We are currently asking people to only come into our offices for essential visits. Where possible, people should contact us by phone or email or through our website.
For up-to-date information about our services and links to useful advice, see our Coronavirus page

Support for businesses

There are a number of measures that have been announced by Government to support businesses as they face significant disruption as a consequence of Coronavirus.  We are working hard to ensure you have access to the latest available help and support.

If you have any concerns or need support, please call a member of the Economic Development Team who will be happy to help:
Call 0300 790 6290 or email

You can also find information and support at The New Anglia Growth Hub. The Growth Hub can be contacted directly on 0300 333 6536.  Alternatively, there is more comprehensive guidance on the Government website. 

Business Support Survey 

Our business survey is now live.  Please complete the survey and share vital information that will help us support you in the future and prepare for economic recovery. 

Business Support Grants

For support, call 01508 500670, Monday to Friday 09:00 - 17:00

Between April & September through the Small Business, Retail Hospitality and Leisure and Discretionary Grant funds we paid out nearly £29 million in Covid-19 Business Support Grants to over 2,500 businesses. These grants have been vital to our local economy – helping ensure the survival of shops, cafes, hotels, restaurants and many other businesses.

The following grants are available now:

Government has announced that there will be financial support available to businesses that were open as usual, providing services in person to customers from their business premises, but which are then required to close due to local lockdown restrictions.

This support is for businesses that receive a business rates bill for their premises. If you are not sure whether you are or should be listed for business rates please contact our Business Rates Team –

Limited additional funding will be made available to Local councils to offer discretionary support to those businesses which are not business rated or have been significantly impacted by the closure of other businesses in our area.

More information on this scheme can be found here.

Business Rate Relief

A business rates relief holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year is now live.

Businesses within these industries do not need to do anything.  Revised bills are now being issued to these businesses to reflect this expanded relief.

A business rates relief holiday is also now live for nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

You are eligible for the business rates holiday where your business property is:

  • occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register
  • wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage

Businesses within these industries do not need to do anything.  Revised bills are now being issued to these businesses to reflect this new relief

If you are not eligible for either scheme above and are struggling to pay your business rates, please contact the business rates team as soon as possible. They may be able to assist with rescheduling payment dates.

South Norfolk Council Rates Team –

Additional Support Available

If you are not eligible for a grant or rates relief, or if you need further support, there are a number of other measures announced by the Government that could help to support your business. We would recommend you look through each in turn to determine if you are eligible.

Covid:19 Job Retention Scheme (Furlough)

All UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, known as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month.

Find out more about the Furlough scheme here.

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate

Employers will be able to make claims through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme from 26 May.

The new online service will be for small and medium-sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees.

Employers can furlough their employees who have been advised to shield in line with public health guidance and are unable to work from home, under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Once furloughed, the employee should no longer receive SSP and would be classified as a furloughed employee.

Find out more about the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme here.

Self Employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The online service you’ll use to claim is not available yet. HMRC will aim to contact you by mid May 2020, and will make payments by early June 2020.

Find out more about the scheme here.  

Self-employed eligible to apply for Universal Credit

Self-employed people are now eligible to apply for increased amounts of Universal Credit if you are on a low income or out of work.

This can be accessed here.

A hardship fund is also available to support residents who are experiencing severe hardship due to the Coronavirus crisis. Find out more here.

If you would like more information about support available, please email

Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

This scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) borrow between £2000 to £50000.

The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.  This scheme will launch 4 May.
Find out more here.


VAT Deferral

UK registered businesses will not need to make VAT payments normally due with VAT returns during this period for three months. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020-21 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period.

Find out about VAT deferral here.


Deferral of Self Assessment payment

Self-assessment payments normally due to be paid to HMRC by 31st July 2020 can now be deferred to January 2021.

Find out more about the scheme here.


Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports small and medium-sized businesses with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to six years.

Find out more about the scheme here.


COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

The Bank of England will buy short-term debt from larger companies to help ease the supply of credit to all businesses. This will support companies which are fundamentally strong but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze.

Find out more here.


Support for businesses paying tax

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time to Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

Find out more here.


Insurance cover related to pandemics

Businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their broker or insurer to understand what they are covered for. However, the Government recognise that many businesses, particularly SME's, don’t have insurance cover for a pandemic and so they have made cash grants available to help businesses bridge through this period.


Protection for commercial tenants who are struggling to meet rent payments

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. Many landlords and tenants are already having conversations and reaching voluntary arrangements about rental payments due shortly, but the Government recognises businesses struggling with their cashflow due to coronavirus remain worried about eviction.

These measures, included in the emergency Coronavirus Bill currently going through Parliament, will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next 3 months. 

Find out more here.

No planning control barrier to food delivery

We will be ensuring planning controls are not a barrier to food delivery over the period of disruption caused by the coronavirus. We will not seek to undertake planning enforcement action which would result in unnecessarily restricting deliveries of food and other essential deliveries during this period, having regard to their legal obligations.

We recognise that the increased frequency of deliveries, particularly at night, could have a temporary impact on local residents. However, this needs to be balanced by the significant public interest in ensuring local residents have continued access to food, sanitary and other essential goods in their local shops.

The retail and logistics sectors have also worked to minimise impacts on residents over recent years through Quiet Deliveries and the Government expects that such good practice continues. The Government will review the need for the flexibility outlined in this statement after the pressure from the Coronavirus has reduced, and it is the intention to withdraw it once the immediate urgency has subsided.


Relaxed planning restrictions for food deliveries

The Government has announced they are relaxing any planning restrictions for pubs, restaurants and cafes at this time to help businesses adapt and support individuals who are staying at home as a result of Coronavirus. This in effect means that we won’t investigate any potential breaches in planning during this period.

The Government has advised that it will introduce a time limited permitted development right through secondary legislation (negative SI) to allow the temporary change of use of a pub (A4 - drinking establishment) and a restaurant (A3 – restaurants and cafes) to a hot-food take away for a period of up to 12 months only.

Businesses will be required to tell the local planning authority when the new use begins and ends. If alcohol is to be sold and delivered, this is a licensable activity and cannot take place unless an existing licence is in force which permits you to do so.

You must ensure that allergen information is provided to the customer regarding any food or drink provided at the point of ordering, and with the order itself. Further information is available here. Separate, clean food-grade containers should be used for food in transit and ensure steps are taken to minimise the risk of cross-contamination; store raw and ready-to-eat foods separately and exercise good personal hygiene, including washing hands regularly.

High risk perishable food should be transported at a temperature of 8°C or below; hot ready-to-eat food should be transported in insulated containers to keep the food as hot as possible ensuring you limit the distance travelled. Ensure any frozen food does not defrost. Further information can be found here.

Whilst we are providing this guidance during the current circumstances, please note that this is subject to change. This advice is provided only in the context of temporary arrangements and any permanent changes may require planning permission.

If you are a mobile food business, you will need to consider your location and whether this will lead to any potential odour/noise nuisance within the neighbourhood. You must also consider the government advice with regards to social distancing in particular any queues to purchase the food; this includes considering other methods for receiving orders and taking any payments.

You should follow the most recent advice provided by the Government and Public Health England when looking to make changes in the way you operate your business.

Food businesses can keep up to date with the latest government advice here, including steps that must be taken to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus.

Working Safely

Guidance has been published to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the Coronavirus pandemic. The guidance covers a range of different types of work and a helpful checklist to get you started. Find out more here.

Mobile Traders Guidance

If you are a mobile food trader and meet the requirements needed to sell takeaway food, you can do so (with street trading permission if required).  For more information, see the government guidance on Covid-19 for businesses and further guidance on working safely.

While takeaway food outlets and traders may be allowed to operate during this time, businesses must ensure that they protect both staff and the public by ensuring social distancing requirements are followed. 

The guidance from government about staying alert and safe and maintaining social distancing rules is very clear. Please help by following the social distancing guidelines and encouraging your customers to do the same. 

If you cannot ensure 'social distancing' by your customers, either in queues or when they are eating the takeaway food, for example on nearby benches or in open spaces, you must close your business. This is to protect against the spread of coronavirus. There are posters, freely available to use, on Norfolk Trading Standards website, which may help you to provide information to your customers.

It is still very important that people stay home unless necessary to go out for specific reasons set out in law. It is doubtful that going out to buy takeaway food, such as an ice-cream, from a street trader would be considered a ‘necessary’ reason to leave the house, so we would encourage mobile food traders to act responsibly and stay at home. The government has announced a range of financial assistance to support business during this time.

Find out more about our  'Do business with Confidence' campaign so support the economic recover.