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Coronavirus - Support for businesses icon

Coronavirus: business support

Our businesses are vitally important to our town. The government and Middlesbrough Council are working together to support businesses through this challenging time. To help you overcome this situation we have a range of practical information below.

The latest information about which businesses must stay closed, and which can open, is available on the government website.

Visit the government website for all guidance for employees, employers, and businesses about coronavirus.

Do you need this page in another language?

Click here to get this page (information for businesses) translated.

Use the grey 'ReciteMe' toolbar at the top of the page to change the language. Click the button with 6 flags on (the 11th button) and choose the language you need.

Please do not click on the photographs at the top of the page. They will take you away from the page. Scroll down the page to find the information you need.

We also have advice about health and staying at home available in 17 different languages.

The charity SignHealth has coronavirus information and advice in British Sign Language (BSL).

Middlesbrough Council supports your business

We've now paid out over £22m to more than 1850 businesses. If you've made a claim and not received payment of your grant into your bank account, it's very likely that we have a question or problem with your application. Please call us as soon as possible on 01642 726006. Our staff are waiting to hear from you. Your call is vital for us to validate your claim and get the payment to you as soon as possible.

We've also written to around 400 businesses which we believe, from information we hold, may be entitled to a grant payment. If you get a letter from us, please read the information in the 'Business grants' section below, and complete the form which is best suited to your business. We must have a completed form before we can make a payment.

Discretionary Business Grant

To support businesses further the government outlined on 1 May a discretionary grants fund.

If you think you may be eligible, it is very important that you read the following information.

We are now inviting eligible businesses to express an interest in the discretionary grant funding by completing the Discretionary Business Grant online form.

The discretionary fund is limited to £1.1 million. Claims will only be paid once the accurate completion of the form including supporting evidence is made. Payment of the discretionary grant will be done on a first come first served basis.

Businesses which can apply

If you are within the following priority list:

  • businesses in shared business centre/units
  • regular market traders with fixed building costs
  • B&Bs which pay Council Tax rather than business rates
  • small charities that meet the criteria for Small Business Rate Relief

Eligibility criteria

Your business:

  • employs less than 50 staff.
  • can demonstrate a significant drop in income brought about by COVID-19
  • has high ongoing fixed costs, e.g. rent
  • was trading on or before, 11 March 2020 – businesses trading after this date will not be eligible – even if the rest of the criteria can be met.
  • was not eligible for the current schemes (Small Business Grants Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants Scheme)
  • is in occupation of a property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000

Ineligible businesses

This scheme does not extend to the following businesses:

  • Businesses operating from a home address
  • Businesses that are eligible for cash grants from any central government COVID-19-related schemes such as:
    • Small Business Grant Fund
    • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant
    • The Fisheries Response Fund
    • Domestic Seafood Supply Scheme (DSSS)
    • The Zoos Support Fund
    • The Dairy Hardship Fund

Ensure you have all the information requested

All questions on the claim form must be completed and answered. Supporting evidence will be required to be submitted with the claim as directed. Any claims that are incorrectly completed or do not have the relevant information attached will be rejected. You’ll be advised at that point to reclaim.

When can I apply?

If you meet the above criteria, you are invited to submit a claim during the period 28 May 2020 and 18 June 2020. Please note, due to the limited funds, there is no guarantee that every claim will receive funding.

How can I apply?

You can use the Discretionary Business Grant online form to apply.

What happens after I’ve applied?

Once you have submitted your claim, we will assess it against the fund criteria and notify you or your entitlement via payment in the bank.

Payments will not be made before 3 June 2020. If you are entitled to the discretionary grant payment it will be in your bank account no later than 30 June 2020.

Business grants

Small business grant funding

Any small business in any sector, already getting Small Business Rates Relief, will get a £10,000 grant.

If this applies to your business, we’ll be in touch with you soon, but in the meantime please complete and send us the online form if you think you may be eligible, as we will need to verify your business bank details and validate your application. Complete the £10,000 grant request form online.

Cash grant for retail, hospitality and leisure

If you’re a retail, hospitality or leisure business operating from premises with a Rateable Value between £15,000 and £51,000, you can claim a £25,000 grant.

Please take the time to complete and send the online form if you think you may be eligible, as we will need to verify your business bank details and validate your application. Complete the £25,000 grant request form online.

Retail, hospitality, and leisure grant fund

This funding is to help retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with their ongoing business costs in recognition of the disruption caused by coronavirus.

A grant of £10,000 is available to business which have a rateable value up to and including £15,000 and are operating within the retail, leisure, and hospitality industry. Complete the retail, hospitality, and leisure grant fund form online.

Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure

Our retail, hospitality and leisure businesses are vitally important to Middlesbrough and the UK economy. The government has announced these businesses will be supported with a 100% retail rates relief discount for the next 12 months.

If the scheme applies to you, you should get a letter from us. You will also get a revised bill. This means that your business will not need to make any business rates payments during the financial year 2020/2021. Please do not pay anything in the meantime.

Government support available

Middlesbrough businesses have more support from government to help you. Below is a list of other support available which you can find out more about on the government’s business support website:

Self employed

HMRC are contacting people who may be eligible for the government's Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to explain how to apply and what they need to prepare before they make a claim.

SEISS is a temporary scheme for self-employed people or those in a partnership whose business has been affected by coronavirus. Those eligible will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to three months' profits) in a single instalment.

Customers are eligible if their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus, they traded in 2019-20, intend to continue trading, and they:

  • Earn at least half of their income through self-employment;
  • Have trading profits of no more than £50,000 per year; and
  • Traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted their Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year.

The claim service opens on Wednesday 13 May, with payments reaching bank accounts by 25 May, or six working days after the claim is made.

HMRC is using information that customers have provided in their 2018-19 tax return – and returns for 2016-17 and 2017-18 where needed – to determine their eligibility, and contacting customers who may be eligible via email, SMS (text), or letter. They also have an online checker so customers can check their eligibility for themselves, as well as getting a date for when they can apply.

If someone isn't eligible for the scheme, HMRC will help them understand why they are not eligible, and offer advice about other support that might be available to them such as: income tax deferrals, rental support, Universal Credit, access to mortgage holidays, and the various business support schemes the government has introduced to protect businesses.

24/7 support from the Tees Valley Business Support Line

Help for businesses is available from the Tees Valley Business Support Line which was established by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority. The support line operates 24 hours, 7 days a week and can provide specific advice to businesses across the region.

The service can signpost you other organisations and support to give your business relevant advice.

If you own a business, are an employer, or are self-employed, you can get in touch with the Tees Valley Business Support Line on 01642 662 777 or email

Working safely during coronavirus

The government has produced guidance to help employers, employees, and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

These 8 guides cover a range of different types of work:

  • Construction and other outdoor work
  • Factories, plants and warehouses
  • Labs and research facilities
  • Offices and contact centres
  • Other people's homes
  • Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
  • Shops and branches
  • Vehicles

Read the government guidance now. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.


Can my business help?

If your company manufactures ventilators or if you can help in their production contact the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The secondment of skilled workers for this purpose may be helpful. If you can help please call the BEIS Business Support helpline on 0300 456 3565 or email

Do you have space? If you can offer manufacturing and warehouse space, are within the medical supply chain, can support deliveries, or any other sector of strategic importance to the coronavirus response please contact

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is looking for rapid sanitising technology to speed up the time it takes to clean ambulances to help in the national effort against Coronavirus and save lives. Email Tees Valley Combined Authority if you can help

My employee needs to take time off during the COVID-19 outbreak to look after someone, but they are not ill. Should I support this request?

Due to government guidelines on isolation, many people are unable to use their usual childcare or caring arrangements, and in emergencies or unexpected events like this, they are entitled to time off work to care for others.

There’s no statutory right to pay for this time off, but some employers might offer pay depending on the contract or workplace policy.

Find out more on the ACAS website.

I have employees on zero hours contracts, is there any support for them?

They would be entitled to claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they’re diagnosed with coronavirus or are unable to work because they’re staying at home in line with government advice.

The government will repay SMEs (less than 250 employees) for up to two weeks per employee of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) due to coronavirus. This means employers should keep records of all staff absences and payments of Statutory Sick Pay.

I’m an employer and my staff cannot do their job from home, should I tell them to come to work?

If it’s impossible for employees to work from home and your business is still open for business, then government advice states than they can come to work while abiding by social distancing guidance.

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