Government Covid support schemes: overview and updates

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An archive of government startup and small business updates from GOV.UK.

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Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Announced on 26 March 2020, SEISS is aimed at self-employed businesses owners who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Under the scheme you can still work in your business, seek new employment or volunteer. Click here for the official landing page.

25 June 2021
Claims for the fourth Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant have now closed. The online claims service for the fifth grant will be available from late 2021. Click here to find out if you’re eligible for the fifth grant, which will cover the period May 2021 to September 2021. 

21 April 2021
The fourth SEISS grant is now live and can be accessed here. The fourth SEISS grant is set at 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500. The government has also released this supporting webinar. Applicants must sign up before 1 June 2021.

29 January 2021
SEISS is now open for applications for the third grant. The third grant is stricter than the previous two and you must satisfy three new criteria, but if you employ freelancers or contractors or you own a company, you may be eligible to claim. To see how others are using SEISS, take a look at new statistics for November 2020.

14 January 2021
A new YouTube video explaining how to claim the SEISS scheme has also been added to the Covid-19 help and support page.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

An effective 80% state subsidy for wages in the private sector, also known as the ‘furlough’ scheme. Click here for the official landing page.

2 September
Find out what to do when furlough ends by following the link on 30 September 2021. In brief, employers must decide to either bring employees back to work, terminate their employment (redundancy rules apply), or agree to changes to the terms of their employment.

1 July 2021
The government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2187.50 for the hours an employee is on furlough. Claims for furlough days in June 2021 must be made by 14 July 2021. Click the links to find out how the scheme is changing and to find out what to do if you’ve missed the claim deadline.

4 February 2021
Those looking to claim employee’s wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can find new guidance on the inclusion of non-monetary benefits, such as pension contributions under salary sacrifice schemes. There are also new examples for calculating wages for different types of pension schemes here.

27 January 2021
New guidance for those claiming Employment Allowance as well as examples on how to calculate your employees’ wages. On GOV.UK see sections 3.14 and 3.15.

1 December 2020
Furlough guidance has also been updated now that the 30 November claims deadline has passed. You can find out how it impacts the employees you can put on furlough by clicking here. The furlough step-by-step guide has also been updated to reflect these changes.

The Kickstart Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit and who are at risk of long-term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply. Click here for the official landing page.

2 September 2021
Want to know how to add more jobs to your Kickstart Scheme grant? The government has released additional information and a link on the associated landing page. You can also find newly published remittance advice for employers in the section.  

3 February 2021
The government has made it easier for businesses to apply for the Kickstart Scheme. You no longer need a minimum of 30 job placements to apply directly for a grant, making it easier to apply. You can apply for the Kickstart Scheme here, find updated promotional materials here and an employer resource pack here

Bounce Back Loans

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) enables smaller businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak.

8 February 2021
Businesses that took out government-backed Bounce Back Loans to get through Covid-19 will now have greater flexibility (of six months) to repay their loans, the government announced here. Pay as You Grow will be available to over 1.4 million businesses, which collectively took out nearly £45 billion through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. 

Other grants

2 September 2021
SMEs interested in the latest estimates by local authorities for payments made under the following grant programmes, Additional Restrictions Grant, Local Restrictions Support Grant, Christmas Support Payment and Restart Grant, should visit this page. 

17 June 2021
Government guidance has been updated to clarify the sectors that are eligible for the Additional Restrictions Grant, which supports businesses not covered by other grant schemes or where additional funding is needed. 

12 April 2021
People who are self-employed and getting less work or no work because of coronavirus (COVID-19) can find the latest rates for the government’s various support schemes here.

Apprenticeship and work placements

Miscellaneous guidance around apprenticeships, work experience, placements and more. 

2 February 2021
Find out how to conduct apprentices during the coronavirus outbreak with updated guidance. It provides details on temporary flexibilities applied during the pandemic, along with guidance on how and when apprentices can safely train and undertake assessments at work. 

Covid Guidance

Miscellaneous guidance, information, tutorials and resources for startups and SMEs.

26 August 2021
Updated guidance on the right to work checks required by employers during the coronavirus pandemic — the end date has now been extended to 5 April 2022.

16 June 2021
Businesses that have had to remain closed during the pandemic and are unable to pay rent on their commercial property will continue to be protected from eviction

12 May 2021
The government has also released updated guidance on bringing apprentices in higher education back in for in-person teaching and learning on 17 May.

27 April 2021
A new YouTube video explains how employers can claim back some statutory sick pay (SSP) costs for employees forced to take time off work due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Also, for those who need advice on how to report support payments relating to self-isolation due to coronavirus (COVID-19) on your self-assessment tax return, click here.

14 January 2021
A new YouTube video has been posted exploring the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension, and there’s also updated guidance for business closures following the latest lockdown.

2 December 2020
To reflect the new local tier system implemented on 2 December 2020, there is updated guidance on how to request and record customer details to break the chain of transmission. Public Health England has also updated its Commercial Workplace Action Cards, a selection of documents designed to be printed or downloaded to keep on-hand in case your business is impacted by coronavirus. Cleared for use in England only, the Action Cards are aimed at the owners and managers of single or multi-floor offices. 

Data and Analysis

The latest data, statistics and news relating to startups and small businesses affected by the pandemic. 

18 January 2021
The government has released a data-rich news article providing a summary of economic support given to businesses, with a regional breakdown on CBILS and the Bounce Back Loans.

13 January 2021
Here you can find out how the regions are allocating the business support packages to those impacted by the January 2021 lockdown.


The information contained in this article is correct at the time of publishing. We recommend that you carry out your own independent research to understand how this topic affects you and your business.

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