Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.


All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access the scheme

You will need to:

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’ and notify your employees of this change.
  • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal. HMRC will set out further details on the information required and we will share the latest information as soon as we have it.

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

The Government will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you are self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.


For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.


All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access the scheme

This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020 to 2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Income Tax

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021.


If you are self-employed you are eligible.

How to access the scheme

This is an automatic offer with no applications required.

No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.

HMRC have also scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all firms and individuals who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities.

Paying sick pay to employees

The Government will bring forward legislation to allow small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme is as follows:

  • The refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  • Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) because of COVID-19
  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
  • The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible


You are eligible for the scheme if:

  • your business is UK based
  • your business is a small or medium-sized and employs fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020

How to access the scheme

A rebate scheme is being developed. Further details will be provided on this website in due course once the legalisation has passed.

Businesses Rate support

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England will pay no business rates for the 2020/21 tax year.

Mid Sussex District Council is looking to rebill for 2020-21 for all affected businesses by the 1st April 2020.


You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:

  • your business is based in England
  • your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments that are wholly or mainly being used:

  • as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
  • for assembly and leisure
  • as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

How to access the scheme

There is no action for you. Mid Sussex District Council will apply the retail discount for all eligible businesses by the 1st April 2020.  

The Government has provided expanded retail discount guidance online and further information can also be found on the Revenues and Benefits section of our website

Business Rate Discounts for Nurseries

As an extraordinary response to the coronavirus, the Government announced a business rates Nursery Discount on 18 March 2020.

This discount will apply to buildings occupied by providers on Ofsted’s Early Years Register and wholly or mainly used for the provision of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

There will be no rateable value limit on the relief. Ofsted will ensure that all local authorities can access the Ofsted Early Years Register to help authorities identify eligible properties

There is no action for you.  Mid Sussex District Council will apply the nursery Business Rate discount to eligible businesses by the 1st April 2020.  

Further information about the nursery discount can be found online at 

If you think your nursery qualifies please contact us at

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will support primarily small and medium-sized businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.

The government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs. The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee and the Scheme will support loans of up to £5 million in value.

Businesses can access the first 12 months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments.


You are eligible for the scheme if:

  • your business is UK based, with turnover of no more than £45 million per year
  • your business meets the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria

How to access the scheme

The full rules of the Scheme and the list of accredited lenders is available on the British Business Bank website. All major banks will offer the Scheme once it has launched. There are 40 accredited providers in all.

You should talk to your bank or finance provider (not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible and discuss your business plan with them. This will help your finance provider to act quickly once the Scheme has launched. If you have an existing loan with monthly repayments, you may want to ask for a repayment holiday to help with cash flow.

Corporate Financing

Under the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies.

This will support your company if it has been affected by a short-term funding squeeze and allow you to finance your short-term liabilities.

It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms.


All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access the scheme

We will provide information on how to access the scheme here shortly.

More information is available from the Bank of England.


Time to Pay service

All businesses and self-employed people 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.


You are eligible if your business:

  • pays tax to the UK government
  • has outstanding tax liabilities

How to access the scheme

If you have missed a tax payment or you might miss your next payment due to COVID-19, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559.

If you are worried about a future payment, please call HMRC nearer the time.


Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is enough to make a claim if all other terms and conditions are met.

Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.

Rating Appeals

Where appropriate ratepayers may challenge their Rateable Value using their Check Challenge Appeal system.

If you decide to appeal you need to provide information about how you have been affected by the COVID19 outbreak.

Rating appeals are dealt with by the independent Valuation Office Agency (VOA).  The Council has no input into any appeal.  Please also note legally the Council has to charge business rates based on the rateable value in the property list.

Reasons for making a challenge (grounds)

Grounds for a challenge include:

  • the valuation was wrong when the rating list was created
  • there has been a change to the property or surrounding area that should be shown in the rateable value (for example, long-running roadworks)
  • a change made to the valuation by the VOA is wrong, or has not been made
  • the date of a change made by the VOA is wrong
  • the property should be split into more than one property, or combined with others into a single property
  • a property should be removed from, or added to, the rating list
  • the valuation is wrong due to a legal decision on another property
  • the property details are wrong or incomplete

You cannot usually challenge on the same grounds more than once. If you want to make a challenge in the future based on grounds you have previously used, you can only do so if it has a different effective date.  For example, you can only submit one challenge because of roadworks that started on 1 January 2018 but can submit a new challenge for roadworks starting on a different date.

What to include in your challenge

A challenge must include:

  • the name, address and contact details of the person submitting the challenge
  • the specific reasons for making the challenge (known as grounds). The challenge will then always be limited to these grounds
  • the revised rateable value being proposed, if challenging the rateable value
  • supporting evidence
  • a supporting statement
  • the date (on or after 1 April 2017) that the proposed amendment should take effect
  • which properties are affected
  • rent details for the property, if it is rented (unless the challenge is to remove the property from the rating list or against the property details)
Supporting evidence

You must send documents, including a supporting statement, to provide evidence of the changes you’re asking the VOA to make. If you don’t, the VOA will contact you to tell you your challenge is incomplete. If it’s not corrected within the time limit set out in the notification, it will be regarded as invalid and will not result in a decision. If this happens, you’ll need to make another challenge to the same valuation and possibly another check.

Supporting documents you may wish to submit include:

  • valuations of similar local properties
  • legal decisions
  • any other documents that support your challenge, such as photographs of the land or property and local environment

Remember that unlike a check, a challenge is against the valuation of a property. Your evidence must explain why you think your valuation is wrong and fully support your requested changes.

You must be sure to submit all your evidence together as you will only be able to submit further evidence later in exceptional circumstances (for example, if the evidence did not exist until part-way through a challenge).

Supporting statement

You will need to make sure that your supporting statement clearly shows why you are making a challenge, and that your reasons fall under one of the grounds. You will also need to explain how your evidence supports your challenge and why your proposed rateable value is correct.

It is a good idea to use your supporting statement to make sure you have included everything in your challenge that you need to make it valid.

Please contact us

If you are affected by Covid-19 and have further questions or you are having difficulty paying your business rates, please contact us via email at  We will try and get back to you as soon as possible.

You can also find additional business rates information at

Last updated: 27 October 2020