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Luton Borough Council

Grants, loans and support

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 - (This grant has now closed)
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) and the Small Business Grant (SBG) grant
This grant has now closed.
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.
£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.

SMEs focusing on research and development will also benefit from £750 million of grants and loan.

The Sustainable Innovation Fund ,which will help companies recovering from the impact of coronavirus by supporting projects with costs between £100,000 and £500,000, closes at the end of September 2020

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

From 1 September, the government will pay 70 per cent of wages up to a maximum cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough.

Employers will top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80 per cent (up to £2,500). The caps are proportional to the hours not worked. You can read more information about the changes.

The scheme closes on 31 October 2020.

Check if you can claim for your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Job Retention Bonus

This is a £1,000 one-off taxable payment to the employer, for each eligible employee that you furloughed and kept continuously employed until 31 January 2021.
You will be able to claim it between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021 and you do not have to pay this money to your employee. Guidance will be updated by the end of January 2021 with details on how to access the online claim service on GOV.UK.
Find out if you’re eligible to claim the Job Retention Bonus and what you need to do to claim it.

Kickstart scheme

Employers looking to create job placements for young people could apply for funding as part of the Kickstart Scheme.

The scheme can be used to create new 6 month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The job placements should support them to develop the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the scheme.

Further information
Guidance information


Bounce Back loan
Small businesses can benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders.
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.
Find out more about the Back Loan scheme.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
This British Business Bank scheme is 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.
Visit the British Bank website to find out more about the CBILS.
Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CLBILS)
CLBILS includes all firms with a turnover of more than £45 million. They can apply for up to £25 million of finance and up to £50 million for firms with a turnover of more than £250 million.
Find out more about CLBILS.

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.
Extra protection for businesses with ban on evictions for commercial tenants who miss rent payments
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.
Companies to receive 3-month extension period to file accounts during COVID-19

Tax cuts and deferrals

  • 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.
  • An extension of the temporary 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors to the end of March 2021.
  • Businesses who deferred their VAT bills will provide the option to pay back in smaller instalments through the New Payment Scheme. 
  • An additional 12-month extension from HMRC on the Time to Pay self-service facility, meaning payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.
  • A new Pay as You Grow flexible repayment system, to provide flexibility for firms repaying a Bounce Back Loan.
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
Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for UK businesses 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 [email protected].


Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
This scheme supports self-employed (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
The second grant is open and you can make your claim from the date the HMRC gives you. You must make your claim for the second grant on or before 19 October 2020.
The grant is being extended from 1 November 2020.
There’s also an initial taxable grant provided to those who are currently eligible for SEISS and are continuing to actively trade but face reduced demand due to coronavirus.
Check if you can claim a grant through SEISS.
Watch videos and register for free webinars.
Hospitality and tourism business
Thousands of expert professional and business services advisers have signed up to offer free online advice to help small businesses.
Public bodies, organisations and charities have produced additional resources that may be useful to employers and employees.

Find out more

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 [email protected] or call 0300 01234 35.
See the SEMLEP website for more information on the support available for businesses.
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​​​​​​​

© 2020 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ