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. As that support is evolving this page will be reviewed frequently. It was last reviewed 25 September 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 Support Scheme
– Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
– VAT deferral
– 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)

CORONAVIRUS JOB SUPPORT SCHEME – runs from 1 Nov for six months

What is it?
The Job Support Scheme>> is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19. Through it, a business will continue to pay its employee for time worked, but the cost of hours not worked will be split between the employer and the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), so employees working 33% of their hours would receive at least 77% of their pay.


  • All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant.
  • the scheme is only available to those whose turnover is lower now than before experiencing difficulties from Covid-19.
  • Employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 23 September 2020
  • In order to support viable jobs, for the first three months of the scheme the employee must work at least 33% of their usual hours. After 3 months, the Government will consider whether to increase this minimum hours threshold.
  • Employees will be able to cycle on and off the scheme and do not have to be working the same pattern each month, but each short-time working arrangement must cover a minimum period of seven days.

How to access

  • The scheme will be open from 1 November 2020 to the end of April 2021. Employers will be able to make a claim online through from December 2020. They will be paid on a monthly basis.
  • Grants will be payable in arrears meaning that a claim can only be submitted in respect of a given pay period, after payment to the employee has been made and that payment has been reported to HMRC via an RTI return.

UK Gov has produced a useful factsheet>> outlining the details and how to apply.


Through the Job Retention Scheme>>, furloughed workers across the UK receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500.  10 June 2020 was the last day that employers could place employees on furlough and the scheme will close on 31 October 2020.


The VAT deferral ‘New Payment Scheme’ allows charities who deferred VAT due in March to June 2020 to spread their payments over the financial year 2021-22 via 11 equal instalments. Any charity who deferred VAT is eligible, with an opt-in process starting in early 2021. Read more in this UK Gov update>>.

While not affecting many charities, there was also additional support in the Chancellor’s statement on 24 September for the hospitality and tourism sectors, with the planed VAT increase from 5% to 20% due in January now postponed until the end of March.


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>>.


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.

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. 
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>>.

AIM Coronavirus resources
All AIM Coronavirus resources can be found here