Coronavirus Support Resources – Finance

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

This page summarises current financial support made available to museums by the UK Government following the Chancellor’s announcement on Friday 20 March, and subsequent updates. As that support is evolving this page will be reviewed frequently.

It was last reviewed 12 Aug 2020.

Information on the Culture Recovery Fund – part of the government’s £1.57 billion emergency funding to safeguard museums and heritage can be found here.

What is available?
Support currently includes:
– Coronavirus Job retention scheme
– Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses (includes museums)
– Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
– Cashflow support through the tax system – including deferred VAT payments
– Business Interruption Loan Scheme
– Self-employed support measures (to date)


On 12 May the Chancellor announced the Job Retention Scheme will be extended to October 2020.

Furloughed workers across UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500. New flexibility will be introduced from August to get employees back to work and boost economy. Full details of changes to the scheme to follow by end of May.

The end of the scheme

  • 10 June 2020 will be the last day that employers can place employees on furlough in order for the current 3 week furlough period to be completed by 30 June.
  • From 1 July employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3 week period prior to 30 June.
  • Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.
  • From 1 July, claim periods will no longer be able to overlap months, employers who previously submitted claims with periods that overlapped calendar months will no longer be able to do this going forward.
  • The furlough scheme will close on 31 October 2020
  • From 1 September, the government will reimburse 70% of salary (up to a maximum of £2,190). Employers are required to top-up to 80% (or more, depending on what the employer agreed with the employee – you may want to re-visit if top up is still affordable)
  • From 1 October, the government will reimburse 60% of salary (up to a maximum of £1,875) and employers will continue having to top-up to 80% (or more if that’s what’s been agreed).


  • Original criteria still applies re eligibility –   you can only claim for employees that were employed on 19 March 2020 and who were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020.
  • The number of employees an employer can claim for in any claim period cannot exceed the maximum number they have claimed for under any previous claim under the current CJRS.
  • Employers can continue to make claims in anticipation of an imminent payroll run, at the point payroll is run or after payroll has been run.
  • Employers will be able to make their first claim under the new scheme from 1 July.

Part-time furlough 

  • From 1 July, ‘flexible furlough’ is being introduced, sooner than anticipated
  • Businesses will decide how that will work for their business in terms of the split between hours worked and hours on furlough.
  • To be eligible for the grant, employers must agree with their employee any new flexible furloughing arrangement and confirm that agreement in writing.
  • Further guidance on flexible furloughing and how employers should calculate claims will be published on 12 June
  • From 1 August, employers will have to pay employee’s national insurance contributions and pension contributions and can no longer reclaim them through the CJRS.

How to access?
You will need to:
• Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.
• the employee should agree to the change in hours (and acceptance of 80% pay)
• employees on sick pay or self-isolating cannot be furloughed but can be furloughed afterwards. Employees who are shielding can be placed on furlough.
• employees on maternity (or similar) leave can continue to draw statutory maternity payments.
• Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal.

Find all the latest government guidance on the scheme here.

Make an application here.

See The HR Dept’s online resources here.

CFG have shared a Q&A on furloughing here. 


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 apply to your next 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 30 06 20 – Colin Hunter, of Lambert Smith Hampton updates on a landmark ruling.


What is it?
• The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme provides businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property.
• For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000, they will receive a grant of £10,000.
• For businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000, they will receive a grant of £25,000.

You are eligible for the grant 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?
You do not need to do anything. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for this grant. Charities whose bills are nil due to reliefs should still be considered to be eligible for the grants, according to paragraph 16 of the guidance. Any enquiries on eligibility for, or provision of, the reliefs and grants should be directed to the relevant local authority.


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.

This is the guidance on the Local Authority Discretionary Grants.


What is it?
• The next quarter of VAT payments will be deferred (with nothing to be paid until the end of June).
• Businesses will have until the end of the financial year to pay bills

All UK businesses are eligible.

How to access?
No action is needed. This is an automatic offer with no application required.


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?
• Safety net for self-employed people – can now access Universal Credit at rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay.
• Self-employed – next self-assessment payments deferred until January 2021.

If you are self-employed you are eligible.

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.

Self employment income support scheme

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 scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

The scheme has now opened and HMRC will be contacting eligible recipients this week (w/c 11 May).


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 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