Coronavirus Support Resources – Finance

AIM advice on government support available for museums in response to Covid-19

This page was last reviewed on 6 November 2020. 

This page summarises current financial support made available to museums by the UK Government.

In response to the latest national lockdown, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until March 2021 with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked.

You can read more from the Government on the latest economic support here (published 5 November)>>

What is available?
Support currently includes:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (extended to March 2021)
  • Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses (includes museums)
  • Self-employed support measures (updated 5 November)
  • Cash grants of up to £3,000 per month for businesses which are closed worth more than £1 billion every month
  • £1.1 billion is being given to Local Authorities, distributed on the basis of £20 per head, for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses more broadly
  • Plans to extend existing government-backed loan schemes and the Future Fund to the end of January, and an ability to top-up Bounce Back Loans
  • An extension to the mortgage payment holiday for homeowners
  • Up to £500 million of funding for councils to support the local public health response.


The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – also known as the Furlough scheme – will remain open until March 2021, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. Under the extended scheme, the cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced compared to the scheme which ended on 31 October. This means the extended furlough scheme is more generous for employers than it was in October.

  • This extended Job Retention Scheme will operate as the previous scheme did, with businesses being paid upfront to cover wages costs.
  • The CJRS is being extended until March 2021. The level of the grant will mirror levels available under the CJRS in August, so the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 and employers will pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions only for the hours the employee does not work.
  • As under the current CJRS, flexible furloughing will be allowed in addition to full-time furloughing.
  • The CJRS extension will be reviewed in January to examine whether the economic circumstances are improving enough for employers to be asked to increase contributions.

In addition, workers who were made redundant in advance of the planned end of the furlough scheme on 31 October can be rehired under the furlough extension. Employees that were employed and on the payroll on 23 September 2020 who were made redundant or stopped working for their employer afterwards can be re-employed and claimed for. The employer must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC from 20 March 2020 to 23 September 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for those employees.

Additional guidance will be set out by the government shortly. In the meantime, you can read more about the CJRS on the CFG website>>

The HR Dept have shared this useful FAQ to the Job Support Scheme, which you can read here>>


Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:

  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.

Plans to introduce a Job Retention Bonus have been postponed, subject to further review on retention incentives at the end of the furlough scheme. The Job Support Scheme has been postponed indefinitely.


The scheme will repay employers the current rate of SSP that they pay to current or former employees for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.

Find out more here>>. 


What is it?
• There will be a business rates holiday (i.e. no business rates to pay) for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.
• Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.

You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:
• your business is based in England
• your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector

Properties that will benefit from the relief will be occupied hereditaments (buildings) that are wholly or mainly being used:
• as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues
• for assembly and leisure
• as hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation

How to access?
This will have applied to your council tax bill in April 2020. Local authorities may have to reissue your bill automatically to exclude the business rate charge and they will do this as soon as possible.

Update 04 09 20 – Colin Hunter, of Lambert Smith Hampton summarises changes to Business Rates over 2020>>.


A fund has been set up for certain small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs, previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme, including small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief.

– Businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and must be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures.

-There will be three levels of grant payments: £25,000, £10,000, and Local Authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000.

Guidance on the Local Authority Discretionary Grants>>.


What is it?
• Access to working capital (including loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance) of up to £5 million in value and for up to 6 years
• Following announcements on 17 March, the interest free period will be extended to 12 months (up from 6 months).
• Loans will be available to applications now.

You are eligible for the scheme if:
• your business is UK based, with turnover of no more than £45 million per year
• your business meets the other British Business Bank eligibility criteria

How to access?
The scheme is open now. To access talk to your bank or an approved partner>> as soon as possible to discuss your business plan.


What is it?

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The next self-employed income support grant will increase from 55% to 80% of average profits – up to £7,500.

How to access?
This is an automatic offer with no applications required. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.


To be eligible you need to:

  • Be self-employed or a member of partnership;
  • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19;
  • File a tax return for 2018-19 as self-employed or a member of a trading partnership. Those who have not yet filed for 2018-19 will have an additional 4 weeks from this announcement to do so;
  • Have traded in 2019-20; be currently trading at the point of application (or would be except for COVID 19) and intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
  • Have trading profits of less than £50,000 and more than half of your total income come from self-employment. This can be with reference to at least one of the following conditions:
  • Your trading profits and total income in 2018/19
  • Your average trading profits and total income across up to the three years between 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.

How to access?

Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational. HMRC will then pay the grant directly to eligible claimants’ bank account. The scheme is now open; grants are expected to start to be paid out by beginning of June 2020.

You can find out more on the government pages here>>.

Businesses that have cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure should be covered, as the government and insurance industry confirmed on 17 March 2020 that advice to avoid pubs, theatres etc is sufficient to make a claim as long as all other terms and conditions are met.

Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers. Most businesses are unlikely to be covered, as standard business interruption insurance policies are dependent on damage to property and will exclude pandemics.

Scottish Government support measures
£700,000 of Scottish Government funding has been made available to establish an Urgent Response Fund>> to support museums and galleries critically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding is available to independent museums who are most acutely feeling the impact of COVID-19

A further £115,000 of capital funding was distributed through a fund to support the purchase of equipment necessary to enable work from home and provision of digital access to museum collections and activity. PLEASE NOTE this fund closed on 3 July.

A third fund was announced in June 2020: The COVID-19 Adaptation Fund>> is making £330,000 available to support museums with the costs of opening back up in a way that ensures the safety and confidence of staff, volunteers and visitors while restrictions are still in place due to COVID-19.

25 July – £4 million Museums Resilience and Recovery Fund>> to provide vital support to independent museums following impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

Other support in Scotland
o a full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism
o £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief
o £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000
o 1.6% relief for all properties, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year
o extending the “go live” date for the deposit return scheme to July 2022
o halting the introduction of the Visitor Levy Bill
Coronavirus advice for businesses in Scotland>>
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)>>

Welsh Government support measures
Thanks to the Welsh Government, the Welsh Museums Federation has secured £325,000 in funding to create a COVID-19 Resilience grant scheme for Welsh museums and heritage attractions. Details and links here>>.

Other support in Wales
– Shops, leisure and hospitality businesses will receive 100% business rates relief in 2020 to 2021
– Shops, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of
o £12,001 and £51,000: will automatically receive a grant of £25,000
o £12,000 or less: will automatically receive a grant of £10,000

Organisations do not need to do anything to apply for the grant as they will be administered through the business rates system. You do not need to contact your local authority: they will contact you.
Support for businesses in Wales>>
Support for the third sector in Wales>>

Northern Ireland support measures 
Measures specific to Businesses and Employers in Northern Ireland can be read here>>.

NIMC working with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland are assessing applications to the Organisations Emergency Programme.  Decisions are imminent.

During August NIMC will be opening a small grants programme for independent museums supported by the Art Fund and the Museums Development Network.  This Recovery Grant will enable seven independent museums to apply up to £1,500 to purchase resources to ensure a safe-reopening and to adapt and find new ways to connect, engage and inspire their audiences. More information at>>


UK Government economic factsheet (published 5 November 2020)>>

UK Government COVID-19: support for businesses
Charity Tax Group Coronavirus information hub
Charity Finance Group Coronavirus resources
Watch webinars from the government on the financial support available here. 

AIM Coronavirus resources
All AIM Coronavirus resources can be found here