Coronavirus Business Support

What can we do to help your business

Imminent Closure of Business Grants on 30 September 2020

Central government has decided that all Business Grant Schemes will close on 30/9/2020, therefore all remaining businesses who feel they meet the criteria are invited to apply by the 28/8/2020, to enable applications to be processed and paid before the final deadline.

The Business Discretionary Grant scheme was expanded to include more types of businesses on 3/8/2020 and further details of the extended scheme can be found on this page Coronavirus Business Support.  Full eligibility criteria for the Discretionary Grant and a link to the form can be seen below, under the heading "Discretionary Business Grant". 

  • As at 24th July, £37,066,000 in Grants has been made to 3110 business premises in Southend-on-Sea.
  • These grants have been vital to our economy – helping to ensure the survival of shops, cafes, hotels, restaurants and many more businesses.
  • We are in the final stages of this programme, a large number of eligible businesses have now claimed grants.
  • If you think you are eligible, but have not yet been in touch with us about this, please do so as soon as possible as we still have funding available for all three schemes.

Discretionary Business Grant

We are still taking applications for the discretionary grant, if you believe you are eligible then please continue to apply.

This grant is an additional fund to the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund. It is aimed at certain small businesses who were not eligible for the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Fund. The scheme is funded by the Government.

Please do not apply for this grant if you have already received one of the other grants. The only exception to this are businesses who are eligible for the Self-Employed Income support scheme (SEISS), who are eligible to apply for this scheme as well.

These discretionary grants are aimed at certain businesses:

  • with relatively high ongoing fixed proper-related costs
  • which can demonstrate that they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
  • which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.
  • with fewer than 50 employees.
  • that were trading on 11 March 2020.

Who can apply?

Applicants will be given priority if they are a:

  • small business in a shared office or other flexible workspace – for example, a unit in an industrial park, a science park or an incubator that does not have its own business rates assessment
  • regular market trader with fixed building costs, such as rent, but without a business rates assessment
  • bed and breakfast that pays council tax instead of business rates
  • charity in receipt of Charitable Business Rates Relief, that would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief
  • an Ofsted registered Pre-school nurseries with fixed property costs, such as rent, who do not their own business rates assessment; 
  • a business that occupies Industrial/Warehouse units (as determined by the VOA on the pro description) with a rateable value over £15,000 but less than £51,000 who are not eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure grant
  • an independent care home
  • Phase 2, Businesses with a rateable Value below £60,000 RV (Excluding exemptions)


To read the full policy for eligibility please download the document here: Southend on Sea Borough Council Discretionary Business Grant Scheme 2020/21

The full policy for the extended second stage of grant distribution can be found here: Southend-on-Sea Borough Council Discretionary Business Grant Scheme 2020/21 Phase 2

In order to process your application, you must submit a minimum of four pieces of evidence. This must include:

  • a bank statement
  • proof of business property cost
  • proof of your income lost as a result of COVID-19
  • identification

To receive a discretionary grant, businesses need to complete a simple online form

The council is asking all eligible businesses to apply within a two week window. If you match the criteria for application, please ensure you fill out the form as soon as possible.

Business grants

Small Business Grants Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.

A simple application form needs to be submitted for these grants. This is to capture basic business information and ensure the council meets government requirements to make the relevant payments. The council will endeavour to make payments as soon as possible after receipt of an application.

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

The government will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to all businesses currently eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief.

Support for businesses that pay business rates

Extended Retail Discount 2020-2021 - For those currently in receipt of 50% Retail Relief this will automatically be increased to 100% and expanded to include the leisure and hospitality sectors. This Business rates holiday has been extended to all pubs, clubs, theatres and other hospitality, leisure and retail venues irrespective of their rateable value. If you currently pay your account via direct debit this has been cancelled from 1st April 2020 onwards.

For those businesses which do have a policy that covers pandemics, the government’s action is sufficient and will allow businesses to make an insurance claim against their policy. However many of those businesses do not have insurance so for pubs, clubs, theatres and other hospitality, leisure and retail venues with a rateable value between £15,000 and £50,999 will be able to access an additional cash grant of up to £25,000 per business.

That means every single shop, pub, theatre, music venue, restaurant - and any other business in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector – will pay no business rates whatsoever for 12 months, and if they have a rateable value of between £15,000 and £50,999, they can now get a cash grant as well.

The council has granted this relief to all those that they have identified as being eligible and demands have been issued. If you do not receive an amended demand notice by 25 June 2020 and feel that you fulfil the criteria for Extended Retail Discount 20/21 please contact us by email.

If you are not affected by these changes, your bill is correct and you should make payment as detailed on your bill.

100% Nursery discount 2020-21

The Government are providing support to assist non-local childcare providers such as Nurseries and Day Care Centres. Properties that will benefit from this 100% relief will be those which are occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and are wholly and mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage. We have identified the businesses eligible for this discount and have applied the reduction and issued amended demands accordingly.

Commercial Rent Collection

The council has agreed an approach to rent collection and arrears for its business tenants in light of the Covid-19 situation and the latest advice issued by the Government on 23 March 2020, the headlines of which are:

  • commercial tenants unable to pay rent will be protected from eviction if they miss a payment in next 3 months. Tenants will remain liable for the rent after this period and the Government is monitoring the impact on landlords’ cash flow
  • the measures encourage ongoing conversations between landlords and tenants about voluntary arrangements
  • the latest measure builds on the unprecedented package of support for businesses already announced by the Government

In addition to this Government support, the council is keen to support its tenants to the extent that it can legally and practically do so and has agreed the following measures in line with the Government’s guidance:

  1. The Council will continue to invoice in line with the contractual arrangements (leases and licences etc) so that businesses remain aware of their rent liability. If tenants are unable to pay their rent because of Coronavirus then the council will pause all rent enforcement measures and will not pursue evictions for at least the next 3 months (until the end of June 2020) and then the situation will then be reviewed.
  2. For businesses required to close as a result of the Government’s guidance updated on 25 March 2020, the council will respond to any requests from its business tenants for rent payment to be deferred, and for payment plans to be put in place initially for 3 months’ rent (until the end of June 2020) and again, this will also be kept under review.

BID (Business Improvement District) levy payments

In light of the current COVID19 crisis, the council is enabling a three-month deferral period for Business Improvement District (BID) levy payments; during which time the council will not pursue or enforce non-payment of the BID levy. The BID levy can still be paid in the normal way by businesses that wish to. BID levy payers will receive written notification of this within the coming weeks.

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Economic Development

If you have any queries, you can speak to the Economic Development team:

Telephone: 01702 215022

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