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Coronavirus: Support for businesses

Support for local businesses

teal bullet Business emails

Sign up to get the Economic Development eNewsletters, with information to keep you up to date with new businesses support schemes and sources of information and advice to help your business. 

Friday 22 May 2020: Support to businesses restarting work

Was your business required to close and now you are looking to re-start?  There are new conditions you need to meet and adaptations you may need to make and we can help with advice and information. 

This information from our Environmental Health team, not specific to food businesses although there is a food business specific checklist, may help.

Also see: Government guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.


20 May 2020: The Future Fund government loans

The Future Fund, which will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, is now open to loan applications. The Future Fund was developed by the government and is being delivered by the British Business Bank. 

14 May 2020: The Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund:

On 1st May 2020, the Government announced a further £617m of support for small business with fixed property costs that were not previously covered by the Small Business Scheme, which was payable via Business Rates. The announcement stated that Local Authorities would have a level of discretion in making allocations based upon local needs.

Local Authorities have been awaiting further guidance from Government about the exact scope of these funds, the level of discretion which individual councils can apply and the exact final settlement. This guidance was received on 13/05/2020 and now councils, including NFDC, will need to establish a process for distributing the funds to ensure they meet specific local needs. We anticipate that these funds will be available in early June.  

Businesses which are eligible for the Small Business, Retail, Leisure and Hospitality or Self Employment Income Schemes will not be eligible to claim against the new discretionary fund.

The Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is not yet open for applications. Once the scheme is open for applications, we will let businesses know via our Business Support enews, our website  and social media.

We therefore encourage businesses to sign up to receive New Forest District Council's business enews-letter at This will keep you up to date with new businesses support schemes and sources of information and advice to help your business:  Alternatively we will share information via our Twitter Feed @NFDCBizUpdates

Business rates

We have approved two new policies to support businesses from 1 April 2020. These are the expanded retail discount and nursery discount. Our Business Rates team is applying the new policies and where a business qualifies under the new policies, they will be sent a revised bill. There is no need for businesses to contact us about this.

To date (11 May 2020) we have paid out £38 million in Business Support Grants to 3,147 businesses in the New Forest - but more than 400 eligible businesses in the district have yet to make their claim for the free funding.  We urge all businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of up to £51,000, and those getting Small Business Rate Relief to apply for your Business Support Grant. You can request your Business Rates Support Grant online at: using the Business Rates Support Grant eform.

New Forest Rural Resilience Fund

Small and medium sized businesses in the New Forest are now able to benefit from a new £25,000 grant fund. The fund has been developed by Solent Local Enterprise Partnership working in collaboration with New Forest District Council.

Grants of up to £2500 will be provided to rural businesses which are looking to develop alternative ways of working during the coronavirus pandemic. The grants must be matched with private funds (50 percent of total costs) and the funding will be provided in advance with full evidence of expenditure to be provided within three months.

Click here for further details

Businesses operating as a takeaway

Regulations have been relaxed to allow public houses and restaurants to temporarily operate as food takeaways. Whilst pubs and restaurants don't need to apply for planning permission to do this, they must notify the Local Planning Authority in writing. Support for food businesses considering offering take-away services is available from our Environmental Health team on 023 8028 5230 or

Advice and webinars

We are working with our partners to deliver a range of business support initiatives beyond the financial support available. This includes free advice, support and community webinars. Details of this support can be found at  

In response to Covid-19, New Forest Business Partnership will be running a weekly Business Support Hour. The first half hour or each session will focus on as specific topic from a local business expert before opening the conversation so that all those attending can share ideas, information and best practice. All sessions will take place virtually via Zoom and are free to attend.

For details of upcoming sessions and to book in advance, please visit up to date at

4 May 2020: From today, HM Revenue and Customs will start contacting customers who may be eligible for the government's Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. The call will explain the application process and help customers get ready to make a claim when the service opens on 13 May. Further information can be found on the government website:

28 April 2020: A new Government Bounce Back Loan for small businesses affected by coronavirus is available from 4 May 2020, offering loans of between £2k-£50k with no repayments, fees or interest for the first 12 months. More information at:

21 April 2020: Government have launched a new online tool to help your business find Coronavirus related financial support. The tool includes details of cash grants, loans and tax relief.

1 April 2020: Licensed home boarding establishments for pets are able to continue to operate during the Coronavirus outbreak, providing they maintain all social distancing guidelines. Please see for our full advice for the operators of licensed home pet boarding businesses.

31 March 2020: Earlier this month, the Government relaxed planning regulations to allow public houses and restaurants to temporarily operate as food takeaways. Whilst pubs and restaurants don't need to apply for planning permission to do this, they must notify their Local Planning Authority in writing. Find out more:

26 March 2020: Government have now produced some simplified guidance in the form of FAQs on the requirement for Businesses to Close See this information at

21 March 2020: Following The Chancellor's announcement yesterday evening, the 'Support for Business' Government webpage has now been updated to include details of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme including information on eligibility and how to apply. Please see this link for further details. 


See govt website COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses

Updated: 22 May 2020
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