Coronavirus: Support for Swale businesses

On this page you can find the latest updates from Swale Borough Council about business support, as well as links to other related guidance.

You can use the links below to easily navigate each section of this page:

  1. Latest Updates
  2. Business Support Schemes

We would also be grateful if you could complete a survey to help inform future support and recovery programmes.  If you are interested in taking part, please complete the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) - Business Support Form.

The latest information from the government can be found on their coronavirus business support page.

Latest update

Friday 27 March 2020

The Business Rates are team are applying the 100% Retail Relief to all eligible accounts today.

We will be writing to all businesses that are eligible for either the Small Business Grant or the Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Business Grant announced to support businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic over the next few days.

If you believe you are eligible but are unable to access your business premises at the current time, please send the following details to

  • your Business Rates Account Number (detailed on your business rates statement);
  • the name and address registered on the account;
  • the email or mailing address you want the letter sent to.

If you have any queries about whether you are eligible for the grant or not, please email us with a telephone number that we can contact you on to discuss the criteria.

Please bear with us at this extremely busy time, we are working to get all the support out to businesses as soon as we possibly can once government make the funding available.

Please note, we will NEVER request confidential information to be provided by phone or email. Please do not include any bank details in your correspondence with us – we will provide you with a secure web link to obtain this information.

Tuesday 24 March 2020

We are grateful to the many businesses that have signed up to receive the e-bulletins.  We now have over 1500 businesses and local organisations on the list - but increasing that number will help speed up the flow of information as we receive it, so please encourage your local business contacts to get in touch by emailing us.

This morning we have received the detailed guidance from Government on the grants that are being made available to support business and we will be writing to eligible companies about how to apply.

All of the grants announced to date are associated with commercial properties that sit within certain business rate categories and we will be able to identify all those that are eligible (please refer to the weblink above for details).  We will write to those businesses, asking them to complete a form, on the Council's website, providing payment and other details required by Government.  We can then arrange payment as swiftly as possible.

We are conscious that many business premises will not now have an on-site, staff presence and will advise when those letters have been sent via this e-bulletin.  We would also ask that you keep an eye on our social media accounts and this page for the latest updates.

The Economic Development E-bulletin section of this website includes an archive of our previous announcements which we have circulated by email.

Business Support Schemes

The latest information from the government can be found on their coronavirus business support page.

Extended business rate discount for coronavirus

The recently announced expanded retail discount for 2020/21, will be applied automatically to eligible rate payers accounts by the local authority.  Broadly these will be hereditaments that are being used for the following purposes:

  • a. as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues,
  • b. for assembly and leisure; or
  • c. as hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation.

The guidance provided to local authorities can be found on the government's website.

We now understand that the Chancellor has also decided nurseries will be eligible for a business rates holiday for one year. That means non-local authority providers of childcare will pay no business rates in 2020-21, from 1 April.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will launch in the week commencing 23 March 2020. This will cover loans and overdrafts up to £1.2 million and there will be no fee payable to the Government. This is borrowing that must be repaid, these are not grants.

To access the Scheme, you will have to talk to your bank or finance provider 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.

The lending decision is taken by each individual provider, not by the Government. To find the full rules of the Scheme and list of accredited lenders, please refer to Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme on the British Business Bank website. All the major banks will offer the Scheme once it has launched. There are 40 accredited providers in all.

HM Revenue & Customs Helpline

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) now has a helpline for any businesses and self-employed people concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19).  Up to 2,000 experienced call handlers are available to support businesses and individuals when needed.

The number is 0800 0159 559 and further information is available on the HMRC website.

Food Safety Guidance

The Mid Kent Environmental Health Service has published guidance for food businesses who are providing takeaway and delivery food during the coronavirus pandemic.

Securing your business premises

Kent Police has issued advice for businesses about securing their premises during the coronavirus pandemic.

Other business support

  • The government's business support helpline is available on 0300 456 3565 between Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm;
  • The Federation of Small Businesses has compiled a large amount of advice on their website for small businesses and the self-employed.
  • Swale's Council website also includes information about the impact on our local services, as well as links to national advice about the current situation and what action may need to be taken.