Business advice & support

 English UK Covid business support

 Last updated: Thursday 24 September 2020

Business advice and support for UK ELT providers

We have compiled the latest information, support and advice on commercial, financial and HR aspects of running a UK ELT centre to help members navigate the coronavirus (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.

UK Government business support measures:

HMRC guidance:
Other business advice:

UK Government business support measures

Business rates relief 

Last updated: Thursday 24 September 2020

Securing the inclusion of UK ELT centres in business rates relief (BRR) is one of our current lobbying priorities and we are continuing to press the government to amend their advice to local authorities on the properties that are eligible for relief. 

Some local authorities are now offering the rates relief package to English UK members. See the list.

Job support scheme

Added on: Thursday 24 September 2020

The Chancellor has announced a new job support scheme as part of the Winter Economy Plan.

To be eligible for the Job Support Scheme, an employee must work at least 33% of their normal hours. For the other two thirds of the hours, the Government will pay a third and the employer will pay a third, so in total, an employee will receive 77% of the full pay with the government paying 22.5% of their wages.

The scheme will run from six months from 1 November 2020 and replaces the job retention scheme which ends on 31 October 2020.

The scheme will be available to all businesses and all employees, regardless of whether they have been part of the CJRS in the past.

The Self Employment Scheme will be extended on similar terms, covering 20% of average monthly trading profits via a government grant. 

Coronavirus job retention scheme (furlough)

Last updated: Thursday 24 September 2020

The Coronavirus job retention scheme is now closed to new applicants and only employees furloughed for a full three week period prior to 30 June can be furloughed in September and October.

Currently (September 2020) the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 14% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.

In October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 23% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.

At the end of October, the job retention scheme will end.

Part time or flexi-furlough option from 1 July 2020

  • Currently, employers can bring employees back to work who have previously been furloughed (i.e. on or prior to 10th June) for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) grant

  • Further details on flexi-furloughing, including how to make payment calculations, will be published on Friday 12 June (we recommend waiting until then before confirming staff work and furlough patterns from July)

  • As a result, from 1 July, there will be no minimum furlough period; that is, no minimum amount of time that an employee can be on temporary leave (however, any furlough arrangement agreed between employer and employee and reported in a claim to HMRC must still cover a period of at least one week)

  • Employers will be able to claim the furlough grant for the proportion of the employees' normal hours they are not working

  • Employers must pay their employees for the hours they are working, subject to their employment contract, and will be required to report data on hours worked by an employee and the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period under the scheme for furloughed employees.

Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme

Last updated: Thursday 24 September 2020

What's new?: The application deadline for all coronavirus loan schemes has been extended to 30 November 2020, as detailed in the Winter Economy Plan. Businesses can move to interest-only payments or suspend payments if they are "in real trouble" for up to six months. A new successor loan scheme will be launched in January 2021.

The Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme is delivered by the British Business Bank. The scheme aims to support primarily small and medium-sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.

It is open to SMEs with or without sufficient security for a commercial loan. For loans above £250,000 lenders can ask you for a personal guarantee but the recovery amount is capped at 20% and the guarantee cannot be a Principal Private Residence (PPR). No personal guarantees of any kind are required for loans of less than £250,000. If you require a loan of £50,000 or less it is recommended you apply for a coronavirus bounce back loan instead. CBILS loans of less than £50,000 can also be converted to a bounce back loan by your lender.

The UK Government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.

The Government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee, and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value. 

Bounce back loan scheme

Last updated: Thursday 24 September 2020

What's new?: Bounce back loans can be extended from 6 to 10 years under a 'Pay as You Grow' scheme, as detailed in the Winter Economy Plan.

The Bounce Back Loan scheme is available to small and medium-sized businesses. Loans in this scheme are 100% government-backed. Businesses can to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Loans are interest free for the first 12 months. If you have already received a a loan of up to £50,000 under one of the Business Interruption Loan Schemes you can transfer it into the Bounce Back Loan scheme

Ban on commercial evictions and relief for empty properties 

Last updated: Thursday 24 September 2020

The UK Government confirmed in Spetember 2020 that commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of Covid-19 will be protected from eviction until the end of 2020

We are aware that some members have been granted three months' relief for empty properties by their local councils while their centres remain closed.

The UK Government has confirmed that commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of Covid-19 will be protected from eviction. 

 HMRC time to pay

Last updated: Tuesday 31 March 2020

HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities. You can contact HMRC's dedicated Covid-19 helpline to get practical help and advice on 0800 024 1222.

The English UK Finance Panel have reported that several member centres have been successful in receiving immediate deferrals on PAYE/NI with no questions asked and no interest being applied. The advice is that you need to be prepared to spend up to 60 minutes on the phone in order to get through.

HMRC guidance on taxable expenses if your employee works from home

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

Other resources


NHS test and trace service

Last updated: Friday 5 June 2020

The UK Government launched the NHS Test and Trace service at the end of May. The new guidance means those who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for Covid-19 must isolate for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms. Further advice on testing and tracing can be found on the NHS website

Cancellations and postponements

Last updated: Friday 19 June 2020

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


Commercial and travel insurance

Last updated: Thursday 24 September 2020

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.