COVID-19 Support for the Self Employed

March 27, 2020 8:45 am | Published by | Leave your thoughts

Support for the Self Employed and Small Businesses


It’s an unprecedented time for freelancers and business owners. The situation is fast-moving the Government are introducing additional support daily. Organisations such as IPSE are lobbying on your behalf.  Groups and communities are coming together to offer COVID-19 support for the self employed.  I know it’s easier said than done, but have faith and seek out the available support and guidance. 

When I set out on this journey I simply wanted to help those who work for themselves and it’s still what motivates me today. Not once did I imagine, I’d be collating a list of support available to help business owners navigate through such an uncertain and challenging time.

I’ve been heartened and inspired by the way the community is coming together through such personal adversity to support each other.

I hope you find this post useful. Please get in touch if you’d like to contribute, or spot a broken link/out of date information. Things are changing pretty rapidly.




Government COVID-19: Support for Self Employed

A direct cash grant of 80% of profits, up to £2,500 per month, further information and details of the scheme will be shared shortly by HMRC. HMRC will use the average trading profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to determine the size of the grant.

Those who are eligible for the self-employment support scheme will be contacted by HMRC directly.

Before grant payments are made, the self-employed will still be able to access other available government support for those affected by coronavirus including more generous universal credit and business continuity loans where they have a business bank account.


Martin Lewis has some great advice and answered some questions you may have here


Government COVID-19: Support for Businesses

Check the Government Website for the most up-to-date information.

Job Retention Scheme

Support for businesses through the 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.

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

There is no action for you. This will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020.

£25,000 grant will be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

Operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.

A one-off grant of £10,000

Available to businesses currently eligible for small business rate relief or rural rate relief. If your business is eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, you will be contacted by your local authority. You do not need to apply

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

6-month interest-free loan.

Bounce Back Loan for Small and Micro Businesses

The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

Time to Pay Tax

Time to pay outstanding tax. 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.


Reclaim Sick Pay

Reclaim up to two weeks of Statutory Sick Pay. Paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. It’s still being developed.

Hardship Fund

If you think you may need financial support from your Local Authority, you may be entitled to support from the £500 million Hardship Fund. You can find out more by contacting your Local Authority.

Business Support Helpline 

If you’re not sure what support you can access, call the Business Support Helpline. You can see from their statement below, they are busy, so you may need to bear with them.

Business Support Helpline (England)
Telephone: 0300 456 3565
Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

You can sign up for email updates.

From their Facebook Page:

We are continually working with the government and will be posting any updates and new information as soon as we get it, as we know how vital support is for any small businesses and self-employed people during this difficult time. We want to reassure you that our advisers are working to get all of your queries answered and we also want to thank you for your patience so far and for bearing with us as we deal with the volume of calls.

Micro Grants

This grant fund is targeted at small, micro and one-person businesses that are not eligible for the grants and rate relief packages offered by the government.
Apply through your local authority, first come, first served. 


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 sufficient to make a claim as long as 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.

Unpaid Invoices 

For advice on unpaid invoices and cash flow contact the Small Business Commissioner.

Facebook’s COVID-19 Small Business Grants 

Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate. They’ll share more details as they become available.  Facebook has also created a COVID-19 Business Resource Hub.

Arts Council COVID-19 Emergency Funding Package

The Arts Council will offer individuals and organisations working in the cultural sector new financial support during this crisis, totalling £160 million. 



If you’re not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay because you’re self-employed or earn, the government is making it easier to claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Employment Support Allowance 

You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you’re under state pension age and you have a health condition that affects how much you can work.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income or out of work.

Entitled To

An online benefits calculator who help people determine what they can claim from the national and local government via their self-serve calculators. I saw was recommended by Martin Lewis.  They also have a specific COVID-19 help page.

Martin Lewis – Money Saving Expert: COVID-19 Financial Help and Rights

This comprehensive advice covers. sick pay, mortgages, loans, overdrafts, rental help, energy top-ups, benefits, cancelled events, refunds and more.


Business Support

IPSE’s Advice and Action 

The Association of independent professionals and the self-employed (IPSE) are lobbying in the behalf of the self-employed. More details of their action and advice can be found on the IPSE Website.

Advice from the Federation of Small Businesses

The FSB offers a wealth of advice and guidance including speaking to your bank, speaking to customers about payments, speaking to your local authority about grants and hardship funds. Talk to landlords and mortgage providers about payment holidays.

Enterprise Nation COVID-19 Support

This page is to keep you updated of government moves, support schemes for small business, and pro-active advice on how to keep trading through the epidemic. You can also pose your questions and they will aim to get them answered in 24 hours.


Community Support

A Freelancer’s Guide To Surviving The Apocalypse

A Facebook Group dedicated to bringing freelancers together and showing you how to thrive in the most challenging times.

Anti Viral Work for Freelancers and Small Businesses 

With over 14,000 members, across sectors and locations. Members are coming together as a community to share their current challenges and to share advice, support and resources. It is clear that we are not alone – unfortunately, the growing crisis of COVID-19 is causing individuals and businesses to lose huge amounts of work and feel the biggest threat to their businesses and livelihoods in a generation.

Employment and Skills Exchange York & North Yorkshire

The Employment & Skills Exchange Facebook Group, created by the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub is open to everyone to do their bit to help keep businesses going, by sharing job opportunities.


Sign IPSE’s petition to the Government to create a Temporary Income Protection Fund to support freelancers through the Coronavirus crisis.


Local Support


Connected York 

We’re here to help. York businesses – If you’re open for business, offer delivery/collection, essential items and services – use our app for free and with no obligation. We’re in this together, so let’s support each other.

York Press

Free adverts will be available to small independent and Family-run businesses in the York Press. For details click here.

York Council Support and Advice

This business support update bulletin includes:

  • new government advice
  • information for the self-employed and businesses with immediate cashflow difficulties
  • details of new lobbying efforts by the council and partners on behalf of the self-employed
  • information about support from the local media

Advertise your Business for Free with YorkMix

If you have an offer, product, home delivery or other services, and run a business in the York area, you can advertise it for FREE on YorkMix.

York’s Virtual High Street

Organised by volunteers York’s Virtual High Street is a new website where you can buy from local retailers.


Support Your Local Leeds

A collection of amazing independent cafes, restaurants and local businesses right here in our community. Help support them by grabbing a gift card for their amazing services. Your kindness keeps them in business plus you have a treat to look forward to. Win-win.



Sheffield Digital have collated a list of offers of support from Sheffield based companies. Which includes, free consultancy. hosting, at cost development, a week’s free social media management 



Free Resources

Free Domain

Get a .com free for 5 years with Mailchimp

Free Adobe Creative Cloud

A hack to get two months free Adobe Creative Cloud, which I have been assured works.

Free Health Insurance Plans

If you are a business with 2-20 employees equipsme are currently offering our health insurance plans for free until 1st August, with not a penny to pay if you cancel. Terms and conditions apply.

3 Months Free Enterprise Nation Membership

Enterprise Nation helps people create great businesses through inspirational content, events, community & campaigning.

Use the code COVID19ENFREE  at checkout. Saving £30.

Free Startup Course

#Startup with Piers Linney

The step-by-step, practical guidance and support that you need to start and grow your business from former Dragons’ Den investor, Piers Linney. Saving £198. 

Hootsuite Six Month Free Trial

Schedule and promote social media posts. Start your free trial.

Creative Industries Federation Free for 6 Months

The Creative Industries Federation is the membership body which represents, champions and supports the UK’s creative industries.

Free Stuff You Used To Have To Pay For

A nice list of free stuff compiled by York-based Social Vision, a company that champions social businesses. 


For continuous support visit Everyday People’s Directory of Support for Freelancers and Business Owners. 


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