Coronavirus advice for businesses


The Government has recently updated Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for employees, employers and businesses.

The Kent & Medway Growth Hub is operating a Coronavirus hotline that is open to all Ashford businesses to provide advice and support. Call 03333 602300 8:30am-6:30pm Monday-Friday to speak with an adviser.

Due to the exceptional circumstances, we are now enforcing the closure of non-essential businesses. Please check the licensing updates page for more information, and read the detailed government guidance.

The government has announced a number of measures to help businesses cope with the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak, including:

Current Business Support
Measure Description Mechanism Update (27.3.2020)
Job Retention Scheme HMRC will provide grants to business to cover the wages of people not working or furloughed – 80% of salary to a maximum of £2,500 per month. The help will be backdated to 1 March 2020, be available within weeks and can be accessed by small or large businesses as well as charities and not-for-profits Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal. HMRC will set out further details on the information required Awaiting more guidance and the launch of the online portal
Statutory Sick Pay SMEs can be refunded cost of sick pay for up to 14 days for an individual Applications will be with HMRC. No contact or process yet Process not published yet
Retail Business Rates Holiday 'Retail Discount' A 1-year business rates holiday for all businesses in the retail, leisure, hospitality sectors from 1 April 2020. To see who fits into these sectors please see government's detailed guidance. Ashford Borough Council Business Rates team will automatically apply this to their systems. No need for businesses to apply Ashford Borough Council Business Rates team updating system currently
Retail Grants Cash grant for businesses in the retail, leisure, hospitality sectors for up to £25,000. This will apply to businesses with a rateable value over £15,000 but less than £51,000 Complete online application form Applications now open
Small Business Grants Any businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rate Relief (RRR) can apply for a grant of £10,000 for ongoing business costs Complete online application form Applications now open
Extra time for tax Individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities will be able to access support to agree a bespoke 'time to pay' arrangement Apply to HMRC through their helpline on 0800 0159 559 No update at this stage
VAT Deferral Immediate cashflow support for businesses by deferring this quarter's VAT to the end of June. Businesses will have until the end of the financial year to pay tax bills This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020/2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal No update at this stage
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme Support for businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts. The scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value, available on repayment terms of up to six years. Eligibility criteria apply Full information on the British Business Bank website. Applications made via participating lenders No update at this stage
Bank Support Other private banks are making funds available to small businesses impacted by COVID-19 Contact your banking provider No update at this stage
Eviction freeze

Commercial tenants who miss a rent payment will be protected from eviction. This protection will last until the end of June, and may be extended further

This is an automatic protection for all businesses No update at this stage
Self-Employed Workers

Self-employed individuals will receive a direct cash grant of 80% of their profits, up to £2,500 per month. The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19, or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. To qualify, more than half your income in these periods must come from self-employment

Applications will be with HMRC through a simple online form. HMRC will identify eligible taxpayers and contact them directly with guidance on how to apply New support package
Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit

Universal Credit will be increased by £1k per year, and Working Tax Credit by the same amount. If eligible, self employed workers will be able to access the full Universal Credit equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees, and self-assessment taxes will be deferred to 2021

View more information on claiming Universal Credit No update at this stage

Other resources:

Complete the form below and we will send you updates as the situation develops.

Note: Questions marked by * are mandatory

What is your name?
What is your company's name?
What is the best number for us to call you back on?
What is your email address?

Page last updated: Friday 27 March 2020