Businesses, employers and employees

1. Support for businesses and employers

We understand that this is a very difficult and uncertain time for businesses, increasingly so following the Prime Minister’s statement on Monday evening. We're putting in place a number of measures to make sure that all businesses are getting the best and latest help and information as soon as possible.

An Economic Resilience Group is meeting regularly and is made up of the council and several key business sector representatives and local partners to make sure we:

  • have helpful and up-to-date information from businesses on the issues they're facing. To help respond to needs and highlight to government the real day-to-day challenges being experienced. In particular those most vulnerable. For example; the self-employed
  • have effective arrangements in place to get business support finance and advice out to businesses as quickly as possible
  • share information for businesses through one agreed communication channel in conjunction with Marketing Stockport

Our Director for Place, Caroline Simpson, talks about Stockport's collaborative and rapid response to support the borough's businesses through the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Small business grant funding

Two new grant funding schemes have been announced:

  1. a small business grant funding of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief
  2. grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property where the rateable value is between £15,000 and £51,000

We'll start to make payments from the beginning of April.

If you do not pay your business rates by Direct Debit or you qualify for small business rate relief, we do not hold any bank details for you. We'll need you to confirm your business’s bank details in order to receive a payment. Please complete our registration form confirming these details so that we can award you the grant.

We will not accept deliberate manipulation and fraud. Any business caught falsifying their records to gain additional grant money will face prosecution and any funding issued will be recovered.

Confirm your details

Business rates and business rates relief

Retail discount will be increased to 100% and expanded to cover all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England.

We've identified businesses that are entitled to the relief and sent out revised bills to confirm this.

Please do not cancel your Direct Debit. If you're entitled to the retail relief, we will not collect payment from you in April. We'll use your bank details to make payment of the small business grant.

For accounts that will be entitled to the 100% retail relief, we will not submit a claim to banks for any business rates direct debits that are due in April.

We urge all businesses to pay what they can and seek advice where possible from their bank or other business support.

Any businesses that are experiencing difficulty paying their business rates should email us at We can agree special payment plans so that the business rates due for 2020/21 are split over 9 months from July 2020 to March 2021, meaning that businesses will not have to pay anything until July.

For businesses that are in the retail, hospitality or leisure industry, we've suspended all recovery action for an initial three-month period. We'll consider requests from other businesses and organisations based on their circumstances.

We urge all businesses to keep in touch with us to make sure that they're getting all the relief and support that they're entitled to and to let us know how we can support them during this challenging period.

Deferred VAT and self-assessment payments

VAT payments have been deferred for 3 months. Self-assessment tax payments due on 31 July 2020 have been deferred until 31 January 2021.

You can find more information on GOV.UK.

Closure of pubs, clubs, restaurants and bars

The government announced that on the evening of Friday 20 March, all pubs, clubs, restaurants and bars were to close until further notice to help in the spread of the disease. They will only be allowed to open to provide a take-away service where interaction was restricted.

The press conference from the Prime Minister concentrated on two key areas: protecting the most vulnerable and social distancing – ‘stay at home'.

GM Business Growth Hub

You can find further support and information on the GM Business Growth Hub website.