COVID-19: Support for businesses

How the Council is supporting businesses

It is a priority that we do everything to enable the business sector to bounce back following this period of immense uncertainty. The Council will continue to advocate with a strong voice for the needs of businesses in Wandsworth to ensure we get through this situation as a cohesive and enterprising community. For a full range of government support offers please head to the Government's business support website.

Councillor Jonathan Cook, Wandsworth Council’s Cabinet member for economic development, skills and employment said: “I have called on the Chancellor to expand the existing support measures to include a wider range of enterprises, reflecting the important local linkages between them in a borough such as Wandsworth. Whilst I appreciate this will increase the costs of government support during this period, I do feel that it will actually cost less over the long term as economic recovery will be that much quicker.”

Business Rates relief and grants

On 11 March 2020, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that there would be specific support for small businesses, and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Estate agents, lettings agencies and bingo halls will be exempt from business rates.This support includes giving all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months and the following two cash grant funding schemes:

Small Business Grant Fund: a £10,000 grant will be provided to businesses currently eligible for small business rate relief (SBRR).

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund: a £25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that have a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.

You can only claim this grant funding if you pay business rates or are eligible for small business rate relief (SBRR). Read more about the scheme.  

Apply for a cash grant online

Read more about Government financial support for businesses during coronavirus.

Business Interruption Insurance

Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim as long as all other terms and conditions are met. Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. The government is pushing for insurers to pay where cover against diseases is included. Read more on the ABI website.

Closing certain businesses and venues

On 23 March 2020, the government stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives. View the types of businesses and venues which must close.

Financial support and cashflow

New small business grant fund scheme

On 2 May, the Government announced the launch of a discretionary fund set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme, that have ongoing fixed property-related costs. The Council is waiting to receive full details and guidance from the Government on this scheme. Information and details of the application process will be published on our website as soon as it becomes available

Bounce Back Loan

On 4 May, the Government launched a new scheme for those in need of smaller business loans. Businesses can apply for the new Bounce Back Loans between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. The Government will pay the interest for the first 12 months and support lending by guaranteeing 100% of the loan. Find out more and apply

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is available for SMEs through more than 40 accredited lenders across the UK. The scheme, which offers loans of up to £5 million, is being delivered by the British Business Bank and will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan. 

Large businesses with an annual turnover of over £45 per year can apply for up to £25 million of finance from the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).

Corporate Financing Facility

The Corporate Financing Facility helps large businesses affected by coronavirus through the purchase of their short-term debt by the Bank of England where the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.

Paying your employees: Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. HMRC will pay employers a grant worth 80% of an employee's usual wage costs, up to £2,500 a month. The Chancellor has announced that the scheme will remain open until the end of October. Find out more and claim.

Prince's Trust and NatWest Relief Fund

The £5m Enterprise Relief Fund will offer grants to 18 to 30-year olds across the UK who are self-employed and/or running their own business. The initiative also offers one-to-one support and guidance. Register for grants and tailored support.

Tax payment holidays

For the self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the self-assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.Businesses may also be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangementVAT payments will be deferred from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.

Rent relief for commercial tenants

The government has announced that commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. These measures, included in the emergency Coronavirus Bill currently going through Parliament, will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment between 23 March and 30 June 30 2020. 

Transport for London tenant rent relief

All small and medium businesses on TfL's estate, which make up 86% of tenants, are to get 100% rent relief. This will start from start from 25 March for the next three months. More information.

Network Rail tenants

Network Rail/The Arch Company has published details of the £10 million Hardship Fund that will be used to cover the cost of a three-month rent free period (March to May) for independent small businesses in the retail, hospitality, leisure and overseas travel sectors, as well as others severely affected by COVID-19. Read more.

Support for the self-employed

Read about how the self-employed can access help.

Support for businesses trading internationally

Advice for UK businesses that export or deliver goods and services abroad and have been impacted by the spread of coronavirus can be found on GOV.UK.

High street banks

A number of high street banks are providing support/making funds available to small businesses affected by COVID-19.

These include:

Additional guidance

To keep up to date with local business news, sign up to receive the councils business newsletter. 

Further information on COVID-19 support for your business can be found on the following websites:

If you have a query that isn’t covered by this guidance, please contact the Business Support Helpline.