Support available for social enterprises update 24th March 2020





As well as sending out information as it becomes available, CERT are recording regular webinars to share news and views and will be delivering a series of web-based workshops that will allow you to turn downtime into putting things in place to let you hit the ground running once we all get through this.

The CERT Consultancy website will shortly be listing a programme of workshops and we will let you know as and when these are planned.

Like many of you, our funding and income are uncertain at the moment so we understand just how it feels. CERT has made a decision to carry on working for the sector using what is left of our existing resources, backed up by volunteer effort and pro-bono assistance from our staff, so please feel free to contact us if you need help.


The Government is releasing new measures to support businesses in response to COVID-19. Here’s what is most relevant for third sector organisations. We will be updating this as new packages of support are announced by Government.


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme


The Chancellor has announced an extensive group of measures designed to help businesses across the economy. The Government has put up a website about its Coronavirus measures here.


Amongst the most important for social enterprises is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Employers (all UK employers with a PAYE scheme) will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of their workforce who remain on payroll but are temporarily not working during the coronavirus outbreak. This includes charities.


The Government announced that grants will cover 80% of the salary of any workers retained by businesses, up to a total of £2,500 a month per worker.

This will apply to social enterprises as they are open to any employer in the country who meets the PAYE requirement.


The measure announced will be open before the end of April for at least 3 months. Any grants will be backdated to 1st March. It will be extended beyond 3 months if judged to be necessary.

Any businesses looking to use it must designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify their employees of this change.

It’s not up and running yet and HMRC says they are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement.


Also, the government is deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. All UK businesses are eligible.


Further measures


This is on top of measures announced on the 18th March. The government’s advice on these measures is laid out here.


These included giving all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England 100% Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR). These types of businesses in England won’t need to pay business rates for the next 12 months.


You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

  • your business is based in England

  • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be “occupied hereditaments” that are wholly or mainly being used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues

  • for assembly and leisure

  • as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, businesses that are eligible for SBBR with a rateable value of under £15,000, will also get small business grant funding of £10,000.

Larger £25,000 grants will be available to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value of over £15,000 and below £51,000, operating from smaller premises.


Any business that already pays little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief will also get a £10,000 grant.

Those who are ineligible for these rate reliefs will not currently be eligible for this particular grants scheme.


There is also the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan. This scheme is now open. The loan scheme will now be interest-free for 12 months. It is designed to ease cash flow and, although open for small businesses, is offering larger loans to middle-sized enterprises. Any borrower from the scheme will still be 100% liable for the debt.


Moreover, the government is set to allow small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.


Humber LEP’s Coronavirus Support


The Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (Humber LEP) has issued its initial support measures for the region’s businesses facing tough trading conditions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.


Through LEPS Growth Hub, it will provide grants to enable businesses to facilitate working from home, while the Growth Hub’s business advisors will also be on hand to provide support through telephone consultations. It will also deliver Online workshops on issues related to business resilience, cashflow management, and home working methods.


Download and view the most up-to-date advice on Humber LEP Covid-19 business support here: PDF Business Support Interventions for Covid-19 – At A Glance