Coronavirus: help for businesses

Updated: 6 August 2020

Help is available to businesses though various grant and discount schemes: 

Discretionary grants

The discretionary grants scheme has now closed and all the funds have been distributed.

Business support grant funds

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the government has announced support for small businesses and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Two new grant funding schemes have been announced:

  • Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF)
  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF)

Applications for Business Support Grants will close on 28 August 2020. After that time, no further applications can be accepted.

Small Business Grant Fund

This is a payment of £10,000 payable to ratepayers of properties that on 11 March 2020 qualified under the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme, including those properties with rateable values between £12,001 and £15,000, that qualified for tapered Relief and those properties that were eligible for Rural Rate Relief.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund

This is payable to ratepayers of properties, which on 11 March 2020 had a rateable value of less than £51,000 and would have been eligible for a discount under the Expanded Retail Discount Scheme, had that Scheme been in force on that date. Ratepayers of properties up to a rateable value of £15,000 will receive £10,000 and those with a rateable value between £15,001 and £50,999 will receive £25,000.

There will be a number of businesses (in particular those that do not pay their Business Rates by Direct Debit) where we need to obtain bank details in order to make the payments. We are contacting businesses separately on this. Please bear with us as we may contact you even if you do pay by Direct Debit as it will speed up the process. If that is the case, there is no need to respond to the request.

How to apply

Send us your details online: 

Apply for a Business Grant

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

Self-employed individuals or members of partnerships whose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus can apply for a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits.

Individuals are eligible if their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus, they traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020, intend to continue trading, and they:

  • earn at least half of their income through self-employment
  • have trading profits of no more than £50,000 per year
  • traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted their Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year

HMRC calculate the amount to be paid to each eligible claimant based on an average of the tax returns for 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19.  

Customers have been invited to claim their SEISS grant on a specified date, from 13-18 May. You won’t be able to apply before your claim date but can make a claim after that day. 

You can check your date using HMRC’s online checker at any time. 

Business rates relief

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Direct debit payments are being stopped for those businesses that have received their annual bill and will now not have to pay any business rates because of the Expanded Retail Discount Scheme.

We will send revised bills to reflect the fact that no payments are due to those businesses affected by this as soon as possible.

Government support and guidance

Government support programmes (including help for business ratepayers, statutory sick pay, business liquidity loans, loan support for larger firms and with HMRC) can be found here:

As part of the government's measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus, some businesses must close:

Regional support and guidance

General coronavirus advice and help for business is available on: 

As the central point of access for business support in Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire Growth Hub is on hand to help businesses access the advice and guidance they need to minimise the impact of COVID-19. Hertfordshire Growth Hub’s dedicated COVID-19 Business Resource Page contains the latest news, resources and support all in one place, from Government updates to looking after your employees wellbeing.

Crowdfund Hertfordshire: Small Business Innovation Fund

Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Visit Herts are working in partnership to offer small and micro businesses within the tourism, leisure, hospitality, retail, arts and cultural sectors the chance to unlock between £2000 and £5000 in match funding to help overcome the challenges of Covid-19. 

The £200,000 Hertfordshire LEP fund will be administered by Visit Herts and delivered through the Crowdfunder Pay it Forward platform. Participating businesses will raise money for their project through pledges from their community and loyal customers. Once a business secures their target through the Crowdfunder campaign, successful applicants will be able to unlock between £2,000 - £5,000 in match-funding from the Crowdfund Hertfordshire: Small Business Innovation Fund.

To qualify, your business will need to be located in Hertfordshire and be a micro or small business primarily operating in tourism, leisure, hospitality, retail, arts or culture sectors. You will need to demonstrate that your business has been affected by Covid-19 and how you would use the funding to adapt your current business to either operate during lockdown, or to adjust to post lockdown measures. You will also need to clearly demonstrate that the adjustments you intend to make will help protect jobs directly within your business. 

If you think your business is eligible and are interested in finding out more information, please visit the Visit Herts website for full business guidance and details of how to get involved. 

Payment of invoices

We are aware that some businesses may be experiencing difficulties due to the current situation, so we are moving to immediate payment terms for invoices. This means that as long as there is no existing dispute with an invoice, it will be paid on the next available payment run after being approved by the department and will not have to wait the normal 26 days before being paid.