stressful at the best of times. Running a business during a pandemic is even harder. Listening Ear is a new service for Devon businesses that offers people a safe space to chat about those challenges on the telephone

When this content has been updated

Last updated 9 April 2021