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Covid-19: Advice for businesses & the self-employed

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In these unprecedented times, the creative community is facing challenges that we have never seen before. It is essential that we work together to ensure that we can continue to make and create in the future. In a series of news stories on the Creative Folkestone website we will share the most up-to-date information available to help support our creative community of artists, creatives and businesses.

Government guidance to access support for businesses

In recent weeks the government has announced a package of support for businesses and the self-employed. This includes:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs)
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

For more information:

Applications for the Government-backed loan scheme for businesses became available from 23 March 2020:

Government Advice for the Charity Sector:

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce has set up a helpline for businesses: 03333 602300 | Phone lines open from 8:30am - 6:30pm | Monday to Friday

Advice on Coronavirus including links to legal helplines and FSB insurance:

Independent Retail & Hospitality Business Support Programme – this support  programme covers all elements of a business review, including how to best use social media and/or other platforms to continue to trade during these difficult times. Any businesses in Folkestone & Hythe interested in accessing this support, please email

Signposting and advice for Folkestone businesses:

Government guidance to access support for self-employed

Following the relief package for businesses announced by the government, the treasury has followed up with a support package for the self-employed. The government will pay self-employed people, who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus, a taxable grant worth 80% of their average income over the last three years, up to £2,500 per month, for at least three months. 

You cannot apply for this scheme yet. HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online. Individuals do not need to contact HMRC now and doing so will only delay the urgent work being undertaken to introduce the scheme.

More information is available here: 

IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, has produced a useful portal with information on how freelancers and self-employed professionals can claim Universal Credit among other relief measures implemented by the government:

The Creative Industries Federation has written an open letter to the Chancellor asking for more support to be given to the creative industries and to protect the self-employed:

In response to the ever-changing situation surrounding Covid-19, leading cloud business management solutions provider, Sage has set out to ensure that the small and medium-sized businesses can find and receive all the support and advice they need in these difficult times, with the creation of a Coronavirus advice-hub, here - 

Follow us on social media for any news updates.

Updated Wednesday 17 June


Our South East Creatives page also contains a list of resources to support creative businesses and self-employed people during this time. Click here to view.

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