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Coronavirus: Managing Finance and Cashflow

 Insights on the key points that every business should be considering whilst continuing to operate in a crisis.


Here you will find information and guidance on government support, additional sources of finance and cash flow management.


What support is available

Live Events Reinsurance Scheme

On 5 August, the Chancellor announced the launch of a new Government-backed insurance scheme designed to provide confidence to the events industry and its supply chain. 

The scheme worth over £750 million will be delivered through insurers in the Lloyd’s market including Arch, Beazley, Dale, Hiscox and Munich Re with events organisers able to purchase cover for government-enforced cancellation due to the event being legally unable to take place due to Covid restrictions, alongside their standard insurance.

If events do have to cancel, after organisers have covered the agreed excess, the government and insurers have an agreed risk share per claim. This starts with government paying 95% and insurers 5%, progressing to them covering 97% and 3% respectively and finally government covering 100% of costs. The split depends on the losses incurred by the insurer from the scheme to date.

The scheme will be available from September 2021 (event organisers can now start approaching participating insurers to discuss their cover) and will run for 12 months, until 30 September 2022 with a review point in Spring 2022. 

Key points to consider:

  • The scheme will cover live events that are open to the general public and are physically located in the UK. Private events such as weddings and parties will not be covered under the scheme.
  • In order to be eligible, event organisers must have or purchase a standard events cancellation policy (or a policy that includes event cancellation coverage) provided at least in part by a participating insurer in the scheme (the cover backed by the scheme will not be offered on a standalone basis).
  • Event organisers can purchase cover up to the full cost of their event, irrespective of when those costs are incurred.
  • Cover must be purchased at least 8 weeks prior to the event taking place. This requirement will however not apply for the first 12 weeks of the scheme.

For more information and to view the full scheme rules, visit the government website


Recovery Loan scheme - opened on 6 April and will close on 31 December 2021

On 3 March 2021, the Chancellor announced the launch of the new Recovery Loan scheme which will provide all UK businesses regardless of size access to finance to help them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and grow.

Further information on eligibility and how to apply is available through our dedicated page.  

Start-up Loans 

For early-stage businesses in their first two years of trading, the British Business Bank’s Start-Up Loans programme may be of support. This scheme is not specific to COVID-19, however, in light of COVID-19, they are operating as normal and Second loans are also still available to eligible and existing customers.  

The Start-Up Loans Programme is available for businesses across the UK. Businesses must be less than 2 years old and can apply for loans of £500 - £25k at any one time. 

See all details for the Start-Up loan here.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Bounce Back Loans Scheme (BBLS)

Both schemes closed on 31 March 2021. For further information on repayment terms and how to manage your finances going forward, click the link - (Finance in the Spotlight - How can you manage debt during COVID-19? | GC Business Growth Hub) 

Support for Exporting Businesses

  • Internationalisation Fund - Supporting SMEs by offering match-funded grants of between £1,000 and £9,000 for eligible activities, including but not limited to market research, international social media, trade fairs, independent market visits.

  • SME Brexit Support Fund - The scheme closed to new applications on 30 June
    This scheme was launched on 11 February 2021 and will provide SMEs that are new to importing or exporting with grants up to £2,000 to help with training or professional advice. For more information visit the government website
  • General Export Facility (GEF) - On 7 December 2020, the government launched the GEF, a new guarantee scheme designed to provide SMEs with export finance up to the value of £25 million and help them recover from COVID-19. Full details of this scheme can be found through our guide here.

  • On 8 September 2020, the government announced a package of new measures to support businesses in the consumer and retail industry to export overseas as part of efforts to help the sector recover from Coronavirus. These include the launch of a Consumer and Retail Export Academy to help businesses export, via a digital learning syllabus. To view the full list of measures announced, visit the government website here

  • If your business exports goods or services and has been impacted by COVID-19 these schemes may also be suitable for you:



Grant support for businesses affected by coronavirus restrictions

A summary of the different grants available for businesses affected by coronavirus restrictions is available through our guide, here

All grants are allocated through the local authority, so please review your Local Authority's page to see what is available in your area. 

Find out what is available through your Local Authority

Future Fund: Breakthrough 

On 3 March 2021, the government announced that it will be launching the Future Fund: Breakthrough. This new £375 million scheme will support the scale-up of the most innovative, R&D-intensive businesses (e.g. those working in life sciences, quantum computing, or cleantech).

Delivered by the British Business Bank via its commercial subsidiary British Patient Capital, the scheme will encourage private investors to co-invest with the government in high-growth, innovative firms that are aiming to raise at least £30 million of funding. To be eligible, businesses must have commitments of 70% of an investment round (i.e. £21m) from private investors and must have raised at least £5m of equity investment from third-party investors in previous funding rounds in the last five years prior to Future Fund: Breakthrough investment.

To be considered for the scheme you must be a UK based company with significant UK operations.

Further information on the Fund including full eligibility criteria is available on the British Patient Capital website.

UK Research and Innovation funding

Businesses can find out about UK Research and Innovation's Covid-19 related funding and projects through their website here.

At the GC Business Growth Hub you can also read more from our Innovation team on applying for funding here or by contacting them directly.

National Lottery Project Grants

Arts Council England has reopened the fund with a budget of £77.9 million available until 31 August 2021. Funding is available for individual artists, community and cultural organisations (smaller independent organisations and individual practitioners will be prioritised).

Grants can support projects that directly create and deliver creative and cultural activity and content for audiences, visitors and digital users, and also those that have a longer term impact on strengthening the sector, such as organisational development, research and development and sector support. Grants range from £1,000 to £100,000. 

For more information and to apply for funding, visit Art Council England

Culture Recovery Fund

Emergency Resource Support - Applicants must seek permission to apply by 30 September 2021 and all applications must be submitted by 14 October 2021

Cultural organisations (particularly those who have not yet received grants from the Culture Recovery Fund) that were financially sustainable before COVID-19 but are now at imminent risk of failure and have exhausted all other options for increasing their resilience, can apply for funding to support them until the end of the year. 

An overview of the fund including guidance for applicants is available on Art Council England's website

Film & TV Production Restart Scheme - this scheme has been extended to 31 December 2021.  

On 28 July 2020, Government announced a £500 million Film and TV Production Restart Scheme to support production struggling to secure insurance for Covid-related costs. The Scheme Rules and Explanatory Notes can be viewed by visiting the government website. The application form can be viewed and submitted through this link 

The registration deadline for this scheme is 23:59 GMT on 31 October 2021, and claims will be able to be submitted up to 23:59 GMT on 31 March 2022 for losses incurred up until 23:59 GMT on 31 December 2021.

Green Homes Grant Scheme - The Green Homes Grant voucher scheme closed to new applications on 31 March 2021.

If you applied to be a registered Green Homes Grant installer before the closing date (31 March 2021), your application will have been processed.

If you are already a registered Green Homes Grant installer, you can continue to carry out work under the scheme provided your customer has been issued a voucher. You must finish the work at least 7 days before the voucher’s expiry date.

Business Rates

Business Rates relief for businesses operating in specific industries - retail, hospitality and leisure

In the 2021 Budget, the government announced that they will continue to provide eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with business rates relief over the 2021 to 2022 tax year. You are eligible if your property is a:

  • shop
  • restaurant, café, bar or pub
  • cinema or music venue
  • hospitality or leisure business - for example, a gym, a spa, a casino or a hotel

Eligible businesses could qualify for:

  • 100% off their business rates bills for the 2020 to 2021 tax year 
  • 100% off their business rates bills for the first 3 months of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021)
  • 66% off their business rates bills for the rest of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022) - This will be capped at £2 million per business for properties that were required to be closed on 5 January 2021, or £105,000 per business for other eligible properties.

Most councils will automatically apply the 66% discount applicable from 1 July to qualifying businesses. However, some councils state that in order to receive a discount from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, eligible businesses will need to complete a form. To ensure you get any relief you might be eligible for, visit your local council's website Contact your council about business rates bill - GOV.UK (


Business Rates relief for children’s nurseries

In the 2021 Budget, the government announced that they will also continue to provide eligible nurseries with business rates relief over the 2021 to 2022 tax year. You could qualify for nurseries discount if:

  • you are on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and
  • your premises are wholly or mainly used to provide the Early Years Foundation Stage of education

Eligible businesses could get: 

  • 100% off their business rates bills for the 2020 to 2021 tax year 
  • 100% off their business rates bills for the first 3 months of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021)
  • 66% off their business rates bills for the rest of the 2021 to 2022 tax year (1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022) - up to a maximum of £105,000

Most councils will automatically apply the 66% discount applicable from 1 July to qualifying businesses. However, some councils state that in order to receive a discount from 1 July 2021 to 31 March 2022, eligible businesses will need to complete a form. To ensure you get any relief you might be eligible for, visit your local council's website Contact your council about business rates bill - GOV.UK (


Cash Management Guide

In these challenging times, managing your cash as a business owner is crucial. You can find a guide to managing cash flow from our Access to Finance team here.


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) - The furlough scheme closed on 30 September 2021  

If your business requires support, our team of experts can help you address financial difficulties and help you review, reorganise and reshape your business model, workforce and operating systems. Tell us about your business and we’ll find the right advisor and service for your needs. Make your enquiry here

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme – Closed on 30 September 2021

If you are Self-Employed, the Greater Manchester EnterprisingYou programme can offer expertise and advice. Find out more here.


Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme - The scheme closed on 30 September 2021. 

Businesses can, until 31 December 2021, claim back SSP costs via the rebate scheme for employees who were off work on or before 30 September 2021.

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme allows qualifying employers to claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19). The online service you can use to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) can be accessed, here
You can use the scheme as an employer if:

  • you have already paid your employee’s sick pay 
  • you’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 

Full details on how to check eligibility and claim Statutory Sick Pay paid to your employees due to coronavirus can be found on the government website here.

An overview video of the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme is also available on the government website.

Test and Trace Support Payment scheme - Self-isolation Pay 

Those on lower incomes who have to self-isolate, cannot work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolation may be entitled to a payment of £500 under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme. You can access the scheme through your Local Authority and links to all Greater Manchester local council websites are available on our dedicated page

On 10 December 2020, the government announced that you can now also apply for the scheme if you have been notified to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace app even if you have not been contacted by NHS Test and Trace by phone, email, letter or text message.

On 22 February 2021, the government announced that the scheme will be expanded to also support parents who are unable to work because they are caring for a child who is self-isolating.

For more information on eligibility and how to claim financial support under the scheme please see here.

Kickstart Scheme - Applications close on 17 December 

On September 2, the Government opened applications for the Kickstart Scheme. This scheme aims to create new 6-month job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. Any organisation of any size can apply for funding as long as the roles offered are new jobs.  

Funding is available for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training. 

Originally applications had to be for a minimum of 30 job placements, and organisations unable to offer this many job placements could partner with a Kickstart gateway. 

From 3 February 2021, employers can apply directly to the scheme regardless of the number of job placements.

However, businesses can also continue to apply through a Kickstart gateway, including those supporting sole traders.

To support businesses, the government has published a series of tips for making a successful Kickstart Scheme application.

To help businesses benefit from Kickstart, the Growth Company has developed three support packages including:

  1. Being a Gateway organisation - to help businesses access the scheme regardless of how many placements you are able to offer
  2. Being a Kickstart Service Partner offering on-placement support, such as individual learning plans and careers advice/support 
  3. Employment services - enabling businesses to host placements without having to worry about employment contract and HR-related requirements.

For more information and to register your interest in a Kickstart application, visit the Growth Company's dedicated page

On 4 October 2021, the Chancellor announced that the Kickstart Scheme will be extended to March 2022. This means that employers can get funding until 30 September 2022 if a young person starts their job on 31 March 2022.

The scheme will be open to applications from employers and gateways until 17 December 2021. For more information, visit the government website

Apprenticeships incentive 

Update: On 4 October 2021, the government announced that the £3,000 incentive payment will be extended and businesses will be able to apply for new apprentices who join their organisation up until 31 January 2022. Please note the government's dedicated page on the apprenticeship incentive has not been updated yet but should reflect the above in the coming weeks.

On July 8 2020, the government announced the launch of a new incentive to encourage employers to create new apprenticeships and hire young people. 

Employers hiring an apprentice between 1 August 2020 and 31 March 2021, would receive a one-off payment of:

  • £2,000 for apprentices aged 16 to 24
  • £1,500 for apprentices aged 25 and over

Businesses had to apply for these apprentices before 31 May 2021.

In the 2021 Budget, the government announced that the incentive would be extended to September 2021 and the payments would be increased to £3,000 per apprentice hire.

This means that employers hiring an apprentice between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021, will receive a one-off payment of £3,000 per new hire. The payment can be used to support your business' costs i.e. for uniforms, your apprentice’s travel or their salary. 

For more information on how to apply, visit the government website. 


T Level employer incentive payment scheme

T Levels are a new qualification for students aged 16 to 19 who have finished GCSEs and a unique part of a T Level is the completion of an industry placement.

Recognising the impact the pandemic has had on many businesses, the government launched the T Level employer incentive fund to help cover financial constraints employers may face as a barrier to hosting placements in the short term.

Under the scheme, employers can claim £1000 for every T Level student they host on a high-quality 45 day (315 hour) industry placement that commences between 27 May 2021 and 31 July 2022.

Key points to consider:

  • Businesses can offer a T level placement if they are looking for talent in any of the following areas:
    • Agriculture, environmental and animal care
    • Business and administration
    • Catering and hospitality
    • Construction
    • Creative and design
    • Digital and IT
    • Education and Childcare
    • Manufacturing and engineering
    • Hair and beauty
    • Health and science
    • Legal, finance and accounting
  • There’s no legal requirement or expectation that students will be paid, as the placement is part of a course. However, some employers prefer to pay their students at least the National Minimum Wage while they are working.
  • Placements must be delivered in the workplace and cannot be offered through a remote-working model.

More information on eligibility and how to apply for the incentive is available here.


R&D Tax Relief

Research and Development (R&D) Tax Relief

The R&D tax relief scheme is not COVID-19 specific. The scheme is designed to encourage innovation in the UK by allowing businesses to offset research and development investments against corporation tax. For every £1 of identified R&D cost, you could save 26p in Corporation Tax. Find out more here.



Pay VAT deferred due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

The VAT deferral new payment scheme has now closed. You may be charged a 5% penalty or interest if you did not pay in full or make an arrangement to pay by 30 June 2021.

Full details on what to do if you cannot pay your bill can be found here.

VAT: reduced rate

  • The government announced on 8 July 2020 that VAT registered businesses can apply a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT to certain supplies relating to hospitality, hotel and holiday accommodation and admissions to certain attractions. This reduced rate originally applied to supplies that were made between 15 July 2020 and 12 January 2021.
  • On 24 September, the Chancellor extended the temporary reduced rate of VAT for the hospitality and tourism sectors until March 31 2021.
  • On 3 March 2021, the government extended the reduced VAT rate until 30 September 2021. To further support businesses a 12.5% interim rate will then apply for a further six months, until 31 March 2022.

You can find further information here



To stimulate business investment, the government has announced the introduction of the super-deduction, a new 130% first-year capital allowance for qualifying plant and machinery assets.

Key points to consider:

  • In order to qualify, expenditure must be incurred by a company within the charge to corporation tax on or after 1 April 2021 but before 1 April 2023
  • The type of assets that may qualify include but are not limited to:  
    • Solar panels
    • Computer equipment and servers
    • Tractors, lorries, vans
    • Ladders, drills, cranes
    • Office chairs and desks
    • Electric vehicle charge points
    • Refrigeration units
    • Compressors
    • Foundry equipment
  • Used and second-hand assets will not qualify for the super-deduction
  • Expenditure should not be within any of the eight general exclusions in section 46(2) of CAA 2001, which include exclusions for expenditure on cars and on the provision of plant and machinery for leasing
  • Expenditure incurred under a Hire Purchase or similar contract will be required to meet additional conditions to qualify for the super-deduction

More information is available in the published tax information and impacts note.

To further understand how the Super deduction works and how it impacts your business watch our on-demand Super deduction webinar.

Guidance relating to taxable expenses and benefits provided to employees during coronavirus (COVID-19)

The government has released guidance on the Income Tax treatment of certain expenses and benefits paid to employees because of coronavirus. More information including guidance on how to report these to HMRC is available on the government website.

Import tariffs on a number of COVID-19 medical products have been suspended

On 16 December, the government announced that import tariffs on medical products used to help fight against coronavirus have been suspended, lowering costs on these critical items for organisations across the UK.

The new measures, which ensure no tariffs will be due on imports of goods including face masks, gloves and other protective equipment, will come into effect from 1 January 2021 and are planned to last for 12 months until 31 December 2021. These will be subject to ongoing reviews.


Businesses and self employed people can use the government's latest business support finder tool to determine what financial support is available to them during the pandemic.

More information is available on the UK Government’s Coronavirus Business Support website. For more personalised advice call us on: 0161 237 4128 or email us at:

Past financial schemes - currently not available  

Developing your Creative Practice (DYCP) - Applications for Round 11 closed on 2 September 2021

This fund supports the development of independent cultural and creative practitioners. Individuals can apply for £2,000 to £10,000 to focus on their cultural and creative development, and reach the next stage in their practice. To be eligible for DYCP, applications must demonstrate a clear development opportunity. This could be for a period of research, time to create new work, travel, training, developing future ideas, networking or mentoring. 

An overview of the fund including guidance for applicants is available on Art Council England's website

Culture Recovery Fund

Continuity Support - Application Deadline: Friday 27 August 2021

Arts and cultural organisations that have previously been supported by the Culture Recovery Fund and may be at risk of no longer trading viably by 31 March 2022 can apply for funding to help them into the new year.

An overview of the fund including guidance for applicants is available on Art Council England's website

The Trade Credit Reinsurance Scheme - ended on 30 June 2021

On May 13, the Government announced that it was finalising a scheme to provide the continuance of trade insurance cover. 

In summary, Trade Credit Insurance usually covers business-to-business transactions, particularly in non-service sectors such as manufacturing and construction. It insures suppliers selling goods against the company they are selling to defaulting on payment. Due to Coronavirus and financial challenges, these suppliers risk having credit insurance withdrawn, or premiums increasing to unaffordable levels. The scheme is intended to temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance, covering most of the market. 

Further details were released on June 4, stating the scheme would provide up to £10 billion of government guarantees, and is available on a temporary basis for nine months, backdated to 1 April 2020 running until 31 December 2020.

On 29 December, the scheme was extended to 30 June 2021 and approved under relevant state aid rules.

Full details can be found on the government website

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) supports small and medium-sized businesses, with an annual turnover of up to £45 million, to access loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to 10 years. 

The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees. This means smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.

There are over 40 accredited lendersIf one lender turns you down, you can still approach other lenders within the scheme. If you are based in the North West our sister company GC Business Finance are an accredited provider of CBILS -find out more here. 

Full details of this scheme can be found here.

If you’re not sure if CBILS funding is right for your business you can contact our Access to Finance team for impartial advice here

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) - this scheme closed on 31 March 2021

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) was announced on 3rd April 2020 and is a scheme that is designed to provide debt finance of up to £200m for larger businesses (with a turnover of more than £45m) across the UK, which are experiencing lost or deferred revenues as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The initiative supports a range of products from term loans and overdrafts to invoice finance and asset finance. On 24 September the government extended the scheme to 30 November 2020 for new applications. On November 2, the government further extended the application deadline to 31 January 2021. On December 17, the Chancellor extended the scheme to 31 March 2021.  

Full details of the loan scheme can be seenhere. 

Bounce Back Loans Scheme (BBLS) - this scheme closed on 31 March 2021.

BBLS is a scheme aimed at UK-based micro businesses which are experiencing lost or deferred revenues as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Loans range from £2,000 up to 25% of a business’ turnover; the maximum loan amount is £50,000 and the UK Government will provide a guarantee of 100%. The launch date was Monday 4th May.  

On 24 September the Chancellor extended the scheme to 30 November for new applications and introduced new flexible repayment terms. On November 2, the government further extended the application deadline to 31 January 2021.  

On December 17, the Chancellor extended the scheme once again to 31 March 2021. 

You can find more information on BBLS through our dedicated pagehere.    

If you are based in and trading from Greater Manchester, our sister company GC Business Finance (GCBF) are an accredited provider of BBLS and may be able to support you if you have been unable to access a loan through your current banking partner.  

In November 2020, GC Business Finance became the first lender in the UK accredited to provide BBLS to be backed by a local authority, managing £10m of emergency funding from Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).  

For more information, visit the GCBFwebsite.  

Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund - this scheme closed on 31 March 2021.

The Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF) is a fund for social enterprises and charities that are improving people’s lives across the UK who are experiencing disruption to their normal business model as a result of COVID-19. It was established to make the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme more easily accessible to these organisations.  

The fund is being run by Social Investment Business (SIB) and provides loans for working capital for business models interrupted by COVID-19. SIB has announced that £4m worth of grant funding has also been made available to be used alongside the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund to support charities and social enterprises based in and delivering the majority of their impact in England. RRLF closes to new applications at 11.59 pm on Wednesday 31 March 2021. 

Further information on eligibility criteria and how to apply for the RRLF is available on the SIB website, here. 

CCFF for Large Companies

Covid Corporate Financing Facility

The Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF, the Facility) was announced on the 20th of March. The Bank of England will buy short-term debt from large companies, providing funding to businesses by purchasing commercial paper of up to one-year maturity. It will help businesses across a range of sectors to pay wages and suppliers, even while experiencing severe disruption to cashflows. It is available for companies, and their finance subsidiaries, that make a material contribution to the UK economy. 

The scheme will close for new purchases from eligible issuers with effect from 23 March 2021. This means that the Facility will make no purchases of CP after 22 March 2021. The CCFF will close to new applications from counterparties and issuers looking to become eligible on 31 December 2020. 

On 9 October 2020, HM Treasury and the Bank announced an enhanced process to monitor and review CCFF issuers' credit quality in advance of the closure of the CCFF.

Full details of the corporate financing facility can be found on the Bank of England and UK Finance websites.

Cultural Hardship Fund for Freelancers - Applications closed on Tuesday 2 March 2021

The Savannah Wisdom Foundation has created a discretionary fund to support freelancers within the arts, cultural and creative industries in Manchester impacted by COVID-19. Individual freelancers can apply for grants of £1,500.

To be eligible for the scheme, you must be a resident of or business based in Manchester. If you live in Greater Manchester but can evidence your freelance work is primarily in Manchester, then you may still be eligible to apply.

New entrants to freelance work in the sector are also eligible as long as they can provide details of 8 weeks (5 weeks for disabled applicants) of relevant freelance work during the period January 2019 to March 2020. However, individuals that have received funding from the Government’s Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will not be eligible. 

Full details on eligibility and how to apply are available through Manchester City Council's website

Youth Covid-19 Support Fund - Applications closed on 19 February 2021

The Youth Covid-19 Support Fund will provide grant funding to grassroots youth clubs, uniformed youth groups, and national youth and umbrella organisations. It has been designed to help to mitigate the impact of lost income during the winter period due to the coronavirus pandemic, and ensure services providing vital support can remain viable.

Grants are available for essential business costs incurred between 1 November 2020 and 31 March 2021 and these can include staff salaries as well as fixed/operational costs (i.e. rent, utility costs, insurances, facility or equipment hire and others).

To apply for a grant you must be one of the following:
• a registered Charity
• an incorporated not for profit organisation
• an incorporated Community Interest Company

Full details on eligibility and how to apply are available through the Fund's dedicated website


Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas - round 2 

To support independent cinemas in England whose businesses have been unavoidably interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and will continue to be disrupted upon re-opening, the government launched round 2 of the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas.

The Fund is administered by the British Film Institute (BFI) and the deadline for applications is midday on 1 February 2021.

For more information and to apply for the fund visit BFI's dedicated website, here.


Future Fund - The scheme closed for new applicants on 31 January 2021.

The government's Future Fund will provide loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. The scheme which is being delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank, launched on May 20, 2020, and was initially open until the end of September 2020. On 24 September the Chancellor extended the scheme to 30 November for new applications. On November 2, the government further extended the application deadline to 31 January 2021. 

On 30 June, the government expanded eligibility for the fund allowing companies which have substantial UK economic presence (half or more employees UK based or half or more revenues from UK sales) but have been required to incorporate their ultimate parent company in a non-UK jurisdiction solely in order to participate in an Accelerator Programme to also qualify.

You can find more information here. Applications must be made online at the Future Fund Portal. 

Culture Recovery Fund - second round

On Friday 11 December 2020, the Government announced a further round of Culture Recovery Fund investment as part of its £1.57 billion support package for the arts, culture and heritage sector in the UK. £300 million in grants (applications for the grants closed on 26 January) and £100 million in repayable finance (applications closed on 7 January) will be made available to support organisations’ transition back to usual operating mode from April 2021. Further details are available through Art Council England.

Innovate UK Loans - Applications closed on 13 January 2021.

Innovate UK is providing up to £210 million in loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and third sector organisations that have a challenge in continuing innovation activity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These range between £250,000 and £1,600,000 and are open for:

  • applicants continuing existing projects with an Innovate UK award
  • applicants with a new project that follows on from a project with an Innovate UK award (completed in the past 36 months)
  • applicants continuing, completing or following on from innovation activity that has not been supported by an Innovate UK award in the past 36 months

For further information on eligibility criteria and how to apply for an Innovate UK loan, please see the government website. 

Thriving Communities Fund - Applications closed at 12 pm (midday), 8 January 2021.

The Thriving Communities Fund, totalling £1.4 million is being delivered by Arts Council England and provides grants ranging from £25,000 to £50,000. It aims to support local voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise organisations working on projects that bring together place-based partnerships to improve and increase the range and reach of available social prescribing community activities – especially for those people most impacted by COVID-19 and health inequalities.

Small Business Grants Fund & Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund - Both Funds are now closed.
Under the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) all eligible businesses in England in receipt of either Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system will be eligible for a payment of £10,000.

Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) eligible businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for a cash grants of £10,000 or £25,000 per property.

Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to and including £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000.

Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

Businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme. Businesses which are not ratepayers in the business rates system are not included in this scheme.

Full details of both schemes can be found here.

The scheme is being administered by the Local Authorities and payments have been reaching businesses since the beginning of April. Many Local Authorities have launched on-line forms to enable businesses to upload information needed in order to process the payments, so we recommend that you view your business’ Local Authority website to understand its claim process. You can find contact details for Greater Manchester Local Authorities and the North West here. 


Innovate UK Grants & Loans

Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme would provide £750 million of targeted support for the most R&D intensive small and medium size firms.  £200 million of grant and loan payments were for its 2,500 existing Innovate UK customers on an opt-in basis. An extra £550 million were also made available to increase support for existing customers and £175,000 of support were offered to around 1,200 firms not currently in receipt of Innovate UK funding. The first payments were made by mid-May. You can find more information here

On 27 June, HMG unveiled a £200 million package to help innovative businesses bounce back. The Sustainable Innovation Fund will be open to companies across the UK to help companies recovering from the impact of Coronavirus, to keep cutting-edge projects and ideas alive. This funding, delivered through Innovate UK, forms part of a wider £750 million package of grants and loans announced in April to support innovative firms. 

Businesses could apply for grant support by visiting the Innovate UK website, Round 1 of the competition which opened on June 29 and had a closing deadline on July 29. Each organisation working alone or in a collaboration could claim a maximum of £175,000.

Within the Sustainable Innovation Fund there is also up to £10 million available for ‘SBRI phase 1’, which is meant to help UK businesses and the public sector recover from COVID-19. It is expected that projects in this phase to range in size up to total costs of £60,000, including VAT. The competition opens on Monday 29 June and closes August 5. 

The Sustainable Innovation Fund is now closed. 

COVID-19 Emergency Surplus Food Grant - Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the grant have now closed. 

On 3rd April 2020, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced a £3.25m fund to support food redistribution organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The support aims to ensure that people in need and those belonging to vulnerable groups get the necessary food supplies, whilst minimising food waste.

The COVID-19 Emergency Surplus Food Grant scheme will be made available through the Resource Action Fund administered by sustainability not-for profit WRAP and will be delivered in three phases, with the first one commencing on the 3rd April and the other two on Thursday 9 April. Additional details on the new grant scheme can be seen here.

Small Business Recovery Fund - Expression of interest deadline closed

On July 30, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government announced a £20 million fund to help SMEs across England get back on track. Businesses were able to apply for grants between £1,000 to £3,000, with grants of £5,000 available in exceptional circumstances.  The grant had to support the purchase of either professional advice, or the purchase of new technology and equipment to help with business recovery. The deadline for Expressions of Interest for the Small Business Recovery Grant was Wednesday 9th September at 5pm.


Culture Recovery Fund: Grants programme - The fund closed for applications on September 4 2020. 

The Culture Recovery Fund is open to arts and cultural organisations, including charitable and non-profit organisations as well as private organisations and commercial for-profit ventures. Local Authorities, Universities and other Public Sector bodies who run or maintain cultural services can also apply. You can find more information on eligibility and how to apply for a grant at Arts Council England. Grants are from £50,000 up to £3 million. 

Transport-Technology Research and Innovation Grants (T-TRIG) - The grant programme closed for applications on October 11 2020. 

Creative transport start-ups with a focus on decarbonisation or COVID-19 recovery can bid for the Department for Transport's Transport-Technology Research and Innovation Grants (T-TRIG). The grants programme will be delivered by The Connected Places Catapult and SMEs can apply for 100% funding for a project within scope.



This page is intended to be a summary of the financial support package provided to businesses and the self-employed during the COVID-19 difficulties. It will be updated as soon as practically possible after new information is made available by Central Government and its partners, but we cannot be held responsible for errors and omissions that may occur.