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COVID-19 Support

On this page we will aim to keep you up-to-date with the financial help that is available to your business, whether you are a small business, in the retail hospitality or leisure sector or if you have employees and need advice on furloughing.

East Suffolk Council grants

East Suffolk Council is now processing the discretionary business grants for local businesses provided by the Government in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

On 2nd May 2020, the Government announced that extra funding would be made available to local authorities to enable them to support small businesses outside the scope of the existing business grant fund scheme.

East Suffolk Council has been allocated £3,866,250 to fund the discretionary business support grants, and eligible businesses can now apply for grants of up to £10,000.

Due to the limited funding available and the need to assist as many businesses as possible, the Council will not be paying grants above £10,000 initially, however, this may be reviewed as the scheme progresses.

The Council has identified six areas as priorities at this stage, aimed at businesses which were not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, in line with the Government’s requirements. These are:

  • Businesses in shared spaces, such as within larger businesses units, office parks or incubation units, where their lettable space would have the equivalent of a rateable value of less than £15,000
  • Permanent market traders on a market in the East Suffolk area
  • Charities that were previously ineligible for support under the Small Business Grant Fund because they receive mandatory charity relief, rather than Small Business Rate Relief, and were not eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Scheme, but have premises with a rateable value of less than £15,000
  • B&Bs which pay Council Tax instead of business rates
  • Businesses that have significant premises costs and which are crucial to the local and regional economy
  • Additional small and micro businesses with fixed costs

Eligible businesses must have less than 50 employees, have been trading on 11 March 2020, and be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop in income as a result of the COVID-19 restriction measures.

The online form and full details about how to apply with full eligibility criteria can be found at: https://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/business/covid-19-business-grant-funding/

Financial Help Available

East Suffolk Council is processing quickly the payments of grants for local businesses provided by the government.

The grants include the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Fund.

If you are eligible please complete the relevant online form using the links below:

The first fund offers a grant of £10,000 to support small businesses – those who receive small business rate relief or rural rate relief.
The second grant is of either £10,000 or £25,000 depending on rateable value.

You can also find more information here.

Please click on ‘Government support’ within this site for a large range of support packages available including for the Self Employed and Innovative Businesses with information under ‘All Businesses’ on matters such as VAT deferral and Rates Holiday.

Businesses with further enquiries should email:


New measures to protect the high street from aggressive rent collection and closure

Click on this link for government information about this.

Helpful information from Ensors Chartered Accountants 

Ensors Chartered Accountants are continuing to update their online Support for Businesses information as new directives are still coming out almost daily.

You can find their information here.

This includes information on:
  1. The Job Retention Furlough Scheme, under which 80% of wages can be recovered
  2. The Temporary Business Interruption Loan Scheme
  3. The Self-Employment Scheme

The Furlough Scheme

Under the scheme an Employer still pays wages but can claim 80% back through the Portal that opened on April 20th.

Any UK organisation can claim provided employees were on your PAYE Payroll on or before 28/02/2020, extended on April 15th to 19/03/2020.

The scheme initially ended on June 30th but extended to October 31st on May 12th.

The claim can be for:

  • 80% of usual monthly wage costs (up to £2500 a month). If the employee has irregular pay the furlough figure depends on how long they have worked for you e.g: if more than 12 months the higher of the same month’s earnings from the previous year and average monthly earnings in the 2019-2020 tax year
  • Plus Employer NI and pension contributions (the latter up to the statutory minimum automatic enrolment contributions) on the furlough pay.


The employee can be on any type of contract but their approval to its changes must be agreed.

An employer should write to the employee confirming the changes to the Employment contract and the furlough arrangements the letter also containing:

  1. The reasons
  2. Whether the employer is continuing to pay wages above the 80%
  3. The duration. It must be for a minimum period of 3 consecutive weeks.

Employees need to be designated as furloughed.

Then “Employees must not work or provide any services for the business while furloughed even if they receive a top-up salary “to quote from the GOV.UK Guidance published on March 26th and updated on April 9th.

Start date

Claims should be started from the date the employee finishes work and starts furlough, ie not when the decision is made or they have written to confirm their furloughed status.

What you need

To make a claim you will need to supply your PAYE number, the names (and NI number) of those furloughed, the claim period and amount claimed plus your Bank account details.

For more information, please contact James Lightfoot on email: