COVID-19 Supporting Businesses

UK government and local government have established many initiatives to help support businesses and employers who are affected by COVID-19. We have tried to answer some of your questions below


What is the government’s latest advice and support package for businesses?

The Chancellor announced the Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan scheme – to help small and medium-sized businesses affected by coronavirus. The scheme went live on Monday 4 May 2020 offering businesses loans of between £2,000 and £50,000.

The government extended the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) so that all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, are eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time. 

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) will also ensure that more firms are able to benefit from government-backed support during this difficult time. 

The government has introduced the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill in Parliament, which will put in place a series of measures to amend insolvency and company law to support business to address the challenges resulting from the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Business Support Grant funding website includes information on state aid, monitoring requirements, post payment checks, and the eligibility of charities.

The Government Covid-19 – Business Support Hub provides all the latest information on business support direct from the Government.

There is also a detailed paper available on business rates information and a page on the website to help businesses that need to defer their VAT payment.

There is also a tax helpline to support businesses.


Can you tell me more about the Business Interruption Loan Scheme?

NGI partner, UNW has a really useful FAQ document on this issue.


I’m self-employed, is there any help available for me?

The Government updated its information on assistance for people who are self-employed on 14/04/20. Read more about the grant scheme here.

The Chancellor announced a package of support for people who are self employed. More information can be found here. There is also a FAQs section to help you.


We need to keep our business open. Is there any advice on social distancing in the workplace?

The Government announced new advice on working safely during coronavirus on 11 May 2020.


As a non-essential business, we need to shut down. How can I support my staff?

The government has announced an extension of the furlough scheme until October

Read the government’s latest updates on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and whether you business is eligible.

The government has published a step-by-step guide for employers on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

On 13 May the government issued new advice on holiday entitlement and pay during coronavirus.

The government has updated the Guidance for Employers by adding new detail on the treatment of pension payments for furloughed workers. Specifically, you cannot claim for:

  • Additional National Insurance or pension contributions you make because you chose to top up your employee’s salary
  • Any pension contributions you make that are above the mandatory employer contribution

ACAS (The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has a page dedicated to employer information to provide guidance in the event of a temporary shut down. Additionally, NGI partner, UNW has provided a great FAQ document on this issue.


How can my business offer Coronavirus support to the government?

The Government is asking businesses if they can offer coronavirus (COVID-19) support. The support needed includes:

  • Medical testing equipment, medical equipment design, protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser
  • Hotel rooms, transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
  • Manufacturing equipment
  • Warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
  • Expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement, engineering or communications
  • Social care or childcare

Businesses can share the areas they can offer support through the online portal.


We are close to the end of our holiday year. What is the guidance on staff carrying over annual leave?

The government has issued a list of rules that can be relaxed during the Covid-19 crisis, including rules on annual leave.

NGI partner Ward Hadaway has a range of helpful FAQs on employment (as well as other legal issues). 

I run a food business, what’s the latest guidance for our sector?

New guidance for food businesses has been added to the government website including information about coronavirus and food, food hygiene guidance, managing employee sickness, social distancing and maintaining social distancing in specific food business settings.

What business advice and support is available in my local area?

Many local authorities have dedicated pages where they have brought all of their Covid-19 support information together in one place.

Newcastle City Council

Gateshead Council

Durham County Council

Northumberland County Council

Sunderland City Council

North Tyneside Council

South Tyneside Council


Who is defined as a key worker? 

Government guidance on critical workers who can access schools or educational settings


Is there any guidance available for charities?

The Government website has charity-specific information available here.


NGI Partner information:

To find out more about how we are supporting our partners, including ways to contribute to intelligence gathering and how to update your information for our leisure visitor channels, please visit our dedicated partner page.



Check out our COVID-19 Business Resources page for the most useful COVID-19 resources we’ve seen (webinars, blogs, guides etc), alongside our own content which is designed to help our partner organisations and other businesses across North East England.