The Government website for COVID-19 business support contains the latest information on the schemes being mentioned by the Chancellor.  The website includes links to other organisations involved with the schemes including the British Bank, Bank of England and HMRC.

The information in the links below will help direct you to the latest business support and guidance but if you have any further questions please complete our Business Enquiry Diagnostic Form.

Sign language videos to help provide advice and guidance.

Free Advice and Support

Free SME advice available until 31 December 2020, to enable small and medium sized businesses in need of advice and support to connect with business advisers offering to help.

The Professional and Business Services Sector and Enterprise Nation, supported by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, have teamed up to provide this service to help SMEs recover from the impact of Coronavirus. 

Cheshire West and Chester Council's Role in the Pandemic

Through a series of animated infographics the Council has been able to highlight how Council services have played their part during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

We have also worked with some local businesses to capture video case studies, which look at how these businesses have addressed some of challenges they have faced during the ongoing pandemic.

Visit our Case Studies page to view these case studies (Chester Zoo, Indigo and Technoprint) and see case studies from other Cheshire West businesses.  If you would like us to do a case study on your business please email:

Stronger Futures

Share your ideas about how our communities can emerge from the pandemic even stronger than before. 

Check out our News Section for the further updates.



COVID19 - Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Staff) and Job Retention Bonus

Find out if your business is eligible and how much you can claim to cover wages for employees on temporary leave ('furlough') due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Job Retention Bonus Scheme

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, presented his ‘Plan for Jobs’ to Parliament on Wednesday 8 July 2020 outlining how the government will support the UK’s economic recovery while continuing to prioritise people’s health.  As part of this, the government is introducing a new Job Retention Bonus to provide additional support to employers who keep on their furloughed employees in meaningful employment, after the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends on 31 October 2020.

The Job Retention Bonus is a one-off payment to employers of £1,000 for every employee who they previously claimed for under the scheme, and who remains continuously employed through to 31 January 2021. Eligible employees must earn at least £520 a month on average between the 1 November 2020 and 31 January 2021. Employers will be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus after they have filed PAYE for January and payments will be made to employers from February 2021.

Find out if your employees are eligible.




COVID19 - Bounce Back Loans

The new Bounce Back Loans 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 from Monday 4 May, businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.

COVID19 - Support for Rural Community Businesses

A dedicated programme of support has been launched by the Plunkett Foundation to help rural community businesses across the UK as they battle the unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus lockdown.

Thanks to funding from the Co-op, Plunkett will offer a dedicated package of free Covid-19 support for open and trading community businesses, as well as those developing groups that have been affected by the pandemic.

The new scheme will focus on getting one-to-one support to groups that need it the most. This will include free practical support from Plunkett’s national network of specialist community businesses advisers. All forms of community business, including woodlands, farms, bakeries, pubs and shops, will be able to get support, advice and guidance on a range of issues.

COVID19 - Financial Support for Your Business

Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to employers and the self-employed. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants.

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

COVID19 - Self Employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by 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.

COVID19 - Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is open for applications and supports a wide range of business finance products, including term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance facilities and can provide facilities of up to £5m for smaller businesses across the UK who are experiencing lost or deferred revenues, leading to disruptions to their cashflow.
The CBILS website is the best source of up to date information.

COVID19 - HMRC Time to Pay Scheme

Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as soon as possible if you have missed your payment.  How you contact HMRC depends on what you need to pay.


COVID19 - Crime Prevention

 The Metropolitan Police Business Crime Hub has shared general crime prevention tips that may assist your organisation; things to consider to protect premises and staff at this time.

COVID19 - Apprentices, Employers, Training Providers and Assessment Organisations website sets out guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations in response to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Local college updates

Warrington & Vale Royal College

Cheshire College – South & West

Reaseheath College and the Reaseheath Business Hub


COVID19 - Recruiting, Making Staff Redundant or Furloughing Staff?

Furloughing staff

There is information about the Job Retention Scheme on the Government website, which gives details on how employers will be paid to cover 80% of furloughed employee wages.

Are you making staff redundant?

Are you considering making staff redundant as a result of COVID 19?  If so support is available through the Council’s Work Zones.  This page includes a register function where residents can enter their details should they be keen to look for alternative employment.

Are you recruiting staff?

Alternatively, should you be looking to recruit staff, even on a temporary basis, please complete the Work Zone Job Vacancy Post form so that we can circulate and ideally match suitably skilled individuals looking and available for work.

COVID19 - New Style Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit

Universal Credit

The DWP are asking people to apply for Universal Credit online and to only call to book their initial telephone appointment.

Because the lines are busy, local jobcentres will also try to call customers if they see the customer has applied online but hasn't yet got an appointment booked. You should not worry if you can't get through straight away, a DWP member of staff will contact you as soon as they can.
Claims will start the day people submit their application online, this is not reliant on identity being verified online. DWP will never text or email asking for personal information or bank details.

New Style Employment and Support Allowance

People should apply for New Style Employment and Support Allowance by phone, where they are not already claiming Universal Credit.

People who have applied for Universal Credit or are already getting Universal Credit should contact their work coach or case manager about applying for New Style Employment and Support Allowance by signing in to their Universal Credit account.


COVID19 - business or landlord with a building sitting empty? Check out legionella business advice

Are you a business or landlord with a building sitting empty? Check out Cheshire West and Chester Council's legionella business advice pages to protect you and others from any further illness.

COVID19 - Arts Council England Emergency Response Fund

Link to the full guidance on the ACE emergency funding.

The Arts Council Customer Services Team can help you with the online Grantium form or talk about other ways they can help you.

The phones are closed for the time being but you can contact The Customer Services Team online or email:  

Emergency Response Fund: Organisations (outside the National Portfolio) - Guidance for applicants

Emergency Response Fund: Individuals - Guidance for applicants

COVID19 - Financial Support for Sport

Sport England has announced £195 million package to help sport and physical activity through coronavirus.

The money will help their partners, clubs and community organisations cope with the short and long-term impact of the pandemic.

COVID19 - Support from Business Groups

The CBI are hosting daily updates on coronavirus, how it’s impacting the business community, and what your business can do to mitigate the impact.

Blue Orchid business advisers are filming regular updates to help business understand the advice and support that the UK Government is providing to small businesses during COVID19.  The regular updates give a brief overview of what's available and how to access it.  Blue Orchid provide a number of business advice and support programmes in the UK.

The FSB (Federation for Small Business) website offers advice and guidance on reducing the risks from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) virus to you and your business; they also host webinars to help businesses learn more about the support available.

COVID19 - Cheshire and Warrington Growth Hub

The Cheshire & Warrington Growth Hub are capturing the latest support information on their website and are offering telephone and video conference meetings if you would still like to access support.

COVID19 - Health and Wellbeing

Coronavirus and your wellbeing

Visit our Health & Wellbeing page for helpful information and links to support.

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