Discretionary business support grant

The government has announced a discretionary fund aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. Businesses must be:

  • small
  • under 50 employees
  • able to demonstrate they've seen a significant drop of income due to coronavirus restriction measures
Find out more about discretionary business support grant


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

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Links to GOV.UK guidance



Discretionary business support grant
The government has announced a discretionary fund aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. Businesses must be small,  under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant (RHLG)
The government is providing additional funding to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates through the Small Business Grant (SBG).
Those which already receive Small Business Rate Relief and/or Rural Rate Relief and occupy property are eligible for this one-off grant of £10,000.
There's also support for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector, in receipt of the expanded Retail Discount through the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG).
Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, will receive a grant of £10,000 and those with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000, will receive a grant of £25,000.
Future Fund
This fund, which will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors opens from 20 May 2020.
These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

£1.25 billion government support package for businesses driving innovation and development
Package includes a £500 million investment fund for high-growth companies impacted by the crisis, made up of funding from government and the private sector.

TheSustainable Innovation Fund will help companies recovering from the impact of coronavirus by supporting projects with costs between £100,000 and £500,000.

It could go towards ideas such as developing new technologies focused on making homes and offices more energy efficient to cut bills, or creating ground-breaking medical technologies to treat infections and diseases.

Job Retention Scheme

Businesses who can’t maintain their current workforce because of coronavirus are able to claim up to £2,500 a month towards staff wages.

You can furlough employees and apply for a grant that covers 80% of their usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated employer national insurance contributions and pension contributions.

  • From 1 July, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for the hours not worked.
  • From 1 August, the level of grant will be reduced each month. To be eligible for the grant employers must pay furloughed employees 80% of their wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month for the time they are being furloughed.
  • The scheme has been extended until end of October.

The first time you will be able to make claims for days in July will be 1 July. 31 July 2020 is the last day that you can submit claims for periods ending on or before 30 June 2020.

The scheme closes on 31 October 2020.

Find out all the details below.


Back Loan scheme
Small businesses can benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders.
The scheme has been desig​ned to ensure that small firms who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get finance in a matter of days.
The government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee for the loan and pay any fees and interest for the first 12 months. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
The British Business Bank manages the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) will be delivered through a range of over 40 accredited lenders.
The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed guarantee against the outstanding facility balance, potentially enabling a ‘no’ credit decision from a lender to become a ‘yes’.
The government will cover the first twelve months of interest payments and any facility arrangement fees charged by lenders, so businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.
Access to the scheme has been opened up to those smaller businesses who would have previously met the requirements for a commercial facility but would not have been eligible for CBILS. This significantly increases the number of businesses eligible for the scheme.
New scheme features
  • No personal guarantees for facilities under £250k: Personal guarantees of any form cannot be taken under the scheme for any facilities below £250k.
  • Personal guarantees for facilities above £250k: Personal guarantees may still be required, at a lender’s discretion, but recoveries under these are capped at a maximum of 20% of the outstanding balance of the CBILS facility after the proceeds of business assets have been applied.
  • A Principal Private Residence (PPR) cannot be taken as security to support a personal guarantee or as security for a CBIL backed facility.
  • Security: For all facilities, including those over £250,000, CBILS can now support lending to smaller businesses even where a lender considers there to be sufficient security, making more smaller businesses eligible to receive the business interruption payment.
Any business interested in applying to CBILS 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.
Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CLBILS)
CLBILS includes all firms with a turnover of more than £45 million. They will now be able to apply for up to £25 million of finance and up to £50 million for firms with a turnover of more than £250 million.

Relief and further help

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid to current or former employees.

The repayment will cover up to two weeks starting from the first qualifying day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they either:
  • have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms;
  • cannot work because they are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms; or
  • are shielding and have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks
  • they are self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus
Find out if you can use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees' coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
Retail business relief
Following the guidance from government on the expanded retail hospitality and leisure relief we have not taken any direct debit in April from any ratepayer that has now been issued with a revised bill granting retail relief of 100%.
If you're one of the eligible businesses, you should not pay your first instalment of the bill in April as you will soon be receiving the amended bill showing nothing to pay. Click here for a full list of the retail business this includes.
Commercial rent
Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction and measures in place to support ongoing conversations between landlords and tenants about voluntary arrangements.
Filing of accounts
Businesses will be given an additional 3 months to file accounts with Companies House to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impact of COVID-19.
VAT and Income Tax payments
Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments can be deferred for 3 months.

Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system may be deferred until January 2021.
Income Tax
For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on 31 July 2020 may be deferred until 31 January 2021.
Businesses trading internationally
Information for businesses that export or deliver goods and services abroad and have been impacted by the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) including:
  • DIT support for UK business trading internationally
  • financial support for business trading internationally
Support from local business
If you have a business that can offer support by supplying items such as hand sanitiser, gloves and other equipment that can be used in the fight against coronavirus then do get in touch with our Economic Development team economicdevelopment@luton.gov.uk.


Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
This scheme supports self-employed (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
This scheme allows you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months.
You will now be able to make a claim for a second and final grant in August 2020. If you’re eligible it will be a taxable grant worth 70% of your average monthly trading profits. Make your claim before 12 July.
HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000.

Advice and guidance available locally

SEMLEP’s Growth Hub is offering businesses support, advice and guidance to help local businesses navigate the current situation. Their business advisers are available to talk to business owners and directors about the critical areas of their business affected by coronavirus.
To contact the team, please email growthhub@semlep.com or call 0300 01234 35.
Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce - see BCC website
Federation of Small Businesses - see FSB website
The Business Investment District (BID)
The BID’s business support hub has been launched to help Luton town centre businesses manage during the coronavirus crisis.
#LutonBusinessSupport acts as a matchmaking service - to link those who can offer support with those town centre businesses seeking help, advice and/ or guidance. It is also designed to be a community within which businesses can share experiences, ask questions and offer support and advice.
At the heart of this new business hub is a #LutonBusinessSupport Facebook group.

Also see guidance on health and safety​​​​​​

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