Covid support: guidance for the travel industry

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With Covid continuing to impact the travel industry, here is a checklist of support currently available to travel companies, self-employed travel agents and employees of the travel agent industry.

These notes reflect the Chancellor’s January 2021 Economic Update. NOTE: The Chancellor’s Budget on 3 March 2021 may change the details of what is written below.

Travel Agent Businesses/Owner-Managed Businesses

Wage costs

  • The furlough scheme continues until 30 April 2021, although it may be further Under the scheme the Government pays 80% of the salary of employees for hours not worked. Employers will only be required to pay wages, National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pensions for hours worked; and NICs and pensions for hours not worked.
  • Businesses with fewer than 250 employees can reclaim up to two weeks of Statutory Sick Pay per


Coronavirus loans backed by the Government remain available until 31 March 2021, although they may be further extended.

  • Bounce Back loans can unlock between £2,000 to £50,000 and are 100% backed by a government guarantee, and with no set-up fees and no repayments for the first twelve The first 12 months of interest payments is also covered by the Government.
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) can unlock up to £5m for smaller businesses, and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) can unlock up to £200m.


  • Depending on the area of the country in which they operate and the rateable value of the property, businesses may qualify for local authority grants and business rate relief, and they should contact their local councils for further
  • Businesses forced to close can claim grants of up to £3,000 per month via their local authority, depending on the rateable value of their Businesses that remain open, but are impacted by local restrictions, can also claim grants worth up to £2,100 a month.
  • In January 2021, the Chancellor announced that all businesses in England forced to close can claim a one-off grant of up to £9,000. This is in addition to the monthly closed grant amounts above and depends on the rateable value of business
  • Local authorities in England have been given an additional £500 million discretionary funding to support their local businesses. This is on top of the discretionary funding already given to support their local economies and help businesses impacted by

COVID-19. Discretionary grant eligibility will depend on the local authority’s criteria, and this will differ depending on the postcode of the business, as well as any other conditions a particular local authority wishes to impose.

Trade credit reinsurance

  • The Trade Credit Reinsurance Scheme that ensures trade credit insurance coverage and credit limits are maintained during the pandemic is extended to June

Insolvency law

  • Under the Corporate Governance and Insolvency Act 2020, the Government has made changes to corporate insolvency law and governance arrangements to help businesses focus on These important company law and insolvency measures provide flexibility under the law and a breathing space to reassess operations and initiate a restructuring plan.

Business rates

  • Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-2021 tax The 3 March 2021 Budget may extend business rate relief for a further period.

Self Employed Travel Agents

  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) pays self-employed individuals a grant representing a percentage of their Details of a fourth grant covering the period 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021 will be announced in the 3 March 2021 Budget.
  • For those self-employed who cannot access SEISS, they can consider a Bounce Back This is easier to apply for than the CBILS, and many self-employed have already made use of this.
  • HMRC has scaled up its Time-To-Pay service for those with tax liabilities, allowing businesses and the self-employed to defer tax payments over an agreed period of up to 12
  • Businesses which deferred their VAT payments will have more time to repay the money


  • For employees, the furlough scheme ensures a degree of The scheme is due to end on 30 April 2021 but may be further extended.
  • The Government has also boosted the universal credit regime and put more resources into helping people apply for It is not clear whether the forthcoming Budget will extend the higher payment of universal credit for a further period.
  • There have also been payment holidays on most debts, including mortgages, overdrafts, credit cards, personal loans,
  • The Kickstart scheme provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16- to 24-year-olds on Universal
  • The Job Entry Targeted Support scheme is providing six months of personalised support for people who have been unable to find work within the first 3 months of
  • There is a doubling of the number of work coaches available to help people across the UK get back into to
  • A Restart scheme goes live from Summer 2021 to provide 12 months of tailored support for those out of work for at least 12
  • The Government is expanding apprenticeships in England and providing employers with a hiring incentive for each new apprentice they hire, with £2,000 available for every apprentice hired aged 16 to 24 and £1,500 for those aged 25 and
  • There is also investment in traineeships in England for people of all ages that includes a work placement and prepares them for an apprenticeship or
  • The Government’s sector-based Work Academy Programme is supporting jobseekers to retrain and gain work

Further information

More information is available from the Government website: or via the Bishop Fleming’s Coronavirus Knowledge Hub:


4 February 2021. © Bishop Fleming 2021


The information and suggestions contained in this guide are of a general nature and are not a substitute for professional advice. Whilst we have taken every effort to ensure that the information contained within this guide is accurate and up to date, you should not rely solely upon nor act upon anything here without first contacting us and seeking specific professional advice. In the preparation of this guide, every effort has been made to offer the most current and correct information possible.

Nonetheless, errors can occur, and UK tax law can change. Bishop Fleming does not accept any responsibility for any damage or loss occurring by any person as a result of any use or any action you take or do not take in reliance on any information in this guide.