How to apply for the latest coronavirus lockdown business grants

As lockdown continues into 2021 the government is continuing to provide support for Britain’s businesses. We look at what coronavirus business grants are currently available and how to apply for them.

Sarah Bridge Published on 27 March 2020. Last updated on 12 February 2021.
How to apply for the latest coronavirus lockdown business grants

As the national lockdown forces many businesses to close or to operate under severe restrictions, the government is continuing to offer grants to support them through the coronavirus pandemic. But as some schemes draw to a close and others take their place, it can be confusing to keep track of what help is currently available. We look at all the available schemes in 2021, how your business can benefit and how you can apply for each grant.

What grants are currently available for my business?

If your business has had to close due to the national lockdown, then you might be eligible for support from the Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG (Closed) Addendum). This replaces other schemes such as LRSG (Closed), LRSG (Open) and LRSG (Sector) and the previous main business grants, Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, both of which are now closed.

Is my business eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant?

Your business might be eligible if:

  • it is based in England.
  • it pays business rates.
  • you had to close due to the national lockdown from 5 January onwards, or had to close between 5 November and 2 December 2020
  • you could not provide your usual customer service from your premises in person.

The government says that this could include non-essential retail, leisure, personal care (such as beauty salons and hairdressers), sports facilities, tourism and hospitality businesses. It could also cover businesses which usually offer in-person services - such as pubs, bars, restaurants - which are now only able to offer takeaway meals.

Your business will not be able to receive funding under this grant if:

  • you can keep on operating your business as normal, such as accountants (which do not usually have customers at their offices).
  • you have decided to close but aren’t obliged to by the national lockdown rules.
  • your business is in administration, insolvent or has been struck off.

Businesses who are eligible can claim one grant per business premises - for example, a chain of restaurants can claim per outlet.

How much is the LRGS grant worth?

This grant is based on the rateable value of the property and from 5 January is payable per each 42-day qualifying period.

  • Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less could be eligible for £2,001 for each 42-day period of restrictions.
  • Businesses with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000 could be eligible for £3,000 for each 42-day period.
  • Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or more could be eligible for £4,500 for each 42-day period.

If you were closed between 5 November and 2 December 2020 the following sums apply:

  • Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less could be eligible for £1,334 for the 28-day period of restrictions.
  • Businesses with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000 could be eligible for £2,000 for the 28-day period of restrictions.
  • Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or more could be eligible for £3,000 for the 28-day period of restrictions.

How can I apply?

The grants are distributed by local councils. Visit your local council’s web page to find out how to apply.

What other grants are available for businesses?

As well as the above grants, you may also be eligible for the one-off Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment (CBLP). This is for businesses which have had to close due to the national lockdown and is a cash grant from your local council. This is in addition to the Local Restrictions Support Grant (see above) and has many of the same eligibility requirements.

Is my business eligible for the Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment?

Your business might be eligible if:

  • it’s based in England.
  • it pays business rates.
  • it has had to close due to the national lockdown from 5 January 2021 onwards.
  • you could not provide your usual customer service from your premises in person.

The government says that this could include non-essential retail, leisure, personal care (such as beauty salons and hairdressers), sports facilities, tourism and hospitality businesses. It could also cover businesses which usually offer in-person services - such as pubs, bars, restaurants - which are now only able to offer takeaway meals.

Your business will not be able to receive funding under this grant if:

  • you can keep on operating your business as normal, eg accountants (which do not have customers at their offices)
  • you have decided to close but aren’t obliged to by the national lockdown rules
  • your business is in administration, insolvent or has been struck off

Businesses who are eligible can claim one grant per business premises - for example, a chain of restaurants can claim per outlet.

How much is the Closed Businesses Lockdown Payment worth?

  • Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less could get a one-off cash grant of £4,000.
  • Businesses with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000 could get a one-off cash grant of £6,000.
  • Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or more could get a one-off cash grant of £9,000.

How can I apply?

The grants are distributed by local councils. Visit your local council’s web page to find out how to apply.

My business does not pay business rates. Am I eligible for any government help?

The Additional Restrictions Support Grant (ARG) gives funding to closed businesses which do not directly pay business rates (for example, if they do not operate from business premises) as well as businesses which don’t have to close but which have been impacted by the pandemic. Grants could be larger than those made through Local Restrictions Support Grant.

While grants are awarded at the discretion of your local council, you might get help if:

  • you supply the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
  • your business is in tourism or the events sector.
  • you are required to close but do not pay business rates.

How can I apply?

The Additional Restrictions Support grants are distributed by local councils. Visit your local council’s web page to find out how to apply.

Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG (Sector))

Businesses which have been closed throughout the pandemic and not been able to re-open can apply for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG (Sector)). This includes nightclubs, discos, dance venues and adult entertainment venues. The scheme has now been superseded by the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSF (Closed) Addendum as the UK is in national lockdown but applies to businesses which were closed even as other restrictions were lifted.

Is my business eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG (Sector))?

Your business might be eligible if:

  • it’s based in England.
  • it pays business rates.
  • it has been closed since 23 March 2020 because of national restrictions

However, you will not be eligible for this grant if you have re-opened as another type of business, such as changing a nightclub to a bar. The amount of financial support available depends on the rateable values of the business:

  • Businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less could be eligible for £667 for each 14-day period the business was closed.
  • Businesses with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000 could be eligible for £1,000 for each 14-day period the business was closed.
  • Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or more could be eligible for £1,500 for each 14-day period the business was closed.

How can I apply?

The grants are distributed by local councils. Visit your local council’s web page to find out how to apply.

Christmas Support Payment Grant

Pubs which mainly served alcohol rather than food (known as ‘wet-led’ pubs) were given a one-off grant of £1,000 by the Government for the Christmas period. Applications should be made to your local council as with the above schemes but you have to move fast: the cut-off point for applications for this grant is 28 February 2021.

Am I eligible for the Christmas Support Payment Grant?

Your pub might be eligible if:

  • it’s based in England.
  • less than half of your sales come from food.
  • you were in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 area from 2 December 2020.

How can I apply?

The grants are distributed by local councils. Visit your local council’s web page to find out how to apply.

What other financial support is available for my business?

Furlough scheme

The government’s long-running Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (CJRS), also known as the furlough scheme, has been extended until 30 April 2021. The idea of the scheme is to enable employers to keep workers on the payroll rather than making them redundant if the business has been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the scheme, the government will pay for 80% of each furloughed employee’s wages up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. The scheme is open to all businesses which pay employees through the pay as you earn (PAYE) scheme.

How do I claim on the furlough scheme?

Employers can use the government’s online portal Government Gateway to claim under the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme. Employers should change the status of employees to ‘furloughed workers’ to show that they are not currently working for the company but that they remain on the company’s payroll.

Business rates relief for businesses in the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors

Businesses in the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors in England do not have to pay business rates for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

Is my business eligible for business rates relief?

Your business should qualify for business rates relief if it is one of the following:

  • a shop.
  • a restaurant, cafe, bar or pub.
  • a cinema or live music venue.
  • a leisure facility such as a sports club, gym or spa.
  • a hospitality property such as a hotel, guest house or self-catering accommodation.

How do I apply for business rates relief?

You do not need to do anything as your local council will apply the discount automatically. You can work out the amount of relief using the government’s business rates calculator.

Can I apply for Coronavirus Business Loans as well as the government grants?

Yes, you can apply for both grants and loans to support your business through the coronavirus pandemic. While grants do not have to be paid back, loans do although there is usually a gap between taking out the loan and the first repayments. Ongoing loan schemes include Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS); Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CLBILS); and the Coronavirus Bounce-Back Loan scheme.

Where can I go for more information?

Visit the government’s website here to find the latest information about what financial support is available for British businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

About the author:

Sarah Bridge has been writing about business and finance since 2000. She was formerly Deputy Editor, Personal Finance, The Mail on Sunday and was previously the paper's Leisure Correspondent. Read more

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