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COVID-19 business support 


Monday July 6, 2020

The Government has unveiled a £1.57bn package to support theatres, galleries, museums, independent cinemas, music venues and heritage sites.

Guidance for a phased return of the performing arts, starting with performances behind closed doors and rehearsals, is also expected to be published by the Government shortly.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Somerset County Council and partners have published a detailed Coronavirus local outbreak management plan. The plan is available online and more information can be found in our news section here.

Innovate UK has revealed details of a multi-million pound Coronavirus Business Support Package, which includes continuity grants, loans for existing award holders and additional business advisory support services. More information is available online here.

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act has received Royal assent and has come into force. The Act introduces temporary easements for AGMs and filing requirements for PLCs, new corporate restructuring tools to the insolvency regime to give companies the time they need to maximise their chance of survival and temporarily suspends parts of insolvency law to support directors. Detailed Government guidance is available on the changes.

The Government has announced the UK HGV Road User Levy will be suspended for 12 months from August 1. Full details can be found here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Updated workplace guidance issued to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the Coronavirus pandemic. Specific updates include:

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The Government has announced a host of businesses will be able to open from July 4 in England, when social distancing rules will be eased from two metres to one metre. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson says people should remain two metres apart where possible.

The following businesses will be allowed to reopen:

  • Pubs and restaurants with table service only, both indoors and outdoors
  • Hotels, bed and breakfasts, campsites and caravan parks
  • Hair salons and barbers but with visors worn
  • Playgrounds, museums, galleries, theme parks, outdoor gyms and arcades, libraries, social clubs and community centres

However, nightclubs, spas, tanning salons, indoor soft play areas, bowling alleys, casinos, water parks, indoor gyms and dance studios, nail bars, swimming pools, indoor sports venues and water parks will not be able to reopen at this stage.

Monday, June 22, 2020

The Government has launched a new online tool to help companies find the relevant guidance needed to enable them to re-open safely. The tool can be found here.

Updated FAQs have been released to provide further clarification for employers about Test and Trace. More details available here.

Guidance has been issued to help employers calculate workplace pension and National Insurance contributions in-line with phased changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will allow workers to return on a part-time basis. Full details here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Today, June 10, is the last date on which an employee can be furloughed for the first time for a claim to be made under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).  On June 30, CJRS will close to new employees. From July 1 employers will only be able to furlough employees that have been furloughed for a full three week period at any time prior to June 30.  Any employee who has previously been furloughed should qualify for flexible furloughing from July 1

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Government gave more details about exemptions to its 14 days self-isolation plans for travellers to the UK.

Certain travellers would need to complete the Public Health passenger locator form.

Full details about exemptions can be found online here.

Friday, May 29, 2020

The Chancellor announced firms would be able to bring workers back from furlough part-time from July 1 and pay them for the hours worked. Employers would have to pay National Insurance and pension costs for furloughed staff from August, then from September they would have to pay 10% of furloughed staff wages and 20% from October. The scheme would cease at the end of October. The Chancellor also confirmed that if employers would not contribute to furlough, the Government would not pay either.

A similar scheme for the self-employed – The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – was extended until August, capped at a maximum payment of £6,570.

Wednesday, May 17, 2o20

Many local authority discretionary grant schemes opened yesterday, others will open on June 1, depending on which local authority area your business is in. For full details click on the links below:

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Thousands of shops will be able to re-open next month, providing they are ‘COVID-19 secure’. Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from June 1, while non-essential retail will re-open from June 15. Full details are available here.

The Government has released details of what businesses need to do to be COVID-19 secure – read the official workplace safety guidelines for the retail sector here.

The Coronavirus Sick Pay Scheme opens for applications today. Apply online here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Treasury has extended the size of loans available to larger businesses which have been affected by Coronavirus. Companies will now be able to receive up to £200 million from the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), which previously had a maximum payout of £50 million. Loans under the expanded scheme will be made available to firms from Tuesday, May 26.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The Government has announced it will temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance. More details can be found here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Government has confirmed the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) until October for workers across all sectors. The Chancellor said the scheme would be made more flexible, cover all regions and sectors and allow employees to work part-time. More details here.

Monday, May 11, 2020

The Government has published its ‘COVID-19 Recovery Strategy, which sets out three conditional steps to getting businesses back up and running. The Government has encouraged people to continue working from home if they can, but to go into their workplace if they cannot work from home and can safely socially-distance in the workplace.

In step two, non-essential retail businesses could re-open from June 1 – further details about which businesses this would cover have yet to be announced.

Step three would include hospitality venues including pubs, restaurants and accommodation, leisure facilities such as cinemas and personal care providers such as hairdressers. This would be no earlier than July 4.

A three page executive summary has been produced by the British Chambers of Commerce and can be found on our specialist COVID-19 advice page by clicking here.

Or you can read the Government’s full recovery strategy online here.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Bounce Back Loans are now open. Small and medium-sized businesses can apply for up to £50,000 with an accredited lender and the money should arrive within days. 100% Government guaranteed. No interest, fees or repayments for the first 12 months.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will open for applications from 8am on May 13. People can check their eligibility online here


Somerset Chamber of Commerce is supporting local business throughout the Coronavirus crisis.   

On this page you will find links to key Government Coronavirus grants and loans, as well as the latest advice for businesses and employers.

We are working closely with the British Chambers of Commerce and other leading business organisations to ensure our members’ views and concerns are heard at the very highest levels.

We are also working with our members to run remote, online workshops to provide professional and expert advice for businesses on topics such as HR, furlough and financial support. Please see our Chamber events page for more information and our webinar section for the latest expert advice.

Our Chief Executive, Stephen Henagulph, is also holding a weekly webinar at 10am every Wednesday to discuss the latest developments and support packages available to businesses across Somerset. To join the call, please email Alistair Tudor at for dial-in details.

Your guide to Government-led business and employee support, advice and grants

The Government has set out a package of temporary and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses. Full details can be found on the dedicated Government COVID-19 Business Support website by clicking here.

The package of measures to support businesses includes:

If you are not sure what financial support your business may qualify for, use the Government’s online business support finder by clicking here.

  • Additional Government Coronavirus help pages can be found here. The site includes guidance for both employers and businesses, including symptoms, travel advice, sick pay, how to certify absence from work, employees having to take time off to care for relatives, limiting the spread in the workplace and handling post.
  • The Government has set up a dedicated Business Support Helpline – 0300 456 3565 – to enable businesses to find the right help and support across a wide range of topics, from business rates relief, grants and employee advice.
  • HMRC COVID-19 Helpline 0800 0159 559 is available to support businesses and self-employed people who are worried about paying their tax bills due to Coronavirus.
  • The Government list of ‘key workers’ – those who can keep their children at school or college – can be found online here.
  • Apprenticeships guidance for apprentices, employers and assessment organisations is available here.
  • Government workplace safety guidance for the retail sector can be found online here.

British Chambers of Commerce Coronavirus Hub

The BCC has a dedicated site with the latest COVID-19 advice for business. It can be found here.

Additional information

Our members specialise in a wide range of  industries and disciplines and many are offering free support and advice on a range of Coronavirus-related topics. More information can be found on our members’ Coronavirus news page by clicking here.

Chamber Contact

For more info please contact:

Alistair Tudor

Operations Manager

Tel: 01823 444924

Email Alistair >


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