Coronavirus: Business advice & support COVID-19 Support
Get 2021 ready

Page updated: 30 March 2021

On the 22nd of February, the government published its roadmap for easing lockdown restrictions for individuals and businesses across England.

As businesses are permitted to reopen over the next few months, we want to reassure our business community that first and foremost we are here to support you.

From navigating the government’s support measures, to running dedicated programmes designed to strengthen businesses, we are here to help you remain resilient.

Access information on how and when restrictions will be lifted, support measures and more below. Alternatively, please contact us to get tailored support from our team of Business Advisers. 

We are here to listen, offer advice, and connect you to support tailored to your business needs.

Reopening Businesses and Venues

Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do changed on 29 March. However, many restrictions remain in place. You should continue to work from home if you can, minimise the number of journeys you make where possible, and follow the rules in the Coronavirus Restrictions guidance.

The government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ setting out the roadmap out of the current coronavirus restrictions. This is a step-by-step plan to ease restrictions in England cautiously. For more information, visit the Government’s Reopening Businesses and Venues page.



Help to Grow Scheme

In the 2021 budget, the government announced a series of measures to help support businesses as they recover from the pandemic, including the Help to Grow scheme. This is designed to help SMEs across the UK learn new skills, reach new customers and boost profits.

The scheme is divided into two sections, Help to Grow: Management; and Help to Grow: Digital.

Help to Grow: Management

During June 2021, SMEs will be able to access a 12-week programme delivered by leading business schools across the UK. This will combine a practical curriculum, with one-to-one support from a business mentor, peer-learning sessions and an alumni network.

Designed to be manageable alongside full-time work, the programme will support business leaders in developing their strategic skills. Key modules will cover financial management, innovation and digital adoption. By the end of the programme, participants will develop a tailored business growth plan to lead their business to its full potential.

The programme is 90% subsidised by government; participants will be charged £750.

Who is it for?

UK businesses from any sector that have been operating for more than 1 year, with between 5 to 249 employees are eligible. The participant should be a decision maker or member of the senior management team within the business e.g. Chief Executive, Finance Director etc.

For more information and to register, click here.


Help to Grow: Digital

During Autumn 2021, small businesses will be able to get free, impartial advice on how technology can boost their performance through a new online platform.

Eligible businesses will also be able to get a discount of up to 50% on the costs of approved software, worth up to £5,000. Vouchers are initially expected to be available for software that helps businesses:

– build customer relationships and increase sales

– make the most of selling online

– manage their accounts and finances digitally

Who is it for?

All businesses will be able to benefit from free online advice on the platform.

The voucher is expected to be available to UK business that:

– Employ between 5 and 249 employees, and are registered at Companies House

– Have been trading for more than 12 months

– Are purchasing the discounted software for the first time


Full details on the businesses and software eligible for the voucher will be published this summer.

To register, click here.


Recovery Loan Scheme

The Recovery Loan Scheme has been put in place to allow businesses of any size to access loans and other kinds of finance once the existing COVID-19 loan schemes close. These loans and other finance can be up to £10 million per business, and will help provide support to businesses as they recover and grow following the disruption of the pandemic and the end of the transition period.

Once received, the finance can be used for any legitimate business purpose, including growth and investment.

The government will guarantee 80% of the finance to the lender to ensure they continue to have the confidence to lend to businesses.

The scheme launches on 6 April and is open until 31 December, subject to review. Loans will be available through a network of accredited lenders, whose names will be made public in due course.

What type of finance is available?

Term loans and overdrafts will be available between £25,001 and £10 million per business.

Invoice finance and asset finance will be available between £1,000 and £10 million per business.

Finance terms are up to six years for term loans and asset finance facilities. For overdrafts and invoice finance facilities, terms will be up to three years.

No personal guarantees will be taken on facilities up to £250,000, and a borrower’s principal private residence cannot be taken as security.


You will be able to apply for a loan if your business is trading in the UK

You will need to show that your business is viable or would be viable were it not for the pandemic; has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic; and is not in collective insolvency proceedings. Further details will be provided in due course.

Business that have received support under the existing COVID-19 guaranteed loan schemes will still be eligible to access finance under this scheme, if they meet all other eligibility criteria.


Coronavirus business support webinar videos

From March to June we ran a series of webinars to help businesses understand the support on offer and how to access it. To watch these webinars, fill in the form.

Business resilience talkbook video screenshot


If you would like further guidance to understand the support measures available to your business, our team of business advisers are on hand. Request a call back from a Business Adviser to access tailored advice, guidance and support. We're here to help.

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