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Coronavirus - Support for businesses icon

Coronavirus: business support

Visit the government website for guidance for employees, employers, and businesses about working safely during coronavirus, and the latest business support information. Guidance - including face coverings, early closing times for some businesses, and complying with Test and Trace - has changed; make sure you know what your new responsibilities are.

Middlesbrough is classed as a High alert level area under the government's new three-tier system. You may need to make changes to your business. You can always find the latest information for businesses on the government website. We've also put together a list of FAQs to answer your questions.

Following the government's announcement about support for businesses in Tier 2 (High) areas, we're working through the guidance and looking at what it means for Middlesbrough. We've published draft information about the scheme in the 'Government support' section below, but the final scheme is still subject to agreement and is not in operation yet.

Cafes, restaurants, and bars can now apply for a temporary Pavement Licence, allowing them to extend their seating areas onto the pavement outside their business. Find out more and apply for a Pavement Licence.

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 temperature checks available in 17 different languages.

If reading English is hard for you, call 111. The 111 phone service can get an interpreter to help you.

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

Middlesbrough Council supports your business

Middlesbrough Council supports your business

Financial help for small businesses to be COVID-secure

We're offering financial support to Middlesbrough-based small businesses, including self-employed mobile businesses and taxi drivers. The money is for protective equipment and other items to help the business to be COVID-secure.

There are two different ways to apply for support, depending on whether you're a small business, or a taxi driver. Please make sure you read the right information and apply in the right way.

Taxis (Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles licensed with Middlesbrough Council)

We will pay for internal screens, fitting, and face coverings. Taxi drivers will be provided with face coverings, and signposted to choose one of the four approved local businesses which can install and fit the screens. You will be asked to sign an indemnity form and leave this with your chosen screen-fitting business.

You will not be given any money directly. We will pay the company who supply / fit the screen.


Taxis and private hire vehicles licensed with Middlesbrough Council will be prioritised for support.

If funding allows, the scheme may be extended to other private hire taxis operating in Middlesbrough. If so, this will be announced at a later date.


Our Licensing department will contact taxi drivers directly.

If you have any questions, please contact our Licensing department by calling 01642 728010 or via email to

Please note, taxi screens and fitting will be available from Monday 28 September 2020.

Small businesses

The funding is to help small businesses in Middlesbrough to stay COVID-secure to protect their staff and their customers. You can buy protective equipment and apply to be reimbursed for those items.

Who is the funding for?

The grant is for small businesses with up to and including 9 employees, which:

  • trade from premises in Middlesbrough
  • are a business/self-employed person without business premises, and live in Middlesbrough

All business sectors are eligible to apply.

This grant is not intended for those businesses which have a head office.

What can I get funding for?

You can be reimbursed for items that you have bought to keep your staff and customers safe. These include COVID-19 protective measures like hand sanitiser, face coverings, screens, chair covers, etc. You should buy these items, then apply to us to be reimbursed for them.

How much can I apply for?

You can apply for up to £100.

You can only make one claim, but your claim can be made up of several receipts, as long as they do not add up to more than £100. You must upload your receipts when you make your claim. We will not pay your claim if we have not seen your receipts.

Your purchases must be items which will provide COVID-19 protection, and must be purchased on or after Wednesday 23 September 2020.

This is only available for small businesses. If you are a taxi driver, please read the 'Taxis (Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles licensed with Middlesbrough Council)' section above.

Where can I apply?

Apply now for the small business COVID-secure grant.

Applications will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications will be open from Wednesday 23 September 2020 until Wednesday 4 November 2020.

Do not use this form if you are a taxi driver looking for support. You can only claim support as explained in the 'Taxis (Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles licensed with Middlesbrough Council)' section above.

How will I get the funding?

A text message will be sent to the mobile phone number given on your application form. So please make sure the number you provide us is correct. To get your cash payment, present your device (with the text message) at a local venue offering PayPoint, and they will provide you with the amount quoted on your text message. You'll need to claim your payment within 3 working days of getting your text message.

Find your nearest PayPoint.


For more information, please email


I have already had other COVID-19 funding support. Am I eligible?

Yes. Even if you've had other emergency COVID-19 funding, you're still eligible to apply for this funding.

How quickly will I know the outcome of my application?

We'll let you know within 7 days of your application. Our decision on the grant is final.

Do I need to include VAT in my grant?

If your organisation is not VAT registered and therefore cannot claim the VAT from HRMC, you can include VAT in the grant claim. For example:

  • business not registered for VAT: can submit up to £100-worth of valid receipts – and you will be reimbursed by £100

If you are VAT registered then you must claim the net amount and claim the VAT back in the usual way. For example:

  • business registered for VAT: can submit £100-worth of receipts, you will receive a grant payment of £80 and you can claim £20 VAT back from HMRC in the usual way
How is the COVID-19 small business grant funded?

We are using our Test and Trace funding from the government.

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.

Support from Middlesbrough Community Learning

During this time of uncertainty and opportunity, Middlesbrough Community Learning is reaching out to local businesses throughout the Tees Valley to offer advice and support.

You can get in touch for information and advice on how they can help you to identify funding and training available for your staff. They can offer tailored resources with access to online training in many areas, and also signposting to partner organisations for additional support.

Their current offer includes:

  • apprenticeships for new and current staff (including furloughed)
  • Functional Skills in Maths, English, and ICT
  • everyday computing, including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Google Docs
  • ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) and Ways to Work
  • a suite of free online courses, including stress management, first aid, risk assessments, mental health awareness, safeguarding, health and safety, and more
  • Community Learning, for family learning and support into work

Call Diane O'Connell on 07971 351854 to find out more about how Middlesbrough Community Learning can help you move forward.

Middlesbrough Community Learning also offers support for unemployed residents of all ages via the Routes to Work and Youth Employment Initiative programmes.

Volunteering schemes continue to support the work of Middlesbrough Council and its partners, offering valuable work experience while allowing residents to provide the support that makes us stronger together.

Government support available

Government support available

Following the government's announcement about support for businesses in Tier 2 (High) areas, we're working through the guidance and looking at what it means for Middlesbrough. We've published draft information about the scheme below, but the final scheme is still subject to agreement and is not in operation yet.

The government’s business support website has all the information you need if you're a business owner or a self-employed person. This includes any financial support available, guidance on how to reopen and run your business safely, and how to comply with NHS Track and Trace.

Support for businesses in tier two/High areas

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced new measures to support businesses in lockdown tiers. Middlesbrough is currently in tier two/High.

The guidance and eligibility to get business support will be given soon, and we'll give more information as the details of the support become clear.

Please do not try and get in touch with us yet – we're working quickly to get the support out to where it's urgently needed, and we'll make announcements when we have the information. The latest information is always available on this page, and on our social media.

Below is an early interpretation of the business support programme which has been announced. The information below is only illustrative and is still subject to formal confirmation. We'll be publishing the finalised guidance in due course, and the information will be available on this page.

Business support programme headlines

We expect support to be directed to those businesses which are most impacted by the lockdown tier restrictions. Specifically, this is likely to include hospitality, food and drink, hotels, and the leisure sector.

Business grants - delivered by local councils

  • The level of grant support is likely to depend on both (a) the business' rateable value and (b) the lockdown restriction tier (two/High or three/Very high) the area is in. A maximum monthly grant for fixed costs and overheads is likely to be up to approximately £2,100 for tier two (High) areas, and around £3,000 for tier 3 (Very high) areas.
  • Grants will be backdated to either August 2020, or the earliest date an area entered into an enhanced restriction tier (two/High or three/Very high), whichever of these is later. For Middlesbrough, this means backdating to 3 October 2020 (to be confirmed).
  • Grant payments will be subject to State Aid Rules and Allowances.
  • We expect that business grant support will be delivered locally (in other words, by the billing authority, which is Middlesbrough Council) and, after an application / validation process, arrangements will be made for automatic payments to be made (likely fortnightly) to reflect each full month in a tier two/High or tier three/Very high lockdown.

Job Support Scheme (JSS) - delivered by HMRC

  • Support for worker's salaries will be available for staff in the hospitality, food and drink, hotel, and leisure industries.
  • We expect that this support will apply to any lockdown tier, but the exact terms may change between tiers. Details are still to be confirmed.
  • We expect that this will be delivered directly by the government, like the furlough scheme was.
  • Final guidance will confirm whether this support will be backdated, but we assume it will not be.

Tiers one/Medium and two/High (subject to confirmation)

  • An employee must work a minimum of 20% of their usual hours
  • Employers will pay an additional 5% (approximately)
  • The government will pay approximately 50%
  • The employee will retain at least 73% of their usual pay (subject to a maximum amount)

Tier three/Very high (for businesses with mandatory closures - subject to confirmation)

  • Employers are not obliged to contribute
  • The government will pay approximately 67%
  • The employee will retain at least 67% of their usual pay (subject to a maximum amount).

We will work quickly to clarify the guidance and set up a system which provides urgent support to eligible businesses, so please do not try to contact us about business support yet. Once our scheme is in place, information will be available on this page and on our social media.

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. It has been updated to reflect industry feedback, as well as guidance on Test & Trace, safer travel, and managing security risks.

These 14 guides cover a range of different types of work:

  • Close contact services
  • Construction and other outdoor work
  • Factories, plants and warehouses
  • Heritage locations
  • Hotels and other guest accommodation
  • Labs and research facilities
  • Offices and contact centres
  • Other people's homes
  • Performing arts
  • Providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities
  • Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services
  • Shops and branches
  • Vehicles
  • The visitor economy

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.

Frequently asked questions


Can I get business support by phone?

Help for businesses is available from the Tees Valley Business Support Line. 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

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

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