Updated: 05/06/2020, 11:00

This page is designed to point you in the right direction for the latest support for your business.

We work closely with Knowsley Council’s Business Team, the Business Rates Team and other Council departments.  As soon as information comes available from GOV or Knowsley Council this web-page will be updated. In the meantime, if you need any general business advice or cannot find what you are looking for in the links detail/below please contact Invest Knowsley on 0151 477 4000 or email

This website is updated regularly to bring you the latest guidance and updates from the Government.  Below are paragraphs and links to various alerts, however, by using this link here  you will be taken to the .GOV website and can conduct your own search.

Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

The Government’s roadmap for how and when the UK will adjust its response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19)

UPDATED 29/05/20 – A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses. These links will help businesses find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply.


NEW 05/06/20 – Discretionary Business Support Grant open for applications from Monday 8 June

The government has allocated £739,000 to Knowsley Council to fund a Discretionary Business Grants Scheme. This scheme is for businesses that are not eligible for the previous support grants. Click here for more details



Information from the Government on Guidance on how to stay alert and safe


The principles you should follow to ensure that time spent outside your home is as safe as possible.


Construction and other outdoor work– Guidance for people who work in or run outdoor working environments

Factories, plants and warehouses – Guidance for people who work in or run factories, plants and warehouses

Labs and research facilities – Guidance for people who work in or run indoor labs and research facilities and similar environments

Offices and contact centres – Guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments

Other people’s homes – Guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to other people’s homes

Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery – Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services

Shops and branches– Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments

Vehicles – Guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19):  Getting tested

Guidance on coronavirus testing for essential workers who are self-isolating.  Click here to read more


The Prime Minister has set out a timeline for retail to reopen from 1st June and further guidance has been published for how to operate safely to protect staff and customers. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE


High street shops and other companies under strain will be protected from aggressive rent collection and asked to pay what they can during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • the Government is to introduce temporary new measures to safeguard the UK high street against aggressive debt recovery actions during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Statutory demands and winding up petitions issued to commercial tenants to be temporarily voided and changes to be made to the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery, building on measures already introduced in the Coronavirus Act
  • Landlords and investors are asked to work collaboratively with high street businesses unable to pay their bills during COVID-19 pandemic

Click here to read more: New measures to protect UK high street from aggressive rent collection and closure

The Chancellor has set out a package of measures to support businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. The package includes:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Self-Assessment payments
  • a Self-employment Income Support Scheme
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • 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 loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme


The Government has launched (21/04) a new ‘support finder’ tool that will help businesses and self-employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic. This new online platform involves a simple questionnaire which will takes business owners under a minute to complete and will signpost them to relevant government financial support…




COVID-19: Specific guidance for business

COVID-19: Government Financial Support

COVID-19: Specific guidance for employees


Latest FAQ from the GOV business support website can be found here:


NEW – Apply for a coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

This scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses affected by coronavirus. This scheme is available NOW (from 4 May).

• You can apply for a loan up to 25% of your business turnover, with a maximum limit of £50,000
• You’ll receive your funds within days of your application being approved
• The loan is for six years, with no early repayment fees
• The Government is providing a 100% guarantee for these loans* and will pay the interest for the first 12 months
• You apply to your bank
*You are liable for 100% of the loan and your bank will always seek to recover the outstanding balance from you.

The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.

Eligibility – You can apply for a loan if your business:
• is based in the UK
• has been negatively affected by coronavirus


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

Details on the grant through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

NEW – Self-Employment Income Support Scheme opens for applications Wednesday 13 May

The scheme will allow those who are self-employed to claim a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether. This is a temporary scheme, but it may be extended. Check if you are eligible to claim.

CLICK HERE – To make a claim you will need:

·       Self Assessment UTR 

·       National Insurance number

·       Government Gateway user ID and password

·       Bank account number and sort code you want us to pay the grant into (only provide bank account details where a Bacs payment can be accepted)

When claiming you will have to confirm to HMRC that your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.

A self-employed person could be entitled to a combination of Universal Credit + new style Employment and Support Allowance + Local Housing Allowance + Child Benefits so should enquire here  to see what support is available.   If that person then takes on a job this will need to be declared at the time of making applications for these allowances – all earnings (self-employed/employed) will also need to be declared as part of his submission to HMRC.

In addition to these measures to reduce other fixed outgoing, self-employed people can also benefit from:

  • Rent deferral
  • Mortgage deferral
  • Tax Bill deferral
  • Business VAT deferral
  • IR35 deferral


Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (80% wages) REMAINING OPEN UNTIL END OF OCTOBER

NEW – 01/06/20 – Changes to the Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme (No change until July)

– From August, the Government will continue to pay 80% (no change) of salaries, but employers will have to pay NI and pensions contributions.

– From September, the Government ‘s share will decrease to 70%, while employers will be expected to pay 10% (plus NI and pension).

– From October, the Government’s contribution will decrease further to 60% and employers will contribute 20% (plus NI and pension).

– From 1st July, employers will be able to bring back furloughed employees on a part-time basis. In this case, employers will pay for the days of work, while the Government will pay for the at-home days.

– Employers will have until 10th June to add any employees to the furlough scheme; after this date, no more furloughed employees will be accepted.

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 this crisis.  Eligibility – All UK businesses are eligible.

20/04/20 – Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Claim for 80% of your employee’s wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions, if you have put them on furlough because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – FAQ v11 BCC

You will need to:

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ (WHAT IS A FURLOUGHED WORKER AND HOW DO I DO THIS) 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 required)
  • HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
  • HMRC have updated the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance (27/03) with specific reference to National Insurance and pension contributions for furloughed workers. Please click here.


27/04/20 – Furloughed workers to receive full parental leave entitlement – Furloughed workers planning to take paid parental or adoption leave will be entitled to pay based on their usual earnings rather than a furloughed pay rate. READ FULL DETAILS HERE


Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates – Small Business Grant Scheme

The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

You are eligible if: 

  • your business is based in England; 
  • you are a small business and already receive SBBR and/or RRR; 
  • you are a business that occupies property

This financial assistance is being made available to small businesses and retailers in Knowsley. If you are eligible you CAN NOW apply for it from this page…  

To apply you will need your non-domestic rates reference (NDR) which is shown on your last rates bill, and a copy of a business bank account.

For questions on this scheme contact the Knowsley Council Rates Team via email:

Applications can ONLY be made online – please do not call to make an application as the council will be unable to process it. To understand eligibility see GOV link below… 

FULL guidance on business support grant funding – This guidance sets out details of eligibility and delivery of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).

NEW 04/05 – Top-up to local business grant funds scheme 

A discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme. This is an additional 5% uplift to the funding previously announced for the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Fund (RHLGF). GOV will confirm the exact amount for each local authority during the first week of May.

This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. GOV are asking local authorities to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief. Businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.

There will be three levels of grant payments. Local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. It will be for councils to adapt this approach to local circumstances. THIS TOP UP SCHEME IS NOT AVAILABLE AT THE MOMENT. Further guidance for local authorities will be set out shortly.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

This scheme will allow small and medium sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying Statutory Sick Pay to their employees.

HMRC has published new online guidance which includes information about who can use the scheme and the records employers must keep.

HMRC is working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.  Details about when the new Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme can be accessed and when employers can make a claim will be announced as soon as possible.

Companies to receive 3-month extension period to file accounts during COVID-19

Businesses will be given an additional 3 months to file accounts with Companies House to help companies avoid penalties as they deal with the impact of COVID-19. Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system. “Start your fast-track” application for extension link here

Extension for filing accounts

You can apply for more time to file your annual accounts with Companies House.
If you think the impact of COVID-19 will cause delays in filing your company accounts, you can apply for an automatic and immediate 3 month extension. You must apply before your filing deadline.


Late filing penalties – Late filing penalties are applied automatically if you do not apply for an extension and you file your accounts late.

Commercial insurance clarification

Most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics.

Businesses which have an insurance policy that covers “government ordered closure” or similar should be able to make a claim (subject to the T&Cs of your policy). We would encourage you to check the T&Cs of your policy and contact your Insurance provider as each provider and each policy will differ.

Detail on KEY WORKERS published by the Department for Education 20/03/2020:


Online isolation notes launched – providing proof of Coronavirus absence from work  

People unable to work for more than seven days because of Coronavirus (COVID-19) can obtain an isolation note through a new online service. CLICK HERE

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

  • The Business Interruption Loan Scheme is now open:
  • A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will launch next week (w/c 23 March) to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.
  • This will help ensure that eligible businesses facing short-term cash flow difficulties can continue to access finance as they respond to the temporary impact of the coronavirus outbreak on cash flow.
  • By providing an 80% government guarantee on eligible lending, this scheme will give lenders the confidence to keep lending to businesses. The government will provide as much capacity as required for this scheme. There will be no fee for lenders or borrowers to benefit from this guarantee.
  • The Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. Businesses can access the first 6 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 6 months of interest payments.
  • The scheme is open to businesses with a turnover of less than £41m (as long as the business is long-term viable and is UK based) which meet the scheme’s eligibility criteria. Full details on the eligibility criteria will be announced shortly.
  • The first loans will be available next week and further details of the new scheme will be announced shortly. Businesses worried about accessing finance now should speak to their usual lender.


Business Rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure

  • All businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will pay no business rates in England for 12 months from 1 April 2020.
  • There will be no rateable value threshold on this relief – businesses large and small will benefit.
  • Guidance for local authorities on the application of the holiday has been cascaded. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs should contact the Knowsley Council Rates Team on 0151 443 4069/4126 or email:


New Fund for Artists and the cultural sector

Arts Council England has announced a £160m fund to help artists, venues and freelancers in the cultural sector in light of coronavirus. The support package includes £20m for individuals (made up of grants of up to £2,500 each), £90m for National Portfolio Organisations, and £50m for organisations outside that scheme. The money has been found by diverting funds from National Lottery project grants and development funds, and from emergency reserves. The first payments are expected to be made within six weeks. More details click here.


HMRC have launched a tax helpline to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Find all the information here.

The number is 0800 0159 559.


Public Health England has also produced some useful guidance for businesses and employees which includes advice around symptoms and how to prevent the virus spreading.

You can view the guidance here.


Knowsley Works advisors will continue to provide employability and job search advice and information by telephone and email. This service will operate Mondays to Friday, 9.00am – 5.00pm. Call the centre nearest to where you live on:

Huyton         0151 443 5010

Halewood    0151 443 2040

Kirkby          0151 443 4933

Knowsley & Halton Building Control Services

Knowsley & Halton Building Control Services is in a good position to carry on providing the statutory function during this challenging time. Implementing a range of measures to ensure customers experience an undisrupted service.

Applications – for building control services should be submitted online at

Plan checking – service will continue as normal

Site inspections – amended approach, email the team

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch at or contact 0151-443-5830


You may feel it appropriate and helpful to display some of the Public Health posters in and around your office/business…

However, to access the posters and other materials you will need to register on the site, this is a very simple procedure and the link is at the top of the page or click here to register.