Government business support due to COVID-19 (coronavirus)

The package of temporary measures to support public services, people and businesses through the period of disruption caused by COVID-19 includes the following:

Support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

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

You'll need to:

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’, and notify your employees of this change. Changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law, and depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.
  • 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 that will be required).

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, and are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (see below).

Support through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. Businesses can access 12 months of that finance interest free, as the government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments.

It's expected that the new scheme to become available in week commencing 23 March 2020. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme webpage is the best source of the latest information. As well as loans, there are many other types of finance supported by the programme, depending on the provider. You can find out what type of finance they provide on the British Bank partner page.

Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees

For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. The eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force.

The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible

Support for businesses through deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

The government will also support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months.

If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the self-assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.


For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. All UK businesses are eligible and it's 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 to 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.

Income Tax

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021. If you're self-employed you're eligible and it's an automatic offer with no applications required.

No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of COVID-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities.

Support for businesses paying tax: Time to Pay service

A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs.

Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you're concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Support for businesses through supplier relief claims

If you're a supplier you can access additional support in order to maintain continuity and retention. Read the government’s Procurement Policy Note 02/20.

If you're a current Barnsley Council or Berneslai Homes supplier you can fill in our supplier relief form and email this to

We’re committed to working with your business and we aim to tell you our decision as soon as possible after we receive your form and supporting information. We'll contact you if we need additional information from your request.

Support through the discretionary business grant scheme - now closed

We have reached capacity and are no longer able to accept new applications. If you have already made an application and have not heard from us yet, you will receive a final decision by 17 July.

On the 13 May the Government published its guidance for Councils in respect of developing and implementing a discretionary business grants scheme. This new discretionary scheme is to support those businesses that did not receive any support under the original Small Business Grant Funds (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Funds (RHLGF).

We have been allocated £2,168,750 from central government to make these awards. As funds are limited we will not be able to help everyone that makes an application.

We are currently looking to support businesses that fall into the following categories.

  • Small businesses in shared offices and other flexible work spaces
  • Regular Market traders with fixed building costs
  • Bed and Breakfast businesses that pay Council Tax instead of Business Rates
  • Charities that are in receipt of Charitable Business Rates Relief that would otherwise be eligible for Small Business Rates or Rural Rates Relief
  • Private Nurseries
  • Outdoor Market Traders
  • Larger Charities and Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) that do not meet the criteria under Small Business Rates or Rural Rates Relief.
  • Businesses are wholly or mainly linked to the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors, but failed to meet the criteria of the original grant schemes

Unfortunately we are unable to accept applications from businesses that;

  • Received an award under the original Small Business Grant Funds and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Funds scheme
  • Occupy property, or part of a property with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payment above £51,000
  • Do not have any ongoing fixed property related costs
  • Are not a small or micro businesses as defined in Section 33 Part 2 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and the Companies Act 2006
  • Are a business that was specifically excluded from the Expanded Retail Discount 2020/21

Once the funding allocation has been spent no further awards can be made. Awards will be either £25,000, £10,000 or an amount less than £10,000 and as the awards are to help towards the ongoing fixed property costs this will be reflected in the amount of the award. Funding is limited and once our allocation has been spent any applications that are outstanding will be rejected.

If you have already completed an application, we will be in touch with you shortly.

Discretionary business grant scheme declaration

Any information you give to us will be held securely and in accordance with the rules on data protection. We will treat personal details as private and confidential and safeguard them. We will not disclose them to anyone unconnected with the Council unless you have consented to their release, or in certain circumstances where: we are legally obliged to, disclosure is necessary for the proper discharge of our statutory functions, disclosure is necessary to enable us to provide you with a requested service or deal with your enquiry, we are under a duty to protect public funds.

We may use the information you have provided for the prevention and detection of fraud. We may also share this information with other bodies responsible for public funds or for auditing them for these purposes

Checks will be undertaken to protect the Council against fraudulent activity. The Government will not accept deliberate manipulation and fraud and any business caught falsifying their records to gain additional grant money will face prosecution and any funding issued will be subject to clawback.

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

The government will introduce a 12-month business rates holiday for all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Businesses that meet the criteria will automatically receive a new 2020/2021 bill with a full reduction from 18 March 2020.

Find out more about businesses that are eligible.

If you don't receive an amended bill but think your business meets the criteria, please complete our Retail Discount application form, available on our Small Business Rates or Rural Rates Relief page.

Business rates holiday - nursery discount

A business rates holiday will be available on 2020/2021 to properties that are occupied by childcare providers on Ofsted's Early Years register.

Find out more about the nursery discount.

Businesses that qualify for this discount will receive an amended bill. If you don't receive a new bill but think you meet the criteria, please complete our contact us online form.

For more advice visit the Enterprising Barnsley website and use the online chat facility to speak to a business advisor.

Business grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses - now closed

Please note that as required by the Government, these schemes closed to new applications on Friday 28 August 2020. Further information relating to Government support for businesses can be found online at

A grant of £10,000 or £25,000 will be provided to businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

  • For businesses with a rateable value less than £15,000, a grant of £10,000 is available.
  • For businesses with a rateable value of £15,001 and below £51,000, a grant of £25,000 is available.

Find out more about businesses that are eligible.

You can read the full details of the government scheme here.

For more advice visit the Enterprising Barnsley website and use the online chat facility to speak to a business advisor.

Small business rates relief

To support small business that have little or no business rates to pay and are in receipt of small business rates relief (SBRR) and rural rates relief, a grant of £10,000 will be available.

You can read the full details of the government scheme here.

If you think you're eligible for an award, please fill in our refund form. This will be sent directly to us for review. You’ll need your bank details and business rates account number, which can be found on your most recent bill. Please also provide an email address and contact number as we may need to contact you to carry our further security checks.


Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim as long as all other terms and conditions are met.

Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.

Advice and support

For more advice visit the Enterprising Barnsley website and use the online chat facility to speak to a business advisor or email 

Paying your business rates

If you're struggling to pay your business rates due to the impact the coronavirus is having on your business please contact us on (01226) 787787 and select option 2. An adviser will take your details and arrange for a call back from a business rates manager who can discuss with you any possible support that may be available.