Coronavirus Support for Businesses

CoronavirusSt Helens Chamber Business Support

St Helens Chamber is here to support local businesses. For advice and assistance please call us on 01744 742444 or 01744 742087.

Members of St Helens Chamber also have access to Chamber Protect - a dedicated support line to help with HR, Legal and Tax issues. You can contact the advice line on 01455 852037.

Government Assistance

The Chancellor has announced a range of measures to support businesses as part of the Government's emergency response to the Coronavirus outbreak, including:

Support for self-employed through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19). 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.

You can apply if you’re a self-employed/member of a partnership and you have lost profits due to COVID-19. You will need to have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, traded in the 2019-20 tax year and trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income come from self-employment.

If you have not submitted your Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, you must do this by 23 April 2020.

HMRC will contact you if you are eligible. Individuals do not need to contact HMRC, doing so will only delay the urgent work being undertaken to introduce the scheme

Click here for further details and to check if you are eligible.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

All employers – small or large, charitable or non-profit - will be eligible for the scheme.

Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of people who are not working, but are furloughed and kept on payroll, rather than being laid off. Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month. This can be backdated to March 1st and will be open initially for at least three months. The Government aims to have them available before the end of April.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The interest-free period for the Business Interruption Loan Scheme has been extended from six to twelve months. These loans will now be available starting on Monday. The scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank and its accredited lenders, will enable businesses to apply for a Government guaranteed loan of up to £5m with no Government fees.

Deferral of  VAT payments

The Chancellor has announced that he is deferring the next quarter of VAT payments, meaning no businesses  will pay any VAT from now until the end of June; and you will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.

Support for the self-employed

Self-employed people can now access Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees. In addition, the next self-assessment payments will be deferred until January 2021.

Additional measures previously announced include:

  • Statutory sick pay relief package for SME's
  • Business rates abolished for this year for businesses in hospitality, retail, leisure and nurseries
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief
  • The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
  • For businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, with a rateable value over £15,000 and below £51,000, there will be an additional cash grant of up to £25,000 per business
  • A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loan
  • NB There may be some variations to the above measures among devolved nations. For example, business rates relief in Northern Ireland is for three months only

Click here for a free downloadable PDF with information on business support available from the Government, and what steps to take next

Click here for full details on all the Government support available

Click here for advice and guidance for businesses and employers on:

  • What to do if someone develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) on site
  • Travel arrangements
  • Sick pay
  • Certifying absence from work
  • What to do if an employee needs time off work to look after someone
  • Limiting spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in business and workplaces
  • Cleaning and waste
  • Handling post or packages

Click here for the latest advice and guidance from the British Chambers of Commerce

You can also find official advice and guidance at:


Business Survey

So that we can better understand the extent of the COVID-19 impact on businesses, and inform what help businesses need across the City Region, we are also asking as many of you as possible to complete a short survey. Please take a couple of minutes to do this if you can, to give us the intelligence we need to make the case for more support. Click here for the survey.

 *Page last updated 27 March 2020, 09.08*