Coronavirus – Help for Businesses

​We recognise our local businesses are facing a challenging and uncertain time as we all consider the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.

We are extremely proud of our local economy and value all the businesses that make Wakefield the unique, vibrant place it is.

We are supporting our businesses in the following ways:


Business grant application
  • Businesses in receipt of small business rate relief / rural rate relief, and businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors may be eligible to apply for a COVID-19  business grant.  Apply hereThe scheme closes on 28th August 2020.

  • On 01 May 2020 the Government announced the Local Authority Discretionary Grant Fund, designed to provide grant support to small businesses who were not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Fund.  Find out more and apply hereThe scheme closes on 28th August 2020.

Help with cashflow problems
  • To support SME's with cashflow issues, the Coronavirus Business Interruption loan Scheme has been introduced and is live now. Businesses can apply for loans up to £5 million, interest free for 12 months. Talk to your bank or one of the 40 accredited finance providers. The government has provided lenders with a guarantee of 80% of each loan to improve availability of cash. The full rules are available at the British business Bank website.

  • Larger Companies facing cashflow issues can access support through the Covid-19 Corporate financing Facility. Under the scheme, the government will buy short term debt from larger companies feeling the squeeze due to Covid-19. More information is available from the Bank of England.

  • We recognise that there are self-employed individuals out there who are concerned at how Covid-19 will affect their income streams. Where you do not qualify for any of the above grants, and / or are not able to take on additional lending, the government has introduced steps to increase access to Universal Credit. In addition, the minimum income floor has been suspended for the self-employed and the standard allowance will rise over the next 12 months. This means self-employed people can access Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay. For more information, see the Universal Credit page. There is also Mortgage support, following discussions with industry, for those in difficulty due to coronavirus, mortgage lenders will offer mortgage holidays of 3 months.

Rating reliefs
Help for small businesses

The Bounce Back Loan scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan. The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders. Eligibility You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • has been negatively affected by coronavirus
  • was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019

Who cannot apply

The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • further-education establishments, if they are grant-funded
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools

If you’re already claiming funding You cannot apply if you’re already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

If you’ve already received a loan of up to £50,000 under CBILS and would like to transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020. How to apply The Bounce Back Loan scheme will launch on 4 May 2020. More information about the scheme will be published shortly

  • For information on small business grants

  • You can only access the small business grants scheme through this link. If someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from Wakefield Council, HMRC or any other government department, saying that you can claim financial help or are owed a tax refund, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it is a scam.

Tax Liabilities

For those paying income tax through self-assessment, payments on account due on 31st July 2020 this will be deferred until January 2021.

  • VAT is being deferred from 20 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. There is no need to make a VAT payment during this period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid as normal during this time.

  • HMRC have scaled up the Time to Pay offer. This allows businesses in financial distress as a result of Covid-19 to agree payment arrangements for outstanding tax liabilities. To discuss this further call HMRC's helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Help for employers
  • A Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rebate scheme is being developed for SME's based in the UK, allowing them to reclaim SSP for sickness absence due to Covid-19. Employers should maintain records of absence, and employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required, employees with symptoms of Covid-19 can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online. Those who live with someone with symptoms who are self-isolating can get a note from the NHS website.

  • Where employers are at risk of laying off staff, the Coronavirus Job retention Scheme will reimburse 80% of workers wage costs up to a cap of £2500 / month. HMRC are working to put this in place and we will provide further information as soon as we have it.

What if my staff are not able to work from home?
  • All staff are encouraged to work from home where possible. If staff are not able to work from home, they should follow Public Health Guidance COVID-19 Stay at home guidance

Can my business remain open or does it have to close?

The list of businesses and venues that must remain closed are on the government website.

In England, Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers will monitor compliance with these regulations and help businesses who wish to open in a different way to which they normally would, for example food businesses wishing to create a delivery service. If you would like to talk about how this applies to your business please contact us by email food@wakefield.gov.uk

(including for non-food business queries) or on 0345 8 506 506 and ask to speak with someone from Environmental Health.
My business is open but I need help with the social distancing guidelines

Advice for employers on social distancing during Coronavirus can be found on the government website.

If you would like help regarding a specific business in Wakefield on interpreting the guidelines and how you can best fit them into your workplace please email food@wakefield.gov.uk

(including for non-food related businesses) or call us on 0345 8 506 506 and ask to speak with someone from Environmental Health
Who can I talk to?

We would encourage you to read the information above, and keep checking back here and the government website for more up to date information as this situation is constantly changing. If you still need to speak to a member of our team, please contact us on 01924 306 630 / 01924 305 835. Alternatively, contact one of our team directly;

Adrian Bird: 07917 000891 or adrianbird@wakefield.gov.uk

Gareth Morley: 07770 700059 or garethmorley@wakefield.gov.uk

Jenny Hill: 07919 298980 or jennyhill@wakefield.gov.uk

Claire Newton: 07384 876349 or Cnewton@wakefield.gov.uk

Shabana Yousaf-McIntyre: 07717 714226 or syousaf-mcintyre@wakefield.gov.uk

Nick Jenkin: 07584534101 or njenkin@wakefield.gov.uk

Peter Mackenzie-Shaw: 07825832672 or pmshaw@wakefield.gov.uk

Step up support

Our Step-Up team are on hand to provide businesses and staff with help with recruitment, training and redundancy advice.

To contact the team please contact 01924 303334 or email stepup@wakefield.gov.uk

More information

Useful links:

Contact us

Business Support and Investment

Wakefield One
PO Box 700
Burton Street
Wakefield
WF1 2EB

01924 306630