UK Music Information To Businesses On COVID-19

UK Music has collected information from Government and funding bodies for businesses affected by coronavirus.

Across the UK

Lockdown Updates
Due to the spread of covid-19 all non-essential businesses were ordered to close. These restrictions are now in the process of being lifted. However the implementation of public health measures to control the spread of covid-19 is a devolved matter, therefore while the UK Government makes the rules for England, in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland their own Governments have the power the make and enforce their own rules.

This guidance is continually changing therefore we would advise that you check the website of your relevant Government. All re-opening workplace must be covid-19 secure and have plans in place to prevent the spread of covid-19. The UK Government guidance on this can be found here and the UK Government endorsed music industry guidance can be found here. This applies to England only.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
If you are a business that has been forced to close to the coronavirus pandemic, the Government has launched a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to cover a portion  the wages of your workers who were on pay roll as of 19th March, backdated from 1st March.

This also applies to workers employed as of 28th February who have already been laid off, if they were brought back onto the pay roll. The scheme is now open and you can apply here and can find more details about the scheme here. Claimants for the period before 30th June must be made by 31th July.

The JRS is being tapered, and will only cover 60% of wages from August 1st and employers will be expected to make up the difference. From 1st July “flexible” furloughing has been in operation meaning under some circumstances furloughed employees may return on a part time basis find out more here.

If you are an employee looking for more information about furloughing and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and how it might affect you, please check the Government guidance here.

Business Rate Holiday
If you are a business in Retail, Hospitality or Leisure in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland you will be eligible for a full Business Rate Holiday for 2020/2021. This specifically includes live music venues and if your Local Authority deems you eligible they will contact you in due course. If you believe you are eligible and have not been contacted you should get in touch with your Local Authority. This does not apply to businesses with a rateable value of above £500,000 in Wales.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will provide up to 80% cover for loans of up to £5 million from commercial banks to small businesses, interest on these loans will not be due for 12 months. Apply here. For businesses with a turnover of over £45 million Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme can provide up to £25 million in finance or £50 million for companies with a turnover of over £250 million. This scheme is now open here.

Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility
Debt support for larger firms will be provided through the new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility, through which the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies. This scheme is now open, you can find the eligibility criteria and an application form here.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme
Support for small businesses that might not meet traditional lending guidelines may be available through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, this scheme will provide 100% Government guaranteed loans of up to £50,000 for eligible small, to find out more about how to apply please visit here.

VAT Holiday
The Government has also introduced a holiday on VAT payments, these have been deferred until June.

Statutory Sick Pay Refund
Small and Medium Businesses will be eligible for a refund for Statutory Sick Pay, if you have fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020, this refund will cover 14 days sick pay for any eligible employee affected by COVID-19 from the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolators comes into force, you should keep a record of absences, but you will not have to provide a GP’s sick note for the employees. This scheme is now open and you can find full application details here.

Even if your company is now insolvent the Government can cover Statutory Sick Pay for your employees if they have or are self-isolating due to Coronavirus. The advice is for the employee to call the Statutory Payment Disputes Team Telephone: 03000 560 630, more details can be found here.

Tax Payments
If you are likely to struggle with tax payments due to coronavirus, HMRC is offering help and support for businesses, including payment plans, suspending debt collection and cancelling penalties and interest when administrative issues arise they can be contacted on 0800 0159 559 (8.00 – 20.00 Mon – Fri, 8.00 – 16.00 Sat, closed Bank Holidays). Find out more here.

Small Business Grant Fund
If you are eligible for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief you will be eligible for a one-off grant of £10,000 from the Small Business Grant Fund, or the relevant devolved fund for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is for businesses with a rateable property value of up to £15,000 in England and Northern Ireland, £12,000 in Wales and £18,000 in Scotland.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund
Businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure with a value of above the small business rateable property value (£12,000 Wal. £15,000 Eng. + NI, £18,000 Scot.) and below £51,000 you will be eligible for a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund grant of £25,000 or the same amount from the relevant devolved fund for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The guidance to businesses for both these funds in England has been issued here.

These schemes, as well as the business rate holiday, will be administered by your Local Authority and they in turn  will be reimbursed by either the UK Government or the relevant devolved Government, you will not have to apply.

Future Fund & Innovate UK
If you are a high growth firm, or focused on research or development in an innovative area of the UK economy you may eligible for additional help either through the Future Fund, that will be open from May to September 2020, or Innovate UK. You can find out more information bout the Future Fund eligibility criteria here and the Innovate UK funding here.

For more information about other UK Government supported resources such as webinars and Growth Hubs, please click here.



Lockdown Update
In England if you are an office based company, retailer or a recording studio, you may return to work if the work place is COVID Secure. Rehearsals and recordings are allowed. From 11th July outdoor performances of live music may be performed to audiences of <30. However, social distancing rules will still apply. Furthermore, please be aware that public health guidance states the usual social distancing rule of 2 m is extended to 3 m for anyone a) singing b) playing a wind instruments as these have been deemed “high risk” activities that should only be undertaken in relation to work activity. Updates will be posted on the website here.

Please be aware local “lockdowns” where previous rules closing non-essential businesses are re-applied may be periodically in operation. If you are unsure if one is in operation in your area please check with your Local Authority.

Culture Support Package
On 5th July the Culture Secretary announced a £1.57 billion support package for the culture sector in England to be administered by Arts Council England (here). This includes the Cultural Renewal Fund whose details are below.
This is a last resort fund for previously viable arts organisations in England at risk of failure due to COVID-19. This fund can provide support from £50,000 - £3 million. Funding rounds will run from 10th August to 4th September, with round 1 10th August – 4th September and round 2 21st August – 4th September.

To apply you must;

  • Be a properly constituted organisation, charity or business registered with Companies House or the Charity Commission as appropriate, individuals cannot apply.
  • Be able to produce at least 1 financial year’s worth of independently audited or certified financial statements.
  • Be able to justify why your organisation is of local, national or international importance.

You will not need;

  • To have had public funding before.
  • To be a private organisation, public sector bodies which run cultural events and venues are explicitly eligible.

This fund is administered by Arts Council England and you can find more information and how to apply here. We understand the Governments’ of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be making announcements on if they will be launching similar funds in due course.

London Culture at Risk - Business Support Fund
If you are a creative workspace or grassroot music venue in London you may be eligible for a grant through the Culture at Risk - Business Support Fund or you can get tailored service support with applications or mediating disputes through the Culture at Risk Office you can find out more here.


Lockdown Update
Restrictions are being lifted in Wales at a slower pace than in England. Office based work and on-office based inside work is allowed to resume, however other forms of activity are still to be discouraged and people should work from home if possible. Live performances to audiences are not allowed. The advice from Welsh Government on extremely vulnerable people in the Creative Industries is that they should continue to shield. Updates will be posted on the Welsh Government website here, and please find specific guidance for creative industries in Wales here.

Economic Resilience Fund
The Welsh Government has established an Economic Resilience Fund to provide further support for businesses forced to cease trading due to the pandemic. This includes new loans available from the Development Bank of Wales or cash grants for businesses not covered by the grants already announced, including for micro, medium and large employers. The different streams have different openings depending on your business size, you can find further details here.

Business Grants
For applying for business grants in Wales, please apply through the Business Wales website which you can accessed here.

You can also get additional help, advice and support through the Business Wales, you can find more about the support available for the cultural sector in Wales here, and they can be reached via phone at 030 006 03000.

If you have a loan from the Development Bank of Wales you will not have to make any capital repayments for 3 months.



Lockdown Update
In Scotland non-office based and office based indoor working may resume. Live performances to audiences are not allowed Updates will be posted on the Scottish Government website here and specific industry guidance can be found here. Drive in events are now allowed in Scotland but outdoor music events without drive in remain prohibited.

Business Rate Relief
For more information on how to apply for the Business Rate relief and grant schemes in Scotland, please see the Scottish Government website here.

All properties in Scotland will receive 1.6% in rate relief, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year.

Grant Support
The Scottish Government has announced that a new £2.2 million fund for live music venues will be administered by Creative Scotland (here), more details will follow in due course.

Creative Scotland Open Fund for Organisations
If you are looking at new ways of working or sustaining your business Creative Scotland may be able to help through the Open Fund for Organisations, this is not an emergency support fund but intended to support innovation in the Scottish creative sector through the pandemic.

Scottish businesses should contact the Scottish Government Business helpline on 0300 303 0660. The helpline will be open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm. Find out more here.


Northern Ireland

Lockdown Update
Where social distancing can be maintained outdoor activity is now permitted in Northern Ireland, and cultural events are not subject to the 30 person limit. However COVID Secure guidance must still be adhered to. Those who cannot work from home should return to work.

Northern Ireland has received £33 million for the arts (here), we expect an announcement on how this will be distributed in due course.

Updates will be posted on the Northern Ireland Executive website here.

Business Rates Relief
The Northern Ireland Executive, in addition to the support outlined above has decided to reduce Business Rates in Northern Ireland for all businesses by 12.5% and freeze domestic rates, for the latest updates on the actions of the Northern Ireland Executive please check here.

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive has announced that the planned rent rise of 2.7% for the homes they run will be delayed until October 2020. More info here.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has launched a fresh emergency fund for individuals in the culture sector, the Individuals Emergency Resilience Programme. This programme will close on 17th August and is open to those working in the creative economy including freelancers, musicians, actors, artists and craft workers. Full details of how to apply can be found here.


For more information

Information to self-employed on COVID-19 click here

Information on emergency funding click here

Information if you are in receipt of funding click here

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