COVID-19 - Business support

Information on the latest support being offered to businesses affected by COVID-19 can be found below.

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Back to Business: supporting more businesses to reopen

Winchester City Council has issued two comprehensive ‘Back to Business’ packs to support businesses as they reopen - one aimed at retailers and a second edition to support close contact services, hospitality and the wider visitor economy. You'll find handy guidance and practical resources like printable signage and checklists.


Government updates

  • NHS Test and Trace update

    To ensure that businesses and venues are able to remain open the government is now mandating that certain businesses and venues ask one member of every party to provide their contact details through NHS Test and Trace. You must have a system in place to ensure that you can collect contact information for your customers and keep records of staff working patterns for a period of 21 days to assist NHS Test and Trace contain clusters or outbreaks.
    Any designated business that is found not to be compliant with these regulations will be subject to financial penalties.
    A list of sectors affected by these changes can be found here

  • Are you prepared for the new NHS Covid-19 app?

    The government is launching its new Covid-19 app on Thursday 24 September.  They are urging businesses such as pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas to ensure they have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the app can use their smartphones to easily check-in.

    There’s more information here and downloadable resources here.

  • Covid-19 secure guidance

    Click here for the government's  ‘COVID-19 Secure guidance’.


Business relief and grants

Business relief and grants are available via Winchester City Council listed below click here.

  • Small Business Grant Funding

    The Government is providing additional funding for Local Authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief.

    Find out more from Winchester City Council here.

    Find out more from the Government’s Business Support pages here

  • Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

    If your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector, you can apply to receive a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.

    Find out more from Winchester City Council here.

    Find out more from the Government’s Business Support pages here.

  • Discretionary Grants

    A government discretionary fund to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside of the scope of the Small Business Grant Fund, the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant and the Retail Relief for Business Rates. Businesses need to have fewer than 50 employees, have ongoing fixed property-related costs and demonstrate a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.  

    Click here for more information.

  • Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

    Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-2021 tax year. Please note that 2020-21 Business Rates bills for ratepayers in receipt of Retail Relief have not been issued.  We are now applying the amended relief to everyone we believe qualifies and a new business rates bill will be issued to you by Friday 27 March.

    Find out more from Winchester City Council here.

    Find out more from the Government’s Business Support pages here.

Government support via agencies

Additional support is available from Government via various agencies. These are outlined below.

  • The Kickstart scheme

    The Kickstart scheme is grant funding for employers to create new jobs for any 16 to 24-year-old at risk of long-term unemployment, with government paying their wages, plus overheads, for the first six months. The first kickstarters will be in their new jobs this November, and there will be no cap on the number of places available. Hampshire Chamber of Commerce will be taking on the role of intermediary in the scheme. Contact them here to receive help with this process. For more information on the Kickstart scheme click here.

  • Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

    This scheme will help small to medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.

    Click here for more information.

  • Innovation and R&D funding

    The government has announced that a £1.25 billion support package for UK businesses driving innovation and development will be helped through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

    This fund is targeted and tailored help would ensure firms in some of the most dynamic sectors of the UK economy – ranging from tech to life sciences – are protected through the crisis so they can continue to develop innovative new products and help power UK growth.

    This package includes a new £500 million loan scheme for high-growth firms, called the Future Fund, and £750 million of targeted support for small and medium sized businesses focusing on research and development.

    Click here for more information.

  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

    This scheme assists businesses affected by Coronavirus in accessing bank lending and overdraft facilities. For loans up to £5 million, the government is providing a guarantee of 80% for each loan. 

    Find out more from the Government’s Business Support pages here.

    Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme is available for larger businesses with £200m.

    Find out more click here.

  • Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility

    The new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) will see the Bank of England buying short term debt from larger companies.

    Find out more the Government’s Business Support pages here.

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

    Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers operating  a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

    On 12 May the government extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to the end of October 2020.

    A jobs retention bonus of £1,000, per employer, for businesses bringing back employees from furlough and continuously employing them from November 2020 until January 2021. More information is available here.

    A step by step guide for employers is available here.

    Find out more the Government’s Business Support pages here.

  • Statutory Sick Pay Rebate

    The Government has brought forward legislation to allow small and medium sized businesses to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for staff sickness absence due to coronavirus.

    Find out more the Government’s Business Support pages here.

  • VAT Reduction

    The government has introduced a VAT cut from 20% to 5% for the hospitality and tourism sectors to 12 January 2021. For more information on VAT reduction click here.

  • Income Tax Deferral for the Self-Employed

    If you are self-employed, your Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.

    Find out more the Government’s Business Support pages here.

  • Self-employment Income Support Scheme

    This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.

    Find out more the Government’s Business Support pages here.

  • Time to Pay

    All businesses and self-employed people in financial difficulty, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

    Find out more the Government’s Business Support pages here.


Additional funding

  • Restart and recovery grants

    The Kickstarting Tourism and Restart and Recovery Grants have been created, specifically to help SMEs adapt and diversify following the impact of Covid-19. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), eligible SMEs can access grants of between £1,000 and £3,000 (up to £5,000 in exceptional circumstances) for specialist advice. Applications are open now, funding is extremely limited and the scheme is expected to be popular, so expressions of interest should be made as soon as possible.

    Click here to visit the Enterprise M3 website for more information.

  • Arts funding

    Arts Council England are making £160 million of emergency funding available for those organisations and individuals who will need it during this crisis, and they have also changed the funding requirements for individuals and organisations currently in receipt of funding from the Arts Council to help alleviate pressure on them.

    Click here to find out more information. .

Support and advice

Supplier relief

  • Information and Guidance for contracted suppliers during COVID-19 (coronavirus).

    Recovery And Transition – July To October

    The council has been working hard since the beginning of the outbreak to ensure it is following the latest Government guidance relating to:

    •          adopting safe working practices;
    •          responding to this major incident;
    •          the payment of contracted suppliers during this period of national disruption.

    The council recognises the impact the restrictions had during the early stages between and April and June of the outbreak and assisted by following Supplier Relief guidance contained within Procurement Policy Note 02/20 Supplier Relief due to Covid19, which covered this period.

    As the restrictions begin to be lifted, this guidance has been updated  (9 June) with the issue of Procurement Policy Note 04/20 Recovery and Transition from COVID-19) and so the Council will review, where necessary transition from any relief to more sustainable operating models.

    The council continues to appreciate the commitment from our contracted suppliers as we move towards recover and delivery service under less constrained circumstances and will work in partnership to deliver important services to the residents.

    If you are a contractor or supplier to the council and would like to discuss we may help, please send your query to in the first instance, stating the name of your normal council contact. Any new applications for relief will be reviewed in inline with current guidance and will be subject to conditions and commitments, which will be shared with you upon application