Last updated 26 May

We understand that the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the measures to increase social distancing are difficult for businesses.

We are putting measures in place to ease some of the financial strain on businesses.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) grant phishing email

If you receive an email asking you to resubmit your application, you should discard it immediately. Scammers are trying to get the details of those who are eligible for a business grant.

We will not ask you to resubmit your application for a business grant.

You can report a fraudulent email to NAFN by emailing

Grants, loans and discounts

On 13 May, the government introduced a top-up to the local grants fund scheme. This discretionary grant is a further measure to support small businesses who may be experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus restrictions.

Find out more and how to apply below.

Local authority discretionary grant fund

We're prioritising this fund for the following types of business:

  • small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces, which do not have their own business rates assessment

  • regular market traders with fixed building costs, who do not have their own business rate assessment

  • bed and breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates

  • charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief, and which would otherwise have been eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief

You can still apply if your business is not listed above and you meet the criteria listed below.

Who is eligible

To apply for the discretionary grant, your business must meet the following criteria:

  • be based in Medway

  • have ongoing fixed building related costs

  • have suffered a significant income loss due to coronavirus. This will be a fall of more than 20% from March to May 2020 compared with the same period in 2019, or with any other comparator period you can justify using

  • have fewer than 50 employees

  • have been trading on 11 March 2020

  • not be in administration or insolvent where a striking-off notice has been made

  • occupy a property, or part of a property, with a rateable value, or annual rent or mortgage payments, below £51,000

  • not have received (including this grant) more than €200,000 in total of de minimis aid within the current financial year, or the 2 previous financial years


On 22 May, the government revised the guidance for the grant scheme to allow self-employed individuals to apply. We will be announcing a second call for applications targeted specifically at this group soon.

Check our coronavirus (COVID-19) services page for updates.

If you qualify for other support schemes you may not be eligible

Your business will not be eligible for a discretionary grant if you have received funding, or are eligible to receive funding, from any central government coronavirus support scheme, including, but not limited to:

  • Small Business Grant Fund

  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

  • Fisheries Response Fund

  • Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme

  • The Zoos Support Fund

  • The Dairy Hardship Fund

If your business has applied for the coronavirus job retention scheme (furlough) you can apply for a discretionary grant.

Use the GOV.UK business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business.

Application closing date

Applications close at midday on 5 June 2020.

Apply for a local authority discretionary grant

You’ll need to provide:

  • details about your business, for example turnover information, registration numbers and employee details

  • contact details

  • bank account details

Any business which we believe to have falsified records to gain grant money will face prosecution. This can lead to imprisonment, a fine, or both.

For security reasons, if you leave this form for more than 30 minutes, your information will be cleared and you'll have to start again.

After you apply

If your application is successful, we aim to make grant payments from late June onwards.

More support for businesses

Find out about:

Businesses can apply for one of the following:

  • small business grant of £10,000
  • grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

Grants for small businesses

Businesses who get small business rate relief or rural rate relief may be eligible for one grant of £10,000.

Eligibility for small businesses

We’re currently identifying eligible ratepayers. We’ll be contacting them in the next few days.

You may be eligible if your business:

  • is based in England (your business must be based in Medway to apply using our form)
  • gets small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • occupies a property

You may not be eligible for a small business grant if:

  • your business does not get small business rate relief, rural rate relief or retail discount
  • you’re not the ratepayer
  • your rateable value is £51,000 or over
  • your property was not on the business rates list on 11 March 2020
  • your business was not trading on 11 March 2020

Further guidance is on GOV.UK.

Grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

Retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of:

  • up to £15,000 may get a cash grant of £10,000
  • between £15,001 and less than £51,000 may get a cash grant of £25,000

Eligibility for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

We're currently identifying eligible ratepayers. We'll be contacting them in the next few days.

You may be eligible if your business:

  • is based in England
  • is based in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sectors, for example:
    • shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs, cinemas and live music venues
    • gyms and sports centres
    • hotels, guest and boarding houses and self-catering accommodation
  • has a rateable value of under £51,000 and you pay business rates
  • occupies a property

Further guidance is on GOV.UK.

Apply for a business grant

You can speed up the process by completing our online form.

To apply online, you must:

  • confirm occupation of the business premises on 11 March 2020. If the property has since been temporarily closed in line with the government response to coronavirus then this is still classed as occupation
  • tell us your name and contact details
  • give us your bank details so we can transfer funds if you’re eligible
  • give us details about your business, for example:
    • Company Registration number (if registered with Companies House)
    • Business Rates account number (you'll find this on your bill)
    • VAT registration number (if registered for VAT)

This form does not currently work in Internet Explorer. Please use Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome or a mobile browser. We're working on getting this fixed.

After you apply

We’ll check your eligibility for the grant.

We aim to pay the grant within 10 working days if your application is successful.

The team is still working to process business grants and check eligibility. If you know of any businesses waiting to hear from us please ask them to bear with us as we've received nearly 3,000 applications.

We'll be emailing businesses soon, to either:

  • confirm that the grant payment has been made
  • request further information, or
  • inform them that their application has been refused and giving the reason for refusal

More information

Find out about:

You can claim a grant through the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

This scheme will support the self-employed individuals whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19 claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits. This includes members of partnerships.

This would be up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, for the next 3 months. This is with the view to extend if necessary.

Find out more details about the Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is now available through participating lenders.

More about the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

HRMC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers usual monthly wage. This is up to a cap of £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).

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March 2020 and is initially open for 4 months, with the view to extend if necessary.

Find out more and apply Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The government has announced that there will be a business rate 'holiday' for 2020 to 2021. We are waiting for more details but have started to identify ratepayers who may be eligible.

The government has pledged £750 million to ensure VCSEs can continue their vital work supporting the country during the coronavirus outbreak. This includes £200 million for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, along with an additional £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts.

Find out more about financial support for VCSEs on GOV.UK.

Businesses have the option to defer VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 to help businesses manage their cash flow.

If you choose to defer your VAT payment as a result of Coronavirus, you must pay the VAT due on or before 31 March 2021

More about deferring VAT payments

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax 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.

To discuss this contact HMRC's Coronavirus Helpline on 0800 024 1222.

The government has provided guidance on the operation of expanded retail discount for 2020/21: coronavirus response.

As a result, ratepayers who have recently received a new annual bill showing a 50% discount will now receive a revised bill showing a 100% discount.

The 100% discount has been extended to include properties completely or mainly used for leisure, hotels and assembly such as public halls. We’re working hard to ensure notices are issued within 7 to 10 days.

The government has announced in the budget that this discount is to be increased from £1,000 to £5,000.

Our business rate bills have already been issued based on the original levels of relief.

We will send amended bills to those affected once we have more details from the government.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000.

The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there will not be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

Find out more about the Bounce Back Loan Scheme

Coronavirus support is available to employers and the self-employed.

You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants.

Use the GOV.UK business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business.

Non-government support

The Arts Council has announced an Emergency Funding Package of £160million to support the cultural sector.

They have also changed funding requirements for those who currently get their funding.

More about the Art Council's funding

Kent Community Foundation has started an Emergency Coronavirus Fund to support the voluntary and charity sector with grants of up to £10,000.

More about Kent Community Foundation's Emergency Coronavirus Fund

Construction Industry Training Body (CITB) has set up an urgent message board in response to coronavirus.

The board offers guidance for businesses and individuals in the construction industry.

More about the CITB message board

The Kent and Medway Growth Hub has launched a free Covid-19 Business Support Helpline on 03333 602 300.

The dedicated helpline will be available Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm and gives you:

  • someone to tell you about the type of support you can get
  • someone to signpost you to the correct provider of government support measures such as a local authority or HMRC
  • a chance to request a call back from a Business Adviser to talk through the measures you can take and help you get support
  • someone to talk to you and offer reassurance
  • access to a qualified and highly experienced Business Adviser who can offer support and advice
  • access to a live chat service that will be manned by Business Advisers dedicated to providing advice about coronavirus

Get online guidance and advice from the Kent business community

Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £20 million in innovation projects.

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £20 million to respond to new and urgent needs in UK and global communities during and following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Apply for the competition on the Innovation Funding Service

The National Lottery Heritage Emergency Fund has put together a £50million fund for grants of between £3,000 and £50,000.

The grants are available to support the heritage sector.

More about the National Lottery Heritage Emergency Fund

The Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce (KICC) are offering a free 3 day start up web course for Medway residents.

Find out more and join on their website

Advice for businesses

The government has updated its working safely guidance to help businesses get back up and running and workplaces operating as safely as possible.

Guidance for companion animal businesses compiled by members of the National Animal Health and Welfare Panel.

This advice is for businesses such as pet shops and breeders, rescue centres, home boarders, dog groomers and dog walkers.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health published guidance for food delivery and takeaway. You should refer to this document for all matters regarding takeaways and delivery.

Contacting us

If you need to let us know that you are going to operate as a takeaway service, you should inform us by emailing or calling 01634 331 700.

You should let us know:

  • the name of your premises
  • your full address
  • your contact details
  • the date you intend to start offering takeaways

If you need further clarification on Alcohol (Premises) Licenses you can contact the Licensing Team on 01634 337 107 or email Medway Licensing is a shared service with Gravesham Borough Council.

Get coronavirus (COVID-19) related support from Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations for specific sectors.

View the directory on GOV.UK