Coronavirus: council service information and advice

Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus

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Please check this page for up-to-date information.

You can contact our dedicated business support line on 023 9284 1641. Please note: we are only taking urgent enquiries as we are experiencing a high number of calls. 

The government has a dedicated coronavirus business support website to help businesses find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply.

You can direct staff to nhs.uk/coronavirus where they can find the latest information and advice around coronavirus and what they should do if they think they have the illness.

Self-employed support

All non-essential business premises to close

The government has instructed all non-essential premises to close. A list of businesses to close under such guidance can be found online.

If you find a business that shouldn't be open, you can report them online.

Any public premises which are expected to remain open must ensure a distance of two metres between customers and shop assistants; and should let people enter the shop only in small groups, to ensure that spaces are not crowded. Queue control is required outside of shops and other essential premises that remain open.

Information and guidance:

Business support information

As announcements and guidance is issued, we are working hard to make sure the latest information appears here.

  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grant - £10,000 or £25,000 subject to eligibility
  • Small Business Grant Fund - £10,000 for small businesses
  • Retail Discount - 100% Business rate relief for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sector
  • Business Rates Public Lavatories Relief - 100% Relief from Business Rates
  • Business Rates Nursery Discount - 100% for child care providers on Ofsted's Early Years Register
  • Hardship Fund
  • Statutory sick pay relief package - for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • Up to £5 million Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance (with the first six months interest-free)
  • The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
  • New legal powers in the Covid Bill - this enables the Government to offer whatever further financial support they think necessary to businesses
  • Confirmation that the government's advice to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres etc. is sufficient to allow businesses to claim on their insurance where they have appropriate business interruption cover for pandemics
  • Relaxed planning regulations to allow pubs and restaurants to start providing takeaways without a planning application. This is to support the food industry and help provide meals for people who need to self-isolate.
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying 80% of their employees’ salary. 
  • Information on the Covid Corporate Financing Facility, including which lenders to contact, is  available on Bank of England’s website 
  • Deferring VAT and income tax payments - this will be deferred for 3 months for all UK businesses, and self-employed can also defer with no penalties or interest. 
  • DIT support - financial support and advice for businesses trading internationally.
  • UK Export Finance (UKEF) - financial support in the form of loans and insurance to assist all UK exporters that may be facing delayed payments or transit rejections.
  • Companies House - if your company cannot file its accounts on time due to Coronavirus, you can apply for an extension to give you more time.

    Mortgage lenders have also agreed they will support customers that are experiencing issues with their finances as a result of COVID-19, including through payment holidays of up to three months.
  • Protection for renters and landlords - this ensures that no renter in private or social accommodation can be evicted during this time. Landlords are also protected by a 3 month mortgage payment holiday to alleviate financial pressures.

Critical workers

Guidance has been published by the Government on which workers are classed as "critical". This includes:

  • Health and social care
  • Education and childcare
  • Key public services
  • Local and national government
  • Food and other necessary goods
  • Public safety and national security
  • Transport
  • Utilities, communication and financial services


Children of parents or carers who are critical workers

Schools have closed from the end of the day on Friday 20 March (until further notice), except for children of parents or carers who are critical workers and need to send their child to school.

If you are a parent classed as a critical worker and need to send your child to school, you are advised to act responsibly and follow the  key principles set out by government. Those classed as a critical worker should confirm with their employer that their specific role is essential to the day-to-day running of a public service.

Business updates

Businesses are advised to check Gov.UK regularly and sign up to their email alerts to make sure they are receiving the most up-to-date information.

Up-to-date information on business support is available via the government's official social media accounts:

Further information

Read Gov.UK's advice for businesses and employers

Contact us

Can't find what you're looking for? Our business support team have launched a dedicated phone number - 023 9284 1641