Financial support for businesses

We have provided a list the measures and support schemes currently available to financially support businesses impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19). Subscribe to our regular business news emails to keep up to date.

Business Support Grants and Rate Relief

Applications for payments from the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant Fund are being processed.

Letters have been sent to your business premises to advise of the rate relief automatically awarded to you and whether from our records you are considered eligible for the grant schemes. 

If you have not received a letter check your eligibility before applying.

The online form application form is available here. 

We will check application data to ensure that the payment information we hold is correct. We'll use existing council databases as far as possible. However, in some instances we might have to email you directly to obtain information (such as copy bank statements) before funds can be released. 

Please help us to make payment as quickly as possible by replying promptly if you receive a request. 

  • Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rate Relief - A discount of 100% has been extended to all businesses in sector regardless of Rateable Value.
  • Discretionary Grant - Apply for grant funding to support a small local business that has not been eligible for grant support so far. Apply

Loan Schemes

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Interruption Loan Scheme – businesses can apply for a loan of up to £5million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. Businesses can access the first 12 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments.
  • Small Business Bounce Back Loan Scheme – The Chancellor has announced a new 100% government backed loan scheme, which will launch for applications on Monday 4 May.
    • businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days
    • loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form
  • COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility – the Bank of England can buy short-term debt from larger companies. The company must have had a short or long-term rating of investment grade, as at 1 March 2020, or equivalent. Other criteria are whether the company makes a material contribution to UK economic activities; is UK  headquartered and is incorporated in the UK (including those with foreign-incorporated parent companies) and other factors.

Support for the Self-Employed

  • Self-employment Income Support Scheme – The scheme will allow self-employed individuals or partnerships to claim a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether. This is a temporary scheme, but it may be extended. To be eligible these criteria must be met:
    • Be self-employed or a member of partnership;
    • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19;
    • Filed a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership.
    • Have traded in 2019-20; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID 19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
    • Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
    • Your trading profits and total income in 2018/19
    • Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.


  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – If you cannot maintain your current workforce because your operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), you can furlough employees and apply for a grant that covers 80% of their usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions (up to the level of the minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contribution) on that subsidised furlough pay. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1 if applicable and was initially open for 3 months. The scheme has now been extended until 31st October 2020.
    • From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff. The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.

Additional information

Struggling to meet your business rates payments? 

During these difficult times we want to support you where we can. The coronavirus (COVID-19) is having an impact on all our lives and we understand that you might have difficulty in meeting your Business Rate payments.

Our recovery processes for non-payment have been significantly reduced to allow businesses to:

  • claim any grants available
  • withhold or reduce payments whilst grants and reliefs are applied to accounts.

If you are worried about making your payments, please contact us:


Sick Pay - For businesses with fewer than

250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full

Tax - the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme to help with tax

To keep updated with the latest government announcements on business support throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation check the central government website or subscribe to receive their email alerts.

Further information and support for the local area can also be accessed through the Dorset Growth Hub, Dorset Chamber of Commerce and the Dorset LEP.

The government has a Business Support Helpline available on 0300 456 3565.

Useful links