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. Key sources of support from Government and others are set out below.  For a full range of Government support offers please head to the Government's business support website. To keep up to date with local business news, sign up to receive the Council's business newsletter and to find out more about business support services provided by the Council and its partners, visit the Wandsworth Enterprise Hub.

See guidance on how to manage your business safely.

Government schemes

Job Support Scheme

The new Job Support Scheme launches on Sunday 1 November 2020. Under the scheme, which will run for six months, the government will contribute towards the wages of employees who are working fewer than normal hours due to decreased demand. 

Employers will continue to pay the wages of staff for the hours they work. For the hours not worked the government and the employer will each pay one third of their equivalent salary. The scheme is open to businesses even if they have not previously used the furlough scheme. Further details on applying to the scheme are awaited.

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. The Chancellor has announced that the scheme will remain open until the end of October 2020. 

Coronavirus sick pay scheme

The scheme allows small and medium sized employers, with fewer than 250 members of staff, to apply to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay for two weeks - worth nearly £200 per employee. Find out more and apply.

Tax cuts and deferrals

The temporary 15 per cent VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors is extended until the end of March 2021. Businesses unable to pay the full amount by this date, can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022, interest free.

Business that have deferred their VAT bills and unable to pay the full amount by this date, can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022, interest free.

Rather than paying a lump sum in full at the end March next year, they will be able to make 11 smaller interest-free payments during the 2021-22 financial year. 

Self-assessment taxpayers will be able to benefit from a separate additional 12-month extension from HMRC on the 'Time to Pay' self-service facility. This means that payments deferred from July 2020, and those due in January 2021, will now not need to be paid until January 2022.

Financial support and cashflow

Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)

On 4 May 2020, 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.

On Thursday 24 September 2020, the Chancellor has announced that the deadline to apply for a Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan has been extended to the end of November 2020.

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).

The Business Interruption Loan scheme has been extended to Monday 30 November 2020 for new applications. Lenders will be given the ability to extend the length of loans from a maximum of six years to ten years.

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.

High street banks

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

These include:

Grants for small and medium sized businesses

The London Growth Hub has launched an ERDF grant scheme to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) access specialist support. Small business owners in London will have access to grants of between £1,000 and £5,000. The purpose of this funding is to help them access professional, legal, financial or other advice and/or new technology and other equipment to help them get back on track to address their immediate needs in response to the impact of COVID-19.

The scheme will launch in Autumn 2020.

Find out more about the Grants for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)

Pay as you grow scheme

The Pay as You Grow scheme will support businesses with loans to repay.

By extending the repayment of the Bounce Back Loan from six to ten years, it almost halves the average monthly repayment and will allow businesses to make interest-only payments or suspend payments entirely for up to six months. The deadline to apply for both the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan and the Business Interruption Loan has been extended to the end of November 2020. 

Commercial tenants

In March 2020, the government 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 will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they have missed a payment from 23 March 2020. On 16 September 2020, the Government announced that commercial tenants will continue to be protected from the risk of eviction until the end of 2020. 

Transport for London tenant rent relief

TfL are offering their tenants help including financial support – so that their tenants can maintain their business during and after the pandemic.

More information on TfL  tenant support.

Network Rail tenants

For August and September 2020, tenants will have the option of drawing down deposit funds, if available, to cover half the rent. If no deposits are available than half the rent can be deferred instead. Tenants who require further support to pay rent in August or September for any reason, should contact The Arch Company via the Coronavirus Support Unit. Deposits and deferrals will not need to be replaced or paid back until June 2021 and will not be subject to interest during this twelve-month period.

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.

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.

Support for the self-employed

Read about how the self-employed can access help.

Additional guidance

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.