Business advice & support

English UK Covid business support

 Last updated: 9 November 2021

Covid-19 | Business advice and support for UK ELT providers

We have compiled the latest guidance, information and advice on commercial, financial and HR aspects of running a UK ELT centre to help members navigate the Covid-19 pandemic.

English UK member centres also have access the free English UK business support helpline: an independent helpline offering expert advice on HR, health and safety, payroll, tax and more.

Government support measures and guidance:

HMRC guidance:

Other advice and support:

Government business support measures

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Kickstart scheme


Recovery loan scheme


Business rates relief 

Securing the inclusion of UK ELT centres in business rates relief continues to be one of our lobbying priorities. 

Some local authorities are offering the rates relief package to English UK member centres, see the guidance from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Governmentlocal: Business rates expanded retail discount 2020/21: Coronavirus Response.

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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough scheme)

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ended on 30 September 2021. You can check a previous claim to the scheme on GOV.UK.

Additional Restrictions Grant - ARG (England only)

The government released details for local authorities on the £1.1 billion discretionary fund for businesses that have not been mandated to close but will face additional restrictions as a result of the November 2020 lockdown in England. In the Budget 2021 the Chancellor announced an additional £425 million for further iterations of the ARG beyond March 2021. We recommend members look out for new funding streams on their local authority's website.

In March 2021 Minister for Tourism Nigel Huddleston tweeted his previous statement in parliament that businesses excluded from other grants, including English language schools, should apply for an ARG and receive careful consideration from local authority.

We recommend members contact their local authorities to find out about the application process for the grant. If you can locate details of the cabinet member of finance, we suggest you write to them, copying in your ward councillor(s) so that the finance team can be held to account. Failing that, write to your ward councillor directly and ask them to share the most relevant contact with you. You can find details of your ward councillor at WriteToThem.

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Ban on commercial evictions and relief for empty properties 

The existing measures that are in place to protect commercial tenants from eviction have been extended to 25 March 2022. Businesses that have had to remain closed during the pandemic and are unable to pay rent on their commercial property will continue to be protected from eviction. 

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HMRC Time to Pay Arrangements

You might be able to set up a Time to Pay Arrangement with HMRC if you are unable to pay your taxes in full. A Time to Pay Arrangement lets you spread the cost of your tax bill by paying what you owe in instalments.

HMRC Coronavirus (Covid-19) helpline for businesses and self-employed
Telephone: 0800 024 1222 (Monday to Friday: 08:00 to 16:00)

HMRC Payment support service
Telephone: 0300 200 3835 (Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 18:00)

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HMRC guidance on taxable expenses if your employee/s works from home

Find out what equipment, services or supplies are taxable if your employees are working from home due to Covid-19.

Other related resources:

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Lateral flow tests for employees

You can no longer order free rapid lateral flow tests for your employees. Instead you can buy your own tests and set up your own workplace testing, or pay an approved provider to provide tests or run a test site for you. If you cannot provide testing, you can ask your employees to get a rapid lateral flow test at home.

NHS test and trace service

The NHS Test and Trace app is available to download in England and Wales and is the fastest way to see if you're at risk from coronavirus. The app has a number of tools including contact tracing, local area alerts and venue check-in. 

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VAT implications of delivering lessons online

If you are teaching a live lesson it is considered an educational experience and no VAT is charged back in the UK. If you are teaching your students using pre-recorded lessons or a lessons that is in some way automated with no or minimal live human intervention then it is classed as a digital service, in which case VAT may be charged.

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Cancellations and postponements

We have sought advice from a travel lawyer and share below their briefing for members. The briefing covers refunds, cancellations, extended stays, suppliers and more.

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Commercial and travel insurance

Business Interruption Insurance

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ran a test case on business interruption (BI) insurance. The aim of the test case was to use a representative sample of policies and wordings in order to provide guidance for the wider insurance industry on settling its disputes with BI policy holders. The FCA have reviewed 500 BI policies from 40 insurers and selected 17 policy wordings that capture the key issues in dispute.

The High Court provided its judgment on this case on Tuesday 15 September, finding in favour of the majority of the arguments advanced for policyholders. The judgement should remove many of the roadblocks to a successful claim to those with 'disease clause' cover.
Policyholders can expect to hear from their insurers on the implications for their claims within the next seven days. Note that the defendant insurers may wish to appeal the judgment - the FCA will provide updates on this in due course.

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