The government announced a package of financial measures to support businesses during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. More than £50 million worth of business grants have been approved by Wirral Council so far, to keep local companies going through this crisis.

Please read the information below to find out how to access support.

Local Restrictions Support Grant

Government funding is available to eligible business premises that have been ordered to close as a result of national restrictions including:

  • Tier 3 restrictions from 14 October to 4 November 2020
  • National restrictions (2) from 5 November to 2 December 2020
  • Tier 2 restrictions from 2 December to 30 December 2020
  • Tier 3 restrictions from 31 December 2020 to 4 January 2021
  • National restrictions (3) from 5 January 2021
  • National restrictions (1) from 23 March 2020 that have remained in effect (such as nightclubs and sexual entertainment venues)

Grants are available for premises that are liable for business rates.

Find out more and how to apply

Business rates support

A 12-month business rates holiday has been confirmed for nurseries occupied by providers on Ofsted's Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage. Properties that have closed temporarily due to the government’s advice on COVID-19 (coronavirus) should be treated as occupied for the purposes of this relief. Government guidance can be found on GOV.UK.

A 12-month business rates holiday has been confirmed for retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England during the 2020-2021 tax year. Government guidance on the business uses in properties that will and will not benefit from the business rates relief can be found on GOV.UK.

Wirral Council has issued revised bills to qualified ratepayers, confirming that they will not need to pay any rates for the year.

Support for self-employed workers

Self-employed workers can apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits, up to £2,500 a month, to help them cope with the financial impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

People will be eligible if at least half their income has come from self-employment, as registered on the 2018-19 tax return filed in January. The scheme is open to self-employed people earning under £50,000 a year and payments will start in June.

HMRC will contact those that are eligible directly.

Find out more about support for self-employed workers on GOV.UK

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The government’s step-by-step guide explains the information that employers need to provide to HMRC to make a claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. It also describes the processes involved.

Find out how to make a claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on GOV.UK

Hospitality, Leisure and Retail Support Grant (Expanded Scheme)

For small and micro businesses that are not eligible for or received funds from other grants.

Applications for the fund are now closed. Applications are being assessed in the order they were received since 30 November and applicants will be notified of a decision as soon as each assessment is complete. Our team is carrying out this process as quickly as possible.

Christmas Support Payments Grant

On 1 December 2020, the Government announced the introduction of additional support over the festive period for wet-led pubs in areas under Tier 2 or 3 restrictions. 

Find out more and how to apply

Bounce Back small business loans

This government-backed loan scheme allows businesses 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.

The loans are easy to apply for through a short, standardised online application. Loans should reach businesses within days, providing immediate support to those that need it as easily as possible.

Firms will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders. The government will work with lenders to ensure loans delivered through this scheme are advanced as quickly as possible and agree a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan. The application process is now open.

Find out more about small business loans and how to apply on GOV.UK

The coronavirus Future Fund

This scheme will issue convertible loans between £125,000 to £5 million to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak. Businesses will be eligible if they:

  • are based in the UK
  • can attract the equivalent match funding from third-party private investors and institutions
  • have previously raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last 5 years

Find out more about the fund on GOV.UK

Combined Authority Business support

Steve Rotheram, the Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region (LCR), has recently announced a £15 million support package from existing Combined Authority projects to support businesses and the community and voluntary sector, including:

  • £5 million to support businesses to access national government funds and improve the survival rate of LCR businesses
  • the launch of Sustain, a 6-week programme of intensive support for 240 SMEs across all sectors
  • the launch of Gather, a programme offering free online support to Liverpool City Region SMEs working in the digital, creative and tech sector
  • Mettle, an online business resilience programme, which will support 120 SMEs in the digital, creative and tech sector
  • £400,000 to support micro-businesses and SMEs in the cultural sector

On 12 June 2020, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region (LCR), launched a £3 million LCR Future Innovation Fund to support businesses in the region to adapt and innovate in the wake of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. More information on the Growth Platform website.

Taxi driver support fund

Grants to taxi drivers, who are licensed by Wirral Council, will start to be processed from the first week of December onwards.

The £100 cheque payments will be sent directly to all 1,400 taxi drivers, who live in the Liverpool City Region and whose cabs are licensed by Wirral Council. There is no need to submit an application, the payment will be sent automatically.

All six LCR authorities have agreed to make payments to taxi drivers from a designated £1.5m fund, in an effort to support the taxi trade which has struggled under strict restrictions since the onset of the global pandemic in March.

The funding has been allocated proportionately to each local authority, according to the number of licensed taxi drivers in their area. It will enable all of the city region’s local authorities to introduce schemes which benefit local taxi drivers, in addition to what is available to them through national support schemes.

Covid Winter Fund

Applications for this fund closed on 1 December 2020.

A small grants programme has been launched for community-based food providers to help ensure that food and essential items are available to people most in need across Wirral over the winter months.

The £250,000 Fund is available for bids of up to £10,000 from local groups and organisations.

View more information

Liverpool City Region Hospitality and Leisure grant

Applications for the fund are now closed

Steve Rotheram, the Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region and Leaders of the city region’s six local authorities have announced an emergency fund of up to £40million to businesses affected by government restrictions in the hospitality and leisure sector in Liverpool City Region.

The emergency stop-gap fund has been set up a direct response to new government restrictions, which came into force on 3 October, forbidding people from mixing with other households in indoor venues – including pubs, bars and restaurants.

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

Applications for the fund are now closed.

Following government guidelines, we are unable to accept any further applications.

If you recently made an application for your business, we will get back to you before the end of September to let you know if you have been successful.

Discretionary Business Grants Fund

Applications have now closed. 

This fund was for small businesses that were outside the scope of the previous business grant funds scheme.

Restarting your business after COVID-19

It is vital to Wirral that our businesses get back to doing what they do best, working hard and building up our local economy.

We have developed a new business toolkit to help you to reopen your business after coronavirus and get back on your feet after the lockdown.

You will be able to find the latest government guidance and what it means to your business, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and a back-to-work checklist of things to consider before reopening your business. You will also find a selection of posters you can print and display to help your staff and customers visit safely.

Helpline for Wirral businesses

Further information is available from Wirral Chamber of Commerce which has opened a Business Support Helpline on 0151 650 6982 or by email to policy@wirralchamber.co.uk

For the latest government updates on these measures, visit the COVID-19 (coronavirus) support for businesses website.

Government business support finder tool

This new ‘support finder’ tool will help businesses and self-employed people across the UK to quickly and easily determine what financial support is available during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The finder tool on GOV.UK asks business owners to fill out a simple online questionnaire, and you will be directed to a list of all the financial support you may be eligible for.

Use the Business Support Finder tool

Other useful sources of information