Covid-19 Industry Updates

The coronavirus pandemic continues to have an impact on everyone in our industry. While the pandemic is ongoing, the BBSA will update this webpage with guidance from our partners and reliable third-party sources so everyone in the industry has all of the information they need in one place.

Updated: January 5, 2021

On January 4, the governments in England and Scotland announced new national lockdowns beginning on January 5. Wales and Northern Ireland are already in national lockdowns. 

Business Support

  • Business rates relief

A business rates holiday has been introduced to ease the pressure on employers. If your business is classified as being in the retail sector from a rates point of view, this holiday will be arranged by your local authority.

These links contain further information on how the relief on offer differs in England, ScotlandWales and Northern Ireland. You can check the rates for your business and see whether you are eligible here.

  • Grant funding

A one-off grant up £10,000 is available for small businesses with small business rate relief or rural rate relief. There is also grant funding of up to £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property which has a rateable value between £15,001 and £51,000, in England.

Please refer to the links contained in the ‘Business rates relief’ section for more information on how this differs in Scotland and Wales. There is a different scheme in Northern Ireland, the details of which can be seen here.

In England, businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of £15,000 and under can receive a grant of £10,000.

Following the announcement of a third lockdown in England beginning on January 5, 2021, further one-off grants for closed businesses have been announced: 

  • £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
  • £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

Support has also been made available in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Read more here.

For more information please visit your local authority website.

  • VAT deferral

The VAT payment deferral period ended on June 30, 2020. This means you’ll need to:

  • Set-up cancelled direct debits in enough time for HMRC to take payment
  • Submit VAT returns as normal, and on time
  • Pay the VAT in full on payments due after June 30

On September 24, it was announced that businesses which deferred VAT payments due from March 20 to June 30 will have the option to pay in smaller payments over a longer period.

Instead of paying the full amount by the end of March 2021, smaller payments can be made up to the end of March 2022, interest free.

It is necessary to opt-in to the scheme. Click here for more information.

  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

The CBILS allows businesses to access loans, and other kinds of finance, up to £5m. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months. The scheme is open until January 31, 2021.

Click here to read more.

  • Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)

The BBLS scheme allows businesses to borrow between £2k and up to 25% of their turnover, to a maximum of £50k. The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year. The scheme is open to applications until January 31, 2021.

Click here to read more.


Self-employed people are able to claim under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Your business must have had a new or continuing impact from coronavirus between November 1, 2020 and January 29, 2021, which you reasonably believe will have a significant reduction in your profits. Read more here.

Employment Support

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The furlough scheme is available to all employers and will run until the end of April 2021 with the governement contributing to 80% of an employee's wages. Employers can top this up to 100% but must pay NI and pension contributions.

To claim, employers must send information to HMRC about employees that have been furloughed, and their earnings, through a portal which you can access here.

The government contribution is capped at £2,500 per employee per month and employees must have been on the payroll at 23:59 on October 30, 2020. Employees on the payroll on September 23, 2020 who were made redundant after, can be re-employed and claimed for.

Companies will need to designate employees as furloughed and notify them of that in writing. Members of the BBSA are able to request a copy of a draft furlough letter produced by the association's lawyers, Chadwick Lawrence, by emailing

  • SSP payments

Employers can find out if they can use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees' coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) by clicking here.

Industry specific guidance

  • Deposits

The BBSA has received some guidance from Trading Standards regarding customer deposits in the current situation. This advice is only available to members and is available from eshots which have been previously sent out or by emailing

Please be aware that this is not assured advice so it is not legally binding. The guidance is based on existing legislation and is in a question and answer format.

  • Lead times assured advice

The BBSA has received assured advice from Trading Standards regarding the impact of Covid-19 on lead times.

Again, this advice is only available to members and is available from eshots which have been previously sent out or by emailing

Remember, even though the situation is changing all the time, try to keep your customers informed as best you can.

  • Guidance on manufacturing, construction, retail and working in other people's home across the UK and Eire.

The BBSA is regularly updating its Covid-19 regulations document which contains all of the latest guidelines for working in our industry. Members are advised to check our eshots, visit the member-only Facebook page or email to view this.

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