Business advice & support


 English UK Covid business support

 Last updated: Monday 18 January 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 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.

Government support measures and guidance:

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRCguidance:
Other advice and support:

Government business support measures

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New lockdown grants

In early January, following the start of the national lockdown, the Chancellor announced a new £4.6 billion lockdown grants scheme for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England. The main features of the scheme are:
  • one-off top-up grants of between £4,000 and £9,000 for eligible businesses, per property according to their rateable value
  • additional funding for devolved administrations to spend on their own schemes
  • an additional fund of £594 million that local authorities can use to support businesses not eligible for the other grants
  • these grants are in addition to those already in operation.

Devolved administrations will receive additional funding as a result of these announcements:

  • the Scottish Government will receive £375 million
  • the Welsh Government will receive £227 million
  • the Northern Ireland Executive will receive £127 million.

Read the GOV.UK news story on the £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants to support businesses and protect jobs.

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Business rates relief 

Securing the inclusion of UK ELT centres in business rates relief (BRR) reamining one of our lobbying priorities and we continue 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. 

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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough scheme)

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until 30 April 2021, employers with eligible employees can claim 80% of an employee's usual salary for any hours they do not work, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

  • To be eligible, employees must have been employed on or before 30 October 2020 and you must have made a RTI submission on or before 30 October 2020 for that employee.
  • Employers and employees do not have to have used the CJRS before.
  • Employees can be on any type of contract with the employer.
  • The government will cover 80% of pay up to £2,500 a month and employers need to cover pension and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for the hours the employee does not work.
  • Employers can top up the additional 20% should they wish to.
  • Flexi-furlough – employers can still bring employees back on a part-time basis and place them on furlough for the time they do not work. For the hours the employee works, the employer will pay wages, employer NICs and pension contributions.
  • The minimum claim period is seven days, this includes flexible furlough
  • Furlough and flexi-furlough arrangements and agreement to them, must be in place, in writing, for all employees for any period of furlough.
  • Employees must continue to receive their contractual holiday entitlement including bank holidays and must be paid a normal salary for any holidays. Employees should be encouraged to still take holidays during a period of furlough and receive full pay for these days.
  • Employers must submit furlough claims monthly and any claims for a month must be made by 14th of the following month.
  • Employers must keep accurate records of their employees' furlough agreement, hours worked, hours not worked and holiday pay during any period of furlough.
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Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

Last updated: Thursday 5 November 2020

What's new?:The application deadline for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has been extended to 31 January 2021. 

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 the new year.

The CBILS 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. 

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Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)

Last updated: Thursday 5 November 2020

What's new?: The application deadline for the coronavirus Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) has been extended to 31 January 2021.

The BBLS 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. The length of the loan is six years, but you can repay early without paying a fee. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. If you have already received a loan of up to £50,000 under one of the other business interruption loan schemes you can transfer it into the BBLS. 


Additional Restrictions Grant (England only)

Last updated: Friday 6 November 2020

The government has 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 lockdown in England.

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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Job Support Scheme

Last updated: Monday 11 January 2021

The Job Support Scheme, which was due to start on 1 November 2020, has been postponed as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021.

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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. 

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HMRC Time to Pay Arrangements

You might be able to set up a Time to Pay Arrangement with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRCif 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 coronavirus (Covid-19).

Other resources

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Lateral flow Covid-19 tests

In November the government announced it would be rolling out lateral flow tests across England to directors of public health.
Lateral flow tests are new rapid tests to detect Covid-19. They can help identify people who have high levels of virus who do not have symptoms and would not otherwise be coming forward for a test.
View the list of local authorities receiving lateral flow tests from teh Deartment of Health and Social Care.
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NHS test and trace service

Last updated: Thursday 5 November 2020

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

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.